AbM: Siyanda to March on Housing MEC on Tuesday 14 April 2009

9 04 2009

Thursday, 09 April 2009
Press Statement from the Siyanda (A & B) Abahlali baseMjondolo Branch

At 8:00 a.m. on 14 April 2009 we will march from Garrupa Park (next to the V.N. Naik School for the Deaf) in Newlands to the Metro Police Station in KwaMashu.

We have been marching on Councillor Madondo, for quite long now. He has never answered our memorandums. We have confronted him and he has made it clear that he cannot answer our questions. In February last year we marched on Mayor Mlaba. We have received no answer to our memorandum. Late last year the Abahlali baseMjondolo branch in Siyanda Section C marched on Provincial MEC for Housing Mike Mabuyakhulu. They received no reply to their memorandum. Now Siyanda Section A and B, those living in self built shacks and those living in government shacks, will march on Mabuyakhulu.
We will issue the following demands to Mike Mabuyakhulu:

1. We demand houses for all in Siyanda.

2. We demand water for all in Siyanda.

3. We demand electricity for all in Siyanda.

4. We demand toilets for all in Siyanda.

5. We demand an immediate end to the amatins (i.e. the so-called ‘transit camps’ which are really just government shacks) and to forced removals to amatins.

6. We demand an end to government corruption and an independent and credible investigation into all the corruption that has already happened in Siyanda.

7. We demand roads that serve our community, not just the freeway that is destroying our community.

8. We demand lighting throughout Siyanda. (The police say that they cannot help us with crime at night because it is dark and there are no roads. Last year the Abahlali baseMjondolo membership fees were even stolen from our treasurer in an armed robbery. He was shot in the shoulder. This crime has to stop.)

9. The MR577 freeway is the road that has cut our community in half and resulted in forced removals to ama-tins. We demand that work on the fence along this road be immediately stopped. The fence will prevent our children from being able to walk across the road so that they can get to school. We will not accept a fence without a bridge. Everybody knows that Abahlali baseMjondolo has long experience in taking down fence poles. The bridge must be built before the fence.

10. We demand that in future all development is planned with the people and for the people and not by government (and NGOs and consultants) for the people.

Our struggle for the right to live in this city and to have a dignified and safe life in this city goes back many years. The land in Siyanda was first opened to the people in 1988. We occupied it without government permission and had to struggle to stay on this land. Eventually we all collected R20 for a lawyer who could talk for us in the court. We won our case and in 1996 the government bought the land for us and promised to build us houses.

They started with RDP houses in 2001. But already there was corruption. Already our lives and our community and our struggle became a chance for politicians and officials to get rich. In 2003 they started with the Khulula project. The corruption was huge. The corruption was just as bad with the ama-tins built for the people that were evicted for the MR577 freeway but could not go to the houses promised to them because those houses had been corrupted.

Now Namandla construction says that the job that they have been given in Siyanda is finished. But 1 500 families are still in their own shacks. Forty five families are still in the government shacks (ama-tins) which are much worse than the people’s shacks. Councillor Madondo says that he doesn’t know how the job can be finished when so many people are left without houses. Mlaba does not answer our questions. So now it is time for us to confront Mabuyakhulu.

There is no need for us to go and vote in this election because we haven’t received anything from government for the past 14 years. We don’t want empty promises about a better life. We want a clear discussion about the crisis in our community and clear plans to resolve that crisis with decent housing for all. We want Mabuyakhulu to come to Siyanda and to sit down with us so that we can plan when and where and how our houses will be built. We have been staying in shacks for 21 years. We cannot continue to stay in shacks any longer and we do not accept and will never accept the ama-tins. The conditions are so bad that many of us are getting sick.

Power to the people, not politicians!
No Land! No House! No Vote!

For further information and comment please contact:

Mrs. N. Nxumalo 076 579 6198
Mr. B. Ngwenya 074 551 7834
Mr. N. Ngcobo 071 566 1287

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