130 S. African L.J. 554

Type: Articles Published

Abstract:

In City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality v Blue Moonlight Properties 39 (Pty) Ltd & another the Constitutional Court unanimously affirmed the Supreme Court of Appeal’s earlier decision in the matter and held the City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Housing Programme to be unconstitutional. This finding of unconstitutionality rested on the failure of the state to assist persons facing homelessness as a result of an eviction at the instance of a private landowner. As a result, the court indicated that ‘[a] remedy must be formulated’. This article suggests that the unusual cash-assistance and ratepayer remedy, as proposed by the High Court but set aside on appeal, is akin to the voucher scheme in the United States and is worthy of consideration as a remedy. The article considers whether the US voucher scheme could provide direction to policymakers as an addition to the existing project-based shelter scheme under the Emergency Housing Programme. The article also considers whether the introduction of the voucher scheme as an additional policy — the Blue Moonlight remedy — could alleviate the anticipated budgetary constraint on municipalities and better assist beneficiaries to graduate to permanent housing.

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