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Early in the morning of Wednesday July 19, 275 low-income residents were forcibly evicted from Fattis Mansions, a residential building in Johannesburg’s inner city. Hundreds of Red Ants security guards hauled the residents’ possessions out into the middle of Harrison Street. The vast majority of residents owned their apartments in the building, which was governed as a sectional title scheme. Most of the apartments were bought with state housing subsidies granted during the mid-to late-1990s for R20,000-R30,000 a unit. The desperately poor residents had nowhere else to go. Evictions like these remain prevalent in SA’s urban centres where poor people are being displaced as a result of state-run urban regeneration initiatives and gentrification. That afternoon, the Fattis Mansions residents approached the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of SA (Seri) to help them overturn their eviction. They were evicted on the basis of a court order granted on April 25 by the High Court in Johannesbur...

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