25 March 2010 Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
The poor in South Africa have mandated their leaders from social movements like the Anti-Eviction Campaign, Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Landless People’s Movement, Sikhula Sonke, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, etc, to speak about issues that are relevant to poor people. The poor have not mandated us to support political parties and their elite agendas.
The poor who make up our rank and file members of our movements want us to tell the world that in South Africa the poor are treated like terrorists and criminals. Our members are intimidated, harassed, arrested, and tortured every single day. And we are tired of being treated as second-class citizens.
As part of our effort to tell the world about our struggle, two Anti-Eviction Campaign members will be embarking on a trip to Germany, Scotland and Switzerland at the invitation of activists from those countries.
We will be present at the launching of a new documentary film called When the Mountain Meets its Shadow. While visiting Europe, we, the poor people in the shadow of Cape Town’s mountains, will be visiting with and speaking to poor and oppressed Europeans who are also struggling. We will be sharing our experiences and dialogging about our struggle.
One of the things we wish to make clear during our trip is that the World Cup in South Africa is not benefiting the poor.
The lives of small businesses and informal traders in South Africa have been destroyed by this World Cup. If we are not allowed to trade near stadiums, fan parks and other tourist areas, how can we benefit from tourism? In Green Point, we were evicted and moved to less useful areas to make way for the new stadium. In Grand Parade, they want to evict us to make way for the FIFA Fan Park. In Cape Town Station, they are evicting us to make way for a renovated train station for tourists. In Mitchell’s Plain, they evicted us to make Town Centre a “world class shopping facility” for visitors during the World Cup. All these evictions have been using a new oppressive by-law enacted last year.
The poor are not only evicted from their trading spaces for the World Cup, we are also being evicted from our homes. In Woodstock, Salt River and Gugulethu, massive gentrification linked to World Cup accommodation projects has effected thousands of residents. In Joe Slovo, government evicted 2,000 residents and dumped them in Tsunami and Thubelisha Temporary Relocation Areas in Delft. They tried to evict another 10,000 Joe Slovo residents and hide them from the N2 Freeway as part of a Word Cup vanity project. But luckily, residents of Joe Slovo sent thousands to the street in protest and the government eventually gave in. Just the other day in Greenpoint, near the Somerset Hospital and the new stadium, 150 poor residents were evicted without any alternative. Maybe they will end up in Blikkiesdorp where the City is trying to dump all of Cape Town’s poor.
These are just some of the injustices that our communities are faced with every single day.
If there is still any doubt as to whether there is or is not democracy for the poor in South Africa, hopefully our words and experiences will convince Europeans otherwise.
Power to the Poor People!
For more information, please contact the following people before Friday 26th of March::Mncedisi Twalo at 0785808646 Ashraf Cassiem at 0761861408 After the above comrades leave on the 26th for Europe, contact Mzonke Poni for comment at 0732562036