Forced Removal/Evictions Must Stop Now 13 February 2009
The residents of Protea South informal settlement together with members of the Anti Privatisation Forum (APF) are marching to the Johannesburg High Court on today – 13th of February 2009. The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) is applying to the court to cease the City of Johannesburg’s programme of evictions and relocation. Marchers gathered at the Peacemakers ground in Protea South and have made their way to the Johannesburg High Court using buses and trains.
According to the plan to eradicate slums before 2014 revealed by the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) and the Department of Housing (DoH), informal settlements would have to go through a process called formalization (registering of informal settlements). But the DoH has declared that the land of Protea South is dolomitic and unsuitable for housing development. This did not, however, prevent the construction of a trading mall on the very same piece of land.
When the African National Congress (ANC) government took over in 1994, it promised the people that they would never ever be moved from one shack into another shack. But the ‘transit camp’ that the very same ANC government built next to Midway Station to accommodate Protea South residents is nothing if not another than a government initiated squatter camp. The residents of Protea South therefore refused to be moved into the one-roomed shacks and the ‘transit camp’ has been a white elephant since 1995.
The ANC government and the CoJ have begun a divide and rule campaign in the area by requesting residents to volunteer for relocation. Those refusing to move are then threatened with forced removal and relocation to undeveloped areas away from the public eye. There is no freedom to choose where they want to stay. Organised by the LPM, the poor residents have rejected so-called voluntary relocation and decided to take the CoJ to court to challenge their forced removal to the transit camp.
The main demands are that government build houses and provide all basic services where people are residing and not treat the community as temporary when the settlement has existed in Protea South since 1985. The freedom to choose where to stay is fundamental and those residents who want to remain must be given the freedom to exercise their right. People have to be free participants in any development process to ensure the delivery of housing they both need and want. Development otherwise is no more than a statistic that’s cold to the whole communities uprooted by its blind purpose.
For more information please call:
LPM Protea South – Maureen Mnisi @ 082 337 4514 or
LPM Protea South – Thomas Mayenganye @ 072 613 2738
For APF contact: Silumko Radebe @ 072 1737 268 or 011 333 8334