AbM-WC Press release – tomorrow raining or not we continue with our protest

14 05 2009

Abahlali base Mjondolo of the Western Cape
14/5/2009

The second day of the cleaning campaign on our land in Macassar was even more successful than the first. The police ceased more or less from their intimidatory tactics and there were even more community members present to clean the land

At six in the evening the community met on the land to plan for the intended picnic and sports event on Saturday. To everyone’s surprise, a municipal bakkie came and parked itself near us in the middle of the meeting. Then a young man and woman got out of the bakkie, with the woman claiming she was from the City of Cape Town’s “Anti-Land Invasion Unit.”

She asked what we were meeting about and we told her. She said she had heard we would be putting up poles for goal-posts for soccer, rugby and netball fields and wished to stress that we could not do that without the permission of the municipality! We asked if she wanted to stop the kids playing sports, would the municipality rather that they were smoking tik. She claimed the meeting was illegal. People protested that this was a free country. She claimed we were not allowed to meet on municipal ‘premises’. (Premises includes a building but there was no building there!). People asked where were they supposed to meet to plan for the picnic and sports event on Saturday: there was no community hall. This was like the prohibition of meetings under apartheid. She was confused and left. But, just as we were closing the meeting, the bakkie returned and she repeated that it was an illegal meeting and since we refused to disperse, she was calling the SAPS. The meeting was already ending, so we closed it and waited around. After about twenty minutes an SAPS van arrived with its blue lights flashing. They conversed with the “Anti-Land Invasion” people for about ten minutes and then drove off, after which the municipality bakkie drove off down the road and stopped. We all walked after it to see if they were buying their supper in a shop but then they drove off.

We demand that the media ask the municipality for an answer as to on what authority and under what law this municipal employee declared the meeting illegal. To prevent free assembly and free speech is a violation of the constitution.

We also demand that the media should find out what plans the municipality has for this big stretch of open land that they are so jealously protecting, when there are thousands of people desperate for housing.

If this apartheid repression of free assembly and free speech is a foretaste of what the Zille provincial regime holds in store, then we are in for a huge fight.

Stop apartheid repression! Disband the Anti-Land Invasion Unit! Stop evictions! Provide community halls, sports facilities, and housing for all!

For comment contact: Mzonke Poni ABM WC chairperson
Or Theliwe Macekiswana 083 248 1658 or Ronell 073 775 5132

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