(SpringerLink. Urban Forum, 2003) Huchzermeyer, Marie
Low-income residents in urban South Africa have made use of the courts to fight for what they perceive as their democratic right to a home in the city. Despite a democratic Constitution since 1996, with a Bill of Rights that includes socioeconomic rights, such as adequate housing (albeit with a proviso), there is little consistency in the outcome of the route of access to the city through the judiciary. Over the past two years, three eviction-related cases that involved court applications by illegal occupiers for short periods dominated the news in South Africa, and are frequently referred to in the media. Each had a different outcome, none of them satisfactory, highlighting the limitations of the judiciary as a route to democratic access to the city.The cases discussed in this paper raise the question as to the role of courts in a democratic, yet unequally developed country like South Africa.