last report from Mandela Park on anti-eviction campaign activists arrested sunday evening.
As reported earlier today, the ‘crackdown’ which has been targetting the Khayelitsha Anti-Eviction Campaign since November 2002 continued with full force last night and today.
Last night saw the sinister abduction of Max Ntanyana of the Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign. After community pressure, it turned out he was in Bishop Lavis police station, being questioned by the ‘special unit’ set up under orders of ‘Community Safety’ MEC Leonard Ramatlakane. He was later moved to Site B police station in Khayelitsha, before appearing in court on contempt of court charges this morning. His case was postponed to Wednesday to give his lawyers time to prepare a defence.
Part of the community pressure applied last night involved capturing a woman who had pointed out Max to the intelligence operatives who abducted him last night. As part of the police response to that event, the doors of the Andile Nose community centre were kicked in. This community centre is used by the Anti-Eviction Campaign for meetings, and is also the site of a school – ‘People’s Power Secondary School’ – staffed by unemployed teachers, which provides education to students excluded from the education system due to poverty, and age.
Also as part of the police response, four comrades from Mandela Park were arrested early this morning. They are apparently to be charged with kidnapping and armed robbery (??!!) after last night’s events. They have been held overnight pending an identity parade, which will happen tomorrow.
When not in police cells, these comrades are held in the notorious Pollsmoor Prison, near Tokai in Cape Town. Pollsmoor is notorious for the control that prison gangs exert, with rapes, intimidation and murder being common occurences within its walls.
These actions of the South African government are just the latest steps in the campaign to criminalise and intimidate the Anti-Eviction Campaign, which has fought since its inception to reverse the tide of evictions of the poorest of the poor. For the South African government, crushing this campaign is vital in order to be able to ‘secure’ the low income housing market for private sector banks. Since 1994, the post-Apartheid government has been pursuing that objective, agains the strenous criticism and
resistance of the poor majority.
Once again, we are in a desperate situation. Any donations towards bail money, and operating funds for the highly stretched Khayelitsha Anti-Eviction Campaign would be greatly appreciated. Solidarity support is also necessary.