Media: They are cashing in on misery

10 12 2009

10 December 2009
Anna Majavu – Sowetan Political Notebook

Political parties dilly-dally while Zimbabweans suffer

XENOPHOBIC violence is on the rise again and political parties are proving themselves useless at even coming close to rooting out the causes or preventing future attacks. Read the rest of this entry »


Media: Ethnic tension boils over

4 10 2009
Mail & Guardian

On Monday at 5am Lindela Figlan, huddling with his wife and three-year-old daughter near a bus shelter in Sydenham, Durban, was too terrified to flag down the passing taxis. Read the rest of this entry »

AbM: News from Kennedy Road – solidarity from around the world

1 10 2009

1 October 2009 – AbM Press Release

Friends and comrades

The movement is still under attack in Kennedy Road and the police are still failing to protect us. The settlement is now run by the  chairperson of the local ANC branch, Jackson Gumede, and his armed mob. Gumede is asking people to show ANC cards. Senior people in the ANC and the police continue to offer open and public support for the attacks. None of the people that attacked us and destroyed our homes have been arrested. Many of us are still sleeping in the bush and in the streets. There has been another death in hospital.

Our members from across 34 settlements in Durban, and some from other settlements as far away as Cape Town, will soon meet in a secret location. We will formulate a plan of action and draft and issue a full and official press statement.

Right now, in this emergency statement, some things must be cleared up:

1. Willies Mchunu and Hamiliton Ngidi are claiming that Safety Committee set up in Kennedy Road is some sort of illegitmate and sinister ‘forum’. In fact it was set up in partnership with the local police – they were at the launch and attended its meetings. We have the minutes of all these meetings.
2. Willies Mchunu and Hamiliton Ngidi  are claiming that the Safety Committee implemented a curfew in the settlement and are implying that this justifies the violence against us, the destruction of our homes and the banning of our movement from the settlement on the pain of death. In fact the Committee decided, together with the local police, to set closing times on the shebeens. They had previously been open 24 hours a day. A decision was taken that they must close at 10 in the evening. There were a number of reasons for this decision – problems with noise, requests from the women’s movement within our movement to reduce shebeen hours due to the link with violence against women, the danger of fires when people are drunk etc. But the main reason was that since Jacob Zuma’s campaign ethnic tensions have been rising in the settlements. There have been fights, even murders. These fights are usually linked to alcohol therefore it was neccessary, in order for the safety of the community, to reduce alcohol abuse. This decision was taken by a sub-committee of an elected body and the police were at the meeting were it was taken. This decision was not a rights violation. Those people who didn’t like it (i.e. the shebeen owners) could have nominated their own candidates with their own mandate for election to the KRDC in November (when the next election was scheduled)
3. The ANC is telling people in the settlement that Abahlali is Cope.  This is another lie. We took a No Vote position in the election because all the parties are for the rich and against the poor. Our politics has always been a non-party politics. This is all a matter of public record. But the point is that even if we were COPE (which we arecertainly not) in a democracy you have the right to choose what ever politics you want – irrespective of whether you live in a shack or a house.

We thank everyone for the solidarity rushing to us, and in support for democracy, from around the world.

New Video Interview with S’bu Zikode

Rushed (and Rough) Transcript of an Interview (anonymous of course) with Two Young Women Still Living in Kennedy Road

It’s not just demolishing shacks now, it’s moved to full-scale looting. They takes fridges, TV’s etc, and put them in their shacks.
– when people try to ask about who has taken their stuff, the answer is just ‘the community’ took it
– everyone who has been working at the community hall is associated with ‘the forum’. even people who are working at the drop in center.
– no one can enter the hall without being escorted by Jackson Gumede, senior official in the ward and active ANC members
– Another shack was demolished last night because the mob found out that the shack owner was part of the KRDC. they destroyed the shack, are taking people’s possessions.
– We are so angry about attacks on S’bu, S’bu has done so much for this community, the hall was like a bush before, he erected the drop in center. community is going to miss him. for the past fifteen years, ANC has done nothing, he organized so much, send children to school. we are lost without S’bu. we need those leaders like him. i wish he was the councillor. i don’t konw what we’re going to do without him. there’s now no creche to take the children, the mothers are now staying at home to take care of the kids, can’t work. the people to take care of the people with HIV and AIDS, they are after them now, they don’t care what contribution you made to the community but because you’re not ANC, you’re not amongst them…
– Baig is happy that Sbu is gone, he’s not going to expose that Baig is not doing his job properly.
– they promise to bring SAPS, last night the poeple’s shacks were destroyed but the police were parked at the community hall, they don’t even go down to see what’s happening in the informal settlements. they promised to take care of it but right now they are not there. they said they will be there. we are on our own. it’s risky even for them too. i think  it’s better if they brought the soldiers.
– the councillor is the one who is working the situation, in other places ANC is doing a good job, here Baig doens’t know how it is to live in informal settleents, he doesn’t know how hard it is to sleep without food in your stomach, he never felt that pain, that’s why he’s acting like this. Our sufferings is his victory. Baig is happy when we suffering. he’s getting paid to oppress us. our government is paying baig to oppress us.
– they are opposing everything that is good about south africa – the constitution, the freedom charter.
– People can’t openly say they are Abahlali in Kennedy.
– She had left a bag with a friend, her friend was asked by other community members to ‘choose sides’  – Cope or ANC. people from the community hall/drop in center are called Cope. Why are you supporting her, they asked. She feels bad for her friend because she’s going to suffer for being her friend. they have been friends for a long time.

We Are All Abahlali Now (Articles from Around the World)

Article in Greek:
Article in Spanish:
Article in Italian:
Article in English:

Land Occupation and the Limits of Party Politics

26 05 2009

Date posted: 25 May 2009
View this article online here:

In the recent election the DA, together with COPE, made much of their intention to defend the rule of the law. But while the dust thrown up in that election is still settling, the City of Cape Town is already engaged in violent and unlawful behaviour towards its most vulnerable citizens.
Read the rest of this entry »

Frontpage Argus: ‘Why we refuse to vote’

21 04 2009

Argus - Why we won't voteArgus - Why we won't vote 2

April 21, 2009 Edition 2
Staff Reporters and Sapa

A COMMUNITY living on the fringes of Cape Town is sick and tired of being used by politicians, and won’t vote in tomorrow’s elections.

The Symphony Way pavement dwellers, who set up house on the pavement of Delft Street and are refusing to budge until they get proper homes, have accused political parties of trying to bribe them with offers of help only during election time.

The residents, wearing T-shirts bearing the slogan “No Houses, No Land, No Vote”, said Cope went as far as to offer to provide an advocate to help them in their court battle against their eviction.

There are no election posters here.

Anti-Eviction Campaign secretary Kareemah Linneveldt said they told parties not to put up posters because they would have no interest in elections until they had proper housing.

“For 13 months we have lived on the pavement and not a single politician visited us. Now everyone is offering us help,” she said.

The Symphony Way residents were back yard dwellers who illegally occupied newly built houses in Delft before moving to the pavement.

Of the Cope offer, Linneveldt said: “We were told that if we won the case, we should say Cope won it for us, and that we should wear their T-shirts and support them.”

News of their planned stayaway – and a similar action by residents of nearby Blikkiesdorp, many of whom were moved from Symphony Way – comes as expatriates in London have shown astonishing enthusiasm. Read the rest of this entry »

Symphony Way Granted Temporary Reprieve; Eviction Postponed in High Court

21 03 2009

Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
20 March, 2009

Click here for photos

(See end of release for information on the Judge’s order)

Residents of Symphony Way won a temporary reprieve from forcible eviction in the Cape High Court today.

Families gathered on the steps of the court, carrying signs that read: “We need houses for our kids,” and “Give us what is rightfully ours!!! Houses!!!”

The City of Cape Town is seeking the removal of 127 families from self-made shacks to tin, emergency shelters in the Delft Temporary Relocation Area, known as ‘Blikkiesdorp’ (Tin-Can Town).

The families said they will not go to Blikkies: “We will only move when we get keys to proper houses.”

Justice Joubert, whom residents noted was fair and considerate, ordered a postponement for 9 June 2009.  The state attorney requested that the community be given a considerably shorter period of three weeks to prepare their case.

AEC Chairperson, Ashraf Cassim, represented Symphony Way in court.  Cassim explained to the judge that residents needed time to raise funds and secure appropriate legal representation.

Cassim also informed the court that numerous advocates acting on a pro bono basis through the Law Society had previously represented the state.  The judge questioned the state advocate on this point, noting that it presented a potential conflict of interest.

About postponement, Evelyn, a Symphony resident, said, “Today’s answer gives us strength and gives us hope.  We must believe in ourselves.” Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Fire leaves thousands homeless

9 03 2009
By Natasha Prince and Murray Williams
March 09 2009 at 03:25PM
Source: Cape Argus

Cape Town – The scene at Joe Slovo informal settlement was one of devastation on Monday after the south-easter turned a small fire there into a raging inferno that razed 400 shacks and left about 1 600 people homeless.

The fire started at about 2.00am on the corner of the N2 and Vanguard Drive. Read the rest of this entry »