Media: Squatters ‘ready to die or fight’ for land

5 03 2009

March 04, 2009 Edition 1 (second edition below)
NOMANGESI MBIZA
Source: Cape Argus

The Symphony Way pavement squatters have received court eviction orders to vacate the area, but say they are “ready and prepared to die or fight” for their right to proper housing.

About 20 police vehicles entered the little pavement community on Monday to deliver the notices.

Kylie Hatton from the City confirmed that the notices were served and that residents had 21 days to vacate. She said alternative accommodation had been offered to them in Blikkiesdorp, about half a kilometre down the street.

“Some people have already accepted the alternative accommodation and we will assist anyone who would like to accept the accommodation,” she said.

The 127 families, totalling about 300 people, decided to squat on the road in Delft next to the RDP houses they invaded a year ago in protest at the lack of housing.

Last week they marked a year of living on the pavement with a series of events.

The families have received court papers ordering them to appear in the Cape High court on March 20. But they have vowed to die on the pavement rather than move to the Temporal Relocation Area (TRA) provided by the government.

“We are ready and prepared to die for our land and rights,” said resident Lilian Jansen. The residents labelled the TRA a playground for criminals and rapists.

“I know someone who lost everything in the Blikkiesdorp (Tin Can Town)… they took everything. I don’t know why they want us to live there,” said Mathilda Groepe.

“They bring the entire Western Cape police force to deliver court orders… for what, we are not criminals, and they even put on their bullet-proof vests when they got here, like they were entering a battlefield.”

The Anti-Eviction Campaign’s Ashraf Cassiem said: “The TRA is not a reasonable alternative accommodation… we cannot and will not be moved anywhere that will disadvantage ourselves.”

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Squatters ‘ready to die’ for housing

March 04, 2009 Edition 2
NOMANGESI MBIZA and BRONWYNNE JOOSTE
Source: Cape Argus

The Symphony Way pavement squatters have received court eviction orders to vacate the area, but they’re “ready and prepared to die” for their right to proper housing.

About 20 police vehicles entered the little pavement community on Monday to deliver the notices.

Kylie Hatton from the City confirmed that the notices were served and that residents had 21 days to vacate.

She said alternative accommodation had been offered to them in Blikkiesdorp, just down the street. “Some people have already accepted the alternative accommodation.”

The 127 families – about 300 people – decided to squat on the road in Delft next to the RDP houses they invaded a year ago in protest at the lack of housing.

They have received court papers ordering them to appear in the Cape High court on March 20. But they have vowed to die on the pavement rather than move.

“We are ready and prepared to die for our land and rights,” said resident Lilian Jansen.

Mathilda Groepe said: “I know someone who lost everything in the Blikkiesdorp (Tin Can Town)… they took everything. I don’t know why they want us to live there.”

# Hundreds of disgruntled residents of the Happy Valley informal settlement, near Blackheath, overturned portable toilets and bins in the area today during a housing protest.

Police said the protest started last night, and was still going strong at the time of going to press this morning.

Police spokeswoman Aneke van der Vyver said police had not taken action to disperse the protesters, but would continue to monitor the situation.

Ward councillor Pieter van Dalen said many of the protesters were younger residents who blamed the informal settlement’s committee for the slow delivery of housing.

He said about 150 portable toilets were overturned and others were burnt.

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