Annandale residents will have a meeting at Land Affairs after developers threaten them

11 02 2009
AEC press release on behalf of Annandale Farm Crisis Committee
Wednesday 11 February, 2009

Meeting with Department of Land Affairs
Time: 12th of February at 14h00
Location: Land Affairs, 8th floor, Nedbank Building

After residents informed Ronald Shell that they would only accept the first deal that was endorsed by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (EADP), Ronald sent Toni – the social worker – to threaten the residents. According to Gys Tietie, she arrived on Friday the 6th and instead of speaking to the whole community, she began spreading rumors to all the residents.

According to another resident, Selmien Kock, “Toni said that the entire deal is now off and that residents will be evicted and will receive no compensation at all”. She added that the Anti-Eviction Campaign has no money and that Ronnie and the developers will squash any attempt at apposing the development.

Selmien and other residents are very angry at the way they are being treated and are calling for polite negotiations without threats and abuse. Residents know its illegal to evict any tenant without adequate compensation. 55,000 rand is clearly inadequate considering the multi-billion rand cost of the project and recommendations by the EADP.

Residents are therefore excited to get out their side of the story at a meeting hosted by the Department of Land Affairs. The meeting will take place tomorrow (12th of February) on the 8th floor of the Nedbank Building in Strand Street at 14h00. Developers Ronnie Shell and David Pearson from Blue Wave Properties 163 will be present along with a representative of the Anti-Eviction Campaign.

Selmien Kock at 073 234 3264
Gys Tietie 076 475 8359

For legal background and other info contact Ashraf from the AEC at 076 186 1408

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Top-down planning the real villain

7 02 2009

Source: Centre for Public Participation

In spite of the Joe Slovo and Khutsong disasters, it seems the new elite is still intent on pushing its own agenda, writes Imraan Buccus

National attention remains fixed on the unlovely aftermath of Polokwane and the electricity debacle. At times like this we often forget the ordinary people who keep the country going, and in whose name most of the major battles continue to be fought. Read the rest of this entry »





Press Alert: Residents resist Annandale Farm farm evictions to make way for 4 billion rand development

4 02 2009
AEC press release on behalf of Annandale Farm Crisis Committee
Wednesday 4 February, 2009

55,000 is useless if it doesn’t buy a house!

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and the Annandale Farm Crisis Committee request an immediate meeting with developer Ronald Shell regarding the illegitimate attempted eviction of residents.

Mavis Lithuli, chairperson of Annandale Farm Crisis Committee, has been living on a small section of Annandale Farm since she was born. Her mother has been living here for over 45 years now. The farm is also home to 26 other families. This is their home. This is the only place they know. This is the only place they want to be and the only place they feel comfortable bringing up their children.

But now, the owner of the land, Mr. Ronald Shell from Bantry Bay, has decided he stands to make a huge profit developing the land. He has brought in investors such as Redefine from Joburg and the multinational Lehman Brothers from the United States to build a massive 4 billion rand development set to rival Century City. This would include upscale residential units as well as retail, commercial and industrial space.

But residents of Annandale did not know a thing about this development and how much Shell stood to profit from it. In May 2008, Ronnie Shell and Toni (a local social worker who also collects the rent on the owners behalf) approached the residents telling people he is offering them land and houses if they sign contracts he will soon give them. When residents saw the contract, it ordered them to leave the premises within 90 days. Residents refused to sign in protest. When Mavis then went to meet with Ronnie and Toni to express her concerns, they offered her a bribe of 75,000 rand to leave and keep quite – she refused saying “give the people houses like you promised”.

Seeing as the residents were not willing to evicted so easily, Ronnie and Toni organised a braai for the residents with alcohol and then got them to sign a contract. They were happy with this document which was based on an Environmental Impact Assessment by the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning with the goal of ensuring the least negative impact on the tenants. The document required that the developers provide between 750-1200 square meters of land to each tenant including a home with a school, crèche and church in the community. Residents happily agreed and signed the document. According to the document, if no land was available within 2 km of their current location, the cost of the land including the cost of servicing the land and housing the residents must be offered to the tenants as an aternative.

However, later that year, Ronnie and Tony organised another braai for residents. After ensuring they were all drunk, they told the residents that they cannot find any land and would instead give them money. The residents, most of whom are illiterate and speak only Afrikaans or isiXhosa, were duped into signing a new contract giving them only 55,000 (or 20,000 and a small wendy house) if they left their homes on the land. This strategy is reminiscent of the Apartheid era “dop system” which caused alcohol addiction on many Cape wine farms.

But now, residents have realised that they have been pressured and deceived into signing their livelihood away. If they take the 55,000 and leave Annandale, where will they go? It costs 300,000 rand to buy a house these days so what can they buy with 55,000 rand?

So Mavis and other residents have begun to do their home work. They’ve contacted the Anti-Eviction Campaign which has agreed to work with residents and help them negotiate with Mr Shell and the developers.

The resident’s position is that if the project is slated to cost 4 billion, the developers can do much better than 55,000 rand per family. While both agreements were made under durress, the residents will happily accept the first contract and demmand that the developers honor it or give them a reasonable alternative. As Mavis Lithuli stated in an AEC meeting with the community, “55,000 is useless if it doesn’t buy a house. I’m fighting now for an offer where I can buy a house for my family”.

The Anti-Eviction Campaign requests that Ronald Shell contact Ashraf from the AEC to arrange a meeting with the campaign and the residents to negotiate a just solution.

For more information please contact Annandale Farm Crisis Committee members:

Selmien Kock at 073 234 3264

Gys Tietie 076 475 8359

For legal background and other info contact Ashraf from the AEC at 076 186 1408





Evictions in Gugs: Party politics, 2010 and Robin Hood of the Rich

21 01 2009

Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
21 January, 2009

Gugulethu – Mr. Gquma, a poor resident, gets evicted and threatened by ANCYL to make way for a local businessman’s new tourist empire.

Robin Hood is an archetypal figure in English folklore where he is known for robbing the rich to give to the poor and fighting against injustice and tyranny. Here in Gugulethu, there is also a Robin Hood and he even fights for a redistribution of wealth.

This man is named Mzoli Ngcawuzele and his band of thieves are the local ANCYL and former MK members. He is the owner of the (im)famous Mzoli’s Butchery – playground of tourists, MPs and the township elite. But he has not stopped there, through a local ANC councillor, he has organised the sale of 34,000 sq meters of community land for only R11.70 to Khula Business and now has a 9% share in the resulting new mall being developed. But despite the millions he is already making through his corrupt business practices, Mzoli is set on acquiring even more property in the township.

According to local residents, he is attempting to secretly and unjustly buy over 20 houses in Gugulethu, the majority of them being on NY1 (the main road which the City has now earmarked as a 2010 tourist hub). As one local resident puts its, “Mzoli is using his fortune as a platform to evict the poor from Gugulethu” – which is exactly what happened today.

Early this morning, Robert Thamie “Baba” Ntshobane, the former body guard of Tony Yengeni, arrived with various members of the local ANCYL, the sheriff and the Gugulethu SAPS to violently and illegally evict local resident Mncedi Wiseman Gquma from his home. As with other properties on NY1, Mzoli is using ANC connections such as “Baba” to strong-arm his way into ownership of the homes.

The reason this eviction was illegal is that (like most attempted evictions in Gugs) it was done without a valid court order. The court order that was used is over a year old and was done without proof that Baba even owned the house. But, it seems that even the Wynberg Magistrates and the Sheriffs of the Court doe not even know their own laws: Section 8 of the PIE Act makes evictions without a valid court order a criminal offense. Additionally, as the law states, one has to give the resident a letter stating that you want them to leave. This must happen before you go to the court to get an eviction order. You have to give at least two weeks notice before going to court, and the notice must say on what date the court hearing will take place and where it will take place. You also have to give a copy of this notice to the local authority. None of these actions took place and the court order was clearly old and invalid as it was dated February 2008.

Gquma, who bought the house for 68,000 Rand has been paying of his 20 year bond for 14 years now. When he was illegally retrenched from SAB, he began to default on payments. However, while he attempted to negotiate with FNB on the 24,000 he still owed, the bank refused. FNB, seeing it could make a substantial profit, turned around and sold the house for over 200,000 Rand. When you are poor, you have no rights and wealthy individuals, banks and Robin Hoods of the Rich can manipulate your situation at any time to make a profit.

As all of Mr Gquma’s belongings were thrown onto the street, Baba and his friends hurled insults at Gquma and other residents who were supporting him. According to Theodora Mboniswa, “Baba said that he is the ANC and he is going to call his people in the Youth League, Fikile Mbalula, and MKs and no one is going to touch the house or enter because he’s got a lot of people for backup”. Theodora is also facing illegal eviction from her house. The AEC put her back into her house on NY1 earlier last year.

Mr Gquma also claims he was threatened and said “they have got guns now. They are here to shoot to kill. He claims to be ANC top brass and he is calling youth league and MKs to guard the house.” But Gquma vows not to give up – mainly because he has no family in Gugulethu and nowhere else to go. Indeed, while he will be accommodated by a sympathetic neighbour, his furniture, clothes and everything else he owns will be left in front of his house. He’s afraid it might rain or thieves will come take everything he owns. Tomorrow, he’ll go and apply for a Spoliation Order to reverse his illegal eviction.

And so, the struggle continues. The struggle against party thugs and party politics Robin Hood of the Rich will continue to redistribute wealth upwards. But the poor people of Gugulethu, with the Anti-Eviction Campaign as their tool, will continue to confront this band of thieves head on.

For more info, please call Mncedisi at 078-580-8646
For comment, call Mncedi Wiseman Gquma at 076-338-9080




COHRE letter to Premier on eMacambini mass evictions

19 01 2009

16 January 2009

Mr Sibusiso Ndebele
KwaZulu-Natal Premier
Premier’s Office
Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal
PO Box 412
Pietermaritzburg 3200

Re: Forced eviction of 10 000 families from eMacambini for AmaZulu World

Dear Premier Ndebele,

The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) is an international human rights non-governmental organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, with offices throughout the world. COHRE has consultative status with the United Nations and Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. COHRE works to promote and protect the right to adequate housing for everyone, everywhere, including preventing or remedying forced evictions.

COHRE is deeply concerned about the threatened forced eviction of up to 10 000 families of the Macambini community from their communal land in rural KwaZulu-Natal, to make way for AmaZulu World, a multi-billion Rand project proposed by Dubai-based property development group Ruwaad Holdings. The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal and King Goodwill Zwelithini (trustee of the Ingonyama Trust Board that administers the Macambini communal land) have endorsed this project. In May 2008, the KwaZulu-Natal Premier signed a memorandum of understanding with Ruwaad Holdings, and in October 2008, attended the Dubai Cityscape 2008 real estate exhibition together with King Goodwill Zwelithini for the official unveiling of the project. Read the rest of this entry »





eMacambini: Holding onto Paradise

29 12 2008

(This is the full version of an article first published in The Weekender.)

Holding onto Paradise

The proposed development of eMacambini will destroy the life of a rich rural community as well as one of KZN’s most beautiful landscapes, writes Peter Machen

If you drive up the North Coast of KwaZulu Natal, you’ll see what was once little than a series of small seaside towns gradually morphing into something that increasingly looks like Jo’burg. Currently the twin epicentres of this urban spread are Umhlanga and Ballito, but the virus is spreading around the province. It has already filled the once semi-rural suburbs of Hillcrest and Waterfall with strip malls and gated communities and threatens to take up wherever there is a beautiful view waiting to be destroyed. Read the rest of this entry »





Media: A forced removal to allow for ‘progress’

13 12 2008

The eMacambini community is challenging the government’s plan to build a theme park on its ancestral land, writes PETER MACHEN

THE north coast of KwaZulu- Natal is dotted with towns gradually filling up with strip malls and gated communities blocking the view . Tuscan, Balinese and modernist architecture have obliterated views of rolling green hills and blue sea.

A little further up the coast, a local community is challenging this notion of “the end of history”.

They are defending a richly lived rural life against the virus of development .

The people of eMacambini have lived surrounded by a beautiful landscape for generations — with little extreme poverty and crime, in a place where community is more important than political affiliation.

Now their way of life is being threatened by the proposed development of the Amazulu World Theme Park .

The planned R44m development by Dubai-based Ruwaad Holdings will occupy 16500ha.

In addition to the theme park, plans include the largest shopping centre in Africa, a game reserve, six golf courses, residential facilities, sports fields and a statue of Shaka at the Thukela river mouth.

To achieve this, the eMacambini community is going to be displaced, 29 schools will be demolished along with 300 churches, three clinics and brand-new RDP houses. Ancestral graves will also be displaced. And between 20000 and 50000 people will be forcibly removed. Read the rest of this entry »