Media: Protest against new slums law

14 05 2009

Published: 5/14/2009 21:15:22
Source: The Citizen

JOHANNESBURG – About 1 000 members from various non-governmental organisations travelled from across the country to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg to protest against the KwaZulu-Natal Slums Act.

General secretary of the Rural Network in KZN, Mbhekiseni Mavuso, said his organisation was pledging its support to Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM), which has applied to have the Act declared unlawful under the Constitution.

Their support came because members suffered similar experiences as ABM members, who claimed they were being brutalised and harassed by police.

The Act “is portrayed as preventing the re-emergence of slums. But it is a reinforcement of apartheid laws,” said Mavuso.

ABM says areas replacing “slums” are called transit camps in KwaZulu-Natal, temporary relocation areas (TRAs) in Cape Town and decent camps in Gauteng.

But “they are nothing but a way for the government to evict the poor, to force people out of the cities, in the name of providing so- called ‘housing opportunities’. ”

On Wednesday Western Cape police were allegedly intimidating backyard dwellers during a clean-up campaign at Macassar village.

ABM Western Cape chairman Mzonke Poni, claimed there was a heavy police presence and people were being intimidated.

This came as backyard dwellers were trying to clean vacant land to show the local and provincial government that there was sufficient land to build houses for people of Macassar at Macassar.




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