Solidarity: Squatters See Silver Lining in Foreclosed Homes

19 02 2009
By Matthew Cardinale
Source: IPS

MIAMI, Florida, Feb 18 (IPS) – With foreclosures skyrocketing and U.S. families sinking deeper into poverty, a number of organisations are turning to a new strategy to end homelessness: moving families into vacant, foreclosed houses that are currently owned by banks or the government.

About 15 percent of the housing units in the United States in the fourth quarter 2008 were vacant, representing 19 million units, according to a report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Read the rest of this entry »


Update: Symphony Way commemorates 1 year living on the road (incl. pictures)

19 02 2009

Delft AEC Press Update
19 February 2009

Today, as promised, Symphony Way residents spent about 17 hours commemorating last February’s violent evictions, as well as taking note of the significant effect that living on a road has been for the community.

We started the day by waking up at 4am – the same time as the evictions began on 19th February 2008.  The entire road came together in prayer and then held a candle lighting vigil.  We then watched a very emotional slide show of our experiences with one another including the mass meetings with Frank Martin that set our community on the path to occupation in the first place (Martin has now received a slap on the wrist for committing mass fraud and abandoning us to face the wrath of the Province and the police during the evictions).

After the slide show, residents told their personal histories and how the evictions had effected them.  This was the most emotional time of the day as we recounted both the good and the bad of our struggle.  After breaking for a while, the children brought us back together with a series of plays which they came up with themselves.  Themes varied from recounting last year’s unjust evictions, fictional accounts of how school and life weave together for communities in struggle, and even a comedic sketch of how the children interpret the roadside politics of the adults.  Finally, the children came up with a few personal histories of their own. Differing from the parents in that it challenged the parent’s own account of the evictions but still no less emotional. Read the rest of this entry »

AbM: Electricity Disconnected and Three Women Arrested in Arnett Drive

19 02 2009

Thursday, 19 February 2009
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Release

Yesterday at around 10am ten cars of Sydenham SAPS and Securicor Security Guards came with their guns to the Arnett Drive settlement to disconnect electricity from 200 households.  The private police came into Gertrude Cele’s house and said “Can you please turn on your radio.”  She turned it on.  Then, they said “The electricity is working so now we are arresting you”.  She said “You can’t arrest me because I am just a visitor here, and I don’t know anything.”  They said, “We found you in this house, so we are going to arrest you.”  This is how the police and private security make it a criminal offence to be a poor person in South Africa.
Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Backyarders hot

19 02 2009
19/02/2009 10:54 AM – (SA)
Source: CityVision


HUNDREDS of backyarders under the banner of the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) led by Mncedisi Twalo converged at Gugulethu Sport Complex to listen to MEC of Housing Whitey Jacobs about their plight on Sunday.

Before the meeting could be official, Twalo gave the attendees a highlight about an incident of the previous week where police allegedly harassed, assaulted and arrested ACE members including himself.

As Twalo subjected the MEC to a tongue lashing, Jacobs sat quietly listening.

He said about sixty old people were shot with rubber bullets and about nine are still nursing injuries in hospital. Hundreds lost their cell-phones, cash and clothes. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity statement from Danish students

19 02 2009

A statement of Solidarity by a group of Danish students who will be joining us for our festivities on the road in Symphony Way.

Today, a group of Danish students will join the people in the struggle of the Symphony Way Settlement and in their commemoration of the year that has passed since the South African government’s unlawful eviction of them from Delft Housing.

We stand in solidarity with the people here in their fight for their constitutional right to adequate housing and we call for the South African State to live up to its announced claim of progressiveness and decent people-based politics.

We will be taking to the streets with the heroic people of Symphony Way to show that the deceit and inherent unfairness of the present South African housing policies are not going internationally unnoticed and are rousing anger across continents.

In Solidarity,
Concerned Danish Students

Symphony Way residents commemorate 1 year on the road

19 02 2009
Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
19th of February 2009
For an update of the event, click here

Today, the residents of Symphony Way will be commemorating last years evictions on the 19th of February 2008.  We have now lived a full year on Symphony Way and have, in protest, blocked traffic on this major road the entire time.  Residents have nowhere else to go and refused to go to Blikkiesdorp TRA which they see as a refugee camp.  This may be the longest and most difficult protest undertaken by any community in the history of South Africa.

The event will be both a time of mourning and protest as well as a celebration.  We are protesting the fact that we still do not have land or houses and that the government continues to lie to us and oppress us.  However, we are also celebrating the wonderful friendships we have made on the road.  We have built a community here.

We are a silver lining in the dark cloud that is this oppressive society we live in today.  We are nurturing the culture of rebellion that saved us from Apartheid and this culture of rebellion provides us with hope that change is both possible and necessary.

We are joined in solidarity with a group of Danish students.

The agenda for today’s festivities are as follows (we are starting at 4am exactly when the police first began to evict us):

4am-5am = Prayer
5am-6am = Lighting of candles
6am-8am = Actions
10am-12pm = A slide show of the evictions and life on the road
12pm-1pm = Time of discussion
1pm-3pm = A participatory children’s play about the struggle on the road
3pm-4pm = Further time of discussion with the children
4pm-5pm = A community mass meeting to discuss the way forward

No Land! No House! No Vote!

For more information, contact:

Mncedisi Plaatjies at 079 3051 066
Kareemah Linneveldt at 078 4920 943
Ashraf Cassiem at 076 1861 408