Occupational hazards: Privileged protesters or voice for the voiceless?

12 10 2011

The Occupy Wall Street movement seems to have defied many of its early critics, with tens of thousands of people still supporting those camped out at New York’s financial centre and the heart of US capitalism a month after the protests started.

LISA VAN WYK – Oct 11 2011 19:52 – Mail & Guardian

It has since spread to over 70 cities across the globe.

See a map of events around the world here.

South African “occupations” are planned to begin on October 15, with protests organised for Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, East London and Grahamstown.

The movement has been supported by many high profile activists, such as Naomi Klein and Slavoj Zizek, but has also been criticised for mainly appealling to a privileged few, given the fact that much of the activity was organised and publicised over the internet and through social networking sites. Read the rest of this entry »


Media: Sexwale comment blasted

3 10 2011

A housing-rights organisation has asked Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale to withdraw comments about the possibility of a “cut-off date” for free housing.

ANNA MAJAVU | 03 October, 2011 01:16 – Times Live

The Abahlali baseMjondolo (Those Who Live in Shacks) organisation, which fights for the rights of shack dwellers, said Sexwale’s statement last week was a recipe for “uncontrolled protests”.

Sexwale told an international conference in Cape Town that the government was discussing an end to free housing.

“There has got to be a cut-off date. We are discussing that. You can’t cut off the poor right now, particularly in the current national economic environment. But we can’t sustain what we are doing for a long time,” Sexwale said.

Abahlali baseMjondolo’s Western Cape chairman, Mzonke Poni, who yesterday completed a three-day fast in protest against South Africa’s housing shortage, said the government should have held public hearings before discussing an end to free housing.

“If they open this for public comment the government will see it has no support at all,” said Poni. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Call on city to stop evictions

28 09 2011

CAPE Town residents’ organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo has called on the City of Cape Town to put a moratorium on all evictions.

Sep 28, 2011 | Moses Mackay | Sowetan

This follows a violent clash between 2000 backyard dwellers and the police after they had occupied land owned by the city in Kraaifontein on Sunday.

Police repelled the bid and drove the homeless people off a piece of land along Old Paarl road, arresting eight people.

Police and members of the city’s anti-land invasion unit took down structures erected illegally on Saturday. Read the rest of this entry »

Two Worlds: A Documentary about South Africa’s Inequality

16 09 2011

Change room families’ future still uncertain

16 09 2011

Fadela Slamdien – Sep 15 2011 – The New Age

Six families living in decrepit change rooms at Athlone Stadium in Kewtown are still in the dark about whether the council has plans to relocate them.

The council issued eviction notices against the families, some of whom had lived in the change rooms for 10 years, as they wanted to demolish the buildings to extend the parking area as part of a R406m upgrade of Athlone Stadium for the soccer World Cup.

When the families ignored the notices, the city took the matter to court, claiming the premises were unfit for human habitation and alleging the occupants were involved in “illegal activities”, which they strenuously denied.

But magistrate Mas-Udah Pangarker refused to evict the families. Instead, she ordered the city to either provide the families with alternative accommodation in the surrounding area if it wanted to demolish the building, or allow the families to remain. Read the rest of this entry »

Heartbreak, eviction, broken promises

11 09 2011

Melanie Gosling – September 7 2011 at 12:36pm – Cape Times

FOR around 50 years Ellen Leputing has been trying to secure a home in Cape Town, but has been evicted, burnt out, betrayed and beaten by the system. Her family are facing eviction again.

On the surface, it is a straightforward case of the authorities trying to remove people from a condemned building. On a deeper level, it lays bare the battle of the poor and the powerless to keep a roof over their heads, a battle which, for some families, carries on over decades and across generations.

Leputing, 62, is a state pensioner living in Sandile Park, Gugulethu. She used to live in the adjacent Masonwabe Park, two blocks of 40 flats in Gugulethu’s Dr Moerat Road. Two of her adult children and several grandchildren still live there, as do four of her sister’s children. Read the rest of this entry »

De Lille is arrogant, say backyarders

8 09 2011

GROUPS representing backyard dwellers have lashed out at Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille, labelling her “arrogant and underestimating poor people”, after she allegedly changed the venue for a meeting at the eleventh hour.

Sep 8, 2011 | Unathi Obose | Sowetan

The meeting, scheduled for Khayelitsha’s OR Tambo Hall, was apparently moved to Cape Town’s Civic Centre.

“We feel the change of venue was an insult to us. People are desperate to talk to the mayor and explain their grievances,” said Abahlali BaseMjondolo’s Mzonke Poni.

“Last time we protested we barricaded roads and properties were damaged because the protest was hijacked by criminals. We want disadvantaged people to be the city’s equal and respected partners.”

Mitchell’s Plain Khoisan Customary Council member Colin Graham asked: “Why does De Lille only respect us only when it’s election time and completely ignores us after that?” Read the rest of this entry »