3 families remain homeless at the gates of Tin Can Town

7 05 2010
Joint Committee of Phase 2 in Blikkiesdorp
Press Release – 7 May 2010

Three families have been living homeless, freezing weather, rain and all, at the gates of Blikkiesdorp for over 10 nights now.

These families were evicted recently from backyards where they used to live in Delft. They came to Blikkiesdorp looking for a tin because they have nowhere else to go. Since the City of Cape Town will not accommodate them inside Blikkiesdorp, they have occupied some land at the entrance to the Phase 2 section of the TRA. Read the rest of this entry »

Blogs: South Africa Make The Fake House for World Cup 2010

30 03 2010


Source: WorldCupBlog.org

I wasn’t a huge fan, but I remember an episode of the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond where Ray falls out with wife Debra because she’s cleaning the house before they have visitors. I couldn’t find a video clip, but thanks to the excellent OpenSubtitles.org I can quote the argument verbatim. Imagine Ray sitting down and Debra aggressively tidying around him:

Ray: Ow! Why do you always do this? Every time we have people over we spend all day making the fake house.
Debra: lt’s not fake. lt’s the way the house should be all the time.
Ray: But it isn’t, so actually it’s like lying, huh, right? ls that what you’re about, lying to people?
Debra: Could you just start clearing everything off the rug, please?

What does this have to do with football you ask? Well, turns out South Africa are “making the fake house” for World Cup 2010 by removing the homeless population from World Cup venue cities and temporarily dumping them into overcrowded settlements. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: City homeless say World Cup glamour is forcing them out

10 12 2009

‘we are like insects to them, or flies’

December 04, 2009 Edition 1

Homeless residents complained yesterday that they were being forced from the streets of Cape Town to make way for a host of star-studded, glamorous events surrounding next year’s World Cup. Read the rest of this entry »

AbM: Councillor and eThekwini Municipality Illegally Demolish Homes in Mpola; More Families Left Homeless

16 09 2009

Six more families were left homeless early this morning in Mpola, Marianhill, when a demolition crew took pangas to their homes.  The demolition crew said they had been authorized by the notorious Ward 15 councillor, Derek Dimba.  Backing the crew was 11 eThekwini Municipality security officers, all armed with guns.   Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Nonagenarian faces eviction, again

10 11 2008

Note: The Anti-Eviction Campaign successfully put 93 year old Nothemba Booysen back in her home.  She will not move all the way to Mitchell’s Plain where she will not have the help and support of her family.  She will stay where she is until the city confirms that the house is owned by her.  If helping old ladies from homelessness is controversial as the article below states, then let us be controversial!

By Nwabisa Msutwana-Stemela

November 10 2008 at 07:53AM

Source: Cape Argus

Tempers flared outside a Gugulethu home where a 93-year-old woman faces eviction for the second time this year because of a long-running dispute about ownership.

Red-shirted members of the deeply controversial Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and community members last week gathered in support of Nothemba Booysen, who lives in the house with her niece Dora Booysen.

The women had received a letter from Sogwagwa Attorneys saying they had to go, but they were determined to resist the pressure.

The house, formerly a council house, has been home to the Booysen family since the 1970s. But in 1996 it appears to have been incorrectly registered by the municipality as belonging to the Mnyengeza family who lived next door, giving the Mnyengezas ownership of both houses. Read the rest of this entry »

Delft squatters banish memory of evil

10 04 2008
April 08 2008 at 02:25PM
Source: IOL

Along with the shrubs and desiccated undergrowth, Delft’s “Bush of Evil” was cut from people’s thoughts a long time ago.

Even Delft squatters sleeping on the ground that was once a hotbed of child rape and murder have shoved the sordid memories, like that of six-year-old Kim Abrahams or six-year-old “Little Rock” who survived after being abused and set alight, to the back of their minds.

But for Esmeralda Josephs, the mother of Kim Abrahams, it is difficult to forget.

“Most people don’t know what it is to lose a child, you never get over it,” she says, gently rocking the pram of her son, Waslie.

‘Most people don’t know what it is to lose a child’
She keeps him close, not letting him out of her sight for even a moment.

Every few seconds, she looks up at the faces of the other squatters standing in the food line, and while she knows most of them, she trusts very few.

She was pregnant with Waslie, she says, when Joey died just two years ago.

Her three-year-old daughter was lured from her home by a stranger offering her 50c. Her half-naked, battered body was later discovered just 3km away, concealed deep in the bushes near Leiden, Delft.

Now, this same piece of dune-like land has, ironically, become a safe haven to hundreds of families who were forcefully removed from unfinished N2 Gateway houses in February.

‘It feels like a refugee camp’
Josephs is just one of many with a heart-wrenching story to tell.

“When they evicted us, I just lost it. Those same policemen couldn’t arrest my child’s murderer, but they can kick us poor people out of the only houses we have.”

As she edges further towards the front of the queue, Josephs tries to recall how many times she has moved but eventually gives up, saying: “There’s too many times to count.”

She has set up a makeshift “hokkie” towards the back of the Section One camp.

It is positioned on the very spot where Joey’s body was uncovered.

She says it may seem strange to some, but it has helped her come to terms with her daughter’s murder.

“All I want is a house of my own where my son will be safe.

“Joey never had that,” she says.

But Josephs is not the only former backyard dweller fighting for a house to call her own.

The Delft families, who have set up camp on the outskirts of the N2 Gateway project for the past seven weeks, have all demanded formal housing.

They squatted there in a defiant act against the Cape High Court’s eviction order, enduring appalling living conditions in the hope that they will one day be given one of the finished two-bedroom houses.

In reality, only 30 percent of them will eventually get one.

“It’s a race thing,” explains resident Aziza Rhoda, as she washes sand from her crockery for the sixth time that day.

Like many other members of the tight-knit community, she believes she is being sidelined because she is “coloured and not black”.

“The African people from Joe Slovo don’t want to move here because it’s too far. If they don’t want it, why should we, as the people of Delft, not get it? The government only cares about the coloured people when it’s time to vote.”

As Rhoda speaks, she struggles to move around in her part of a 4×4-metre tent, provided by the City of Cape Town and shared with three families.

Nonetheless, she is thankful that she recently moved from the bigger tent, where even more families were housed together.

“When I was there, there were two times when women woke up in the night screaming because there were men trying to rape them. that’s when I decided to move,” she says.

And the last few days have been even harder on Rhoda and Josephs, both of whom had pinned their hopes on a move to a new Delft site in the next few days.

However, these hopes swiftly evaporated when the city announced that, as a result of building material setbacks, residents would remain where they were for at least another three months, well into the cold winter season.

Some hopeful residents still cling to a pamphlet they were handed by the city long ago, promising each family a 7×7-metre piece of land and materials to build a waterproof 18m? iron structure with a door and window.

It appears a cruel situation for the squatters, who wake up every day to see the “real houses” they so desperately fought for lying empty, just over the wire barrier that fences them in.

One woman, identifying herself only as Priscilla, describes life on the dusty dunes of Delft as a constant battle – if they weren’t fighting for houses, they were fighting off the cold and sand at night with nothing but a few blankets and the shelter of flimsy tents.

As winter approaches, they fear this could worsen.

A mother of two, Hania Albshary, says she would have no qualms about moving back into the vacant houses if her family could not bear the cold, in spite of the consequences that may follow.

“My husband is sick, he can’t work. I must think about him. I must think about my children,” she says.

Children as young as two, seemingly oblivious to the dire circumstances, occupy their time by scooping up buckets of sand or climbing in and out of a large rubbish container near the boundary of the site.

Most have stopped going to school because their parents fear they will be taunted for being dirty, others are too sick with diarrhoea and the flu, which they have supposedly picked up in the surroundings.

“It feels like a refugee camp,” says Priscilla angrily. “We are closed in with fences like animals and we’ve been living in tents for weeks. If we are on the housing list, why should we have to go through this?”

Twice a day, residents are given a warm meal, a load shared by the municipality and Islamic Relief South Africa , but at meetings residents make their feelings heard.

“We don’t want food,” one man shouts, “it’s not food we need, it’s houses!”

The same sentiments echo through the Gateway’s second camp, a group settled on a Symphony Way pavement bordering Section Two.

This group has largely been perceived as rebellious because it has declined the help of the city.

More significantly, the members have fervently refused to move to the new site, even if that means a repeat of February’s violent evictions.

Like Josephs they fear that, even after 14 years of democracy, they may just be forgotten.

Behind the empty promises of politicians, the frantic fight for houses and an immense housing backlog they will remain just another name on an ever-growing housing list.

Police set up 2 illegal roadblocks in Delft to prevent relief from reaching the people

25 02 2008

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Alert
Monday 25th February 2008 at 2pm

** Media are called urgently to rush to the scene at Delft **

DELFT, CAPE TOWN – The police have set up two roadblocks on each side of Symphony Way, which is the Delft road being occupied by the 1600 people who were evicted from the occupied houses last week. The police are using the roadblocks to refuse media and relief trucks entrance to the area. Islamic Relief was turned away with a big cargo of food, blankets, tenting and nappies that is desperately needed by the people.

The police are telling the media and the relief trucks that the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) are the ones who refuse to let them inside. This is completely untrue, as the AEC has always been on good terms with the media and all of Cape Town’s charities and relief agencies and has in fact been visiting the relief agencies personally over the past week to call for aid for the Delft residents.

Currently Symphony Way is split into two sections, one affiliated to the AEC and one affiliated to DA Councillor Frank Martin. The majority of the people of Delft are extremely disillusioned with Councillor Frank Martin and have moved to the section of the road affiliated to AEC.

Frank Martin who simply incited people to occupy the houses on the racist basis that it would be unfair for those houses to be given to Black people from Joe Slovo. Thereafter he did nothing to support the people who faced an immediate eviction. He did not contribute in any way to the legal struggle and he has also continued with his racism about housing in SA only being given to “blacks” which is completely untrue and is not in any way what AEC believes. Read the rest of this entry »

Urgent Press Release: Delft homeless are now being evicted from their tents!

24 02 2008

Sunday, 24th February, 2008


The provincial Social Welfare Department and the Democratic Alliance’s Dan Plato are threatening Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) because the charity has put up tents for the recently evicted residents of Delft. They are threatening tear down the tents as we speak.

According to Achmat from IRW: “The Social Welfare department of the province went to the police to lay a charge for the erection of illegal structures. They demanded that IRW remove the structures [tents] immediately”.

Achmat also claims he has received a call form Dan Plato threatening Islamic Relief Worldwide that if they do not remove all tents by tonight, the City of Cape Town with the backing of the police will come in unilaterally and remove it themselves.

For comment and specifics on the threat, please call Achmat from IRW on 079-139-7101.

The Anti-Eviction Campaign along with IRW requests anyone concerned to come immediately to Symphony Road in Delft where residents are living. By 19h30, the City of Cape Town is planning to remove the tents and render residents vulnerable once again to the harsh elements of the area.

Gympie Street Residents Committee Press Release

24 02 2008
20th February 2008

For comment: Gympie Street lawyer Advocate Zehir Omar – 011 8151720 or 082 4925207 or Willy Heyn on 073 1443619

The Gympie Street Residents Co-ordinating Committee of 6 people will appear in the Cape Town magistrates court again on Monday 25th February 2008.

This after they were all arrested in a dawn raid by Woodstock police and unlawfully charged with contravening the High Court eviction order that was handed down against them in 2006.

None of the residents contravened the High Court Eviction Order granted to the owner of the Gympie Street flats in 2006. The order was for an eviction of the residents, but after spending 6 weeks living on the pavement outside their homes in the winter (the City having failed to provide alternative accommodation) the residents went back into the flats, but NOT the flats they were evicted from. They went to live in each other’s flats. This nullified the court order. It was then up to the owner of the flats to get a new court order against the occupants which he failed to do.

The Co-ordinating Committee are a courageous group of impoverished people who are making a stand against gentrification of the city by property developers. They are Willy Heyn; Margaret Petersen (single mother of two children, the youngest being 12 years old); Lydia Portland (single mother looking after two children of her own and three of her sister’s children who is currently in hospital – one of these children is 3 yrs old); Marietta Monagee (single mother of three children aged 5, 8 and 10yrs old); Sarah Jones (looking after her grandchildren who live with her – aged 2, 3, 5 and 6 years old) and Zubeida Brown (single mother of 4 kids – one who is 20 years old is in a wheelchair since birth, completely dependent on her mother for all aspects of her care.)

The backdrop to this story is a real tale of tragedy. These residents were paying their rent every month for years despite the owner never doing maintenance on the flats which are in a hazardous and rundown condition. Most of the residents are either jobless or doing casual domestic or factory work at pay of R50 per day so they have nowhere else to go and no possibility of renting other flats.

After the owner got a High Court eviction order against them last year, the residents were evicted to the pavement. The city refused to find suitable alternative accommodation for them despite there being available accommodation in Woodstock at the former hospital, which is standing 90% empty. About 100 people then slept and lived on the pavements in this crowded city area for about five weeks. The city told them to move to Happy Valley where each family would be given three sticks and a heavy piece of plastic to build a shelter. The residents refused because all their children are in Woodstock schools and because many of them are ill and cannot go and live in the sand far from the city.

Some residents were persuaded by the council to visit Happy Valley and see if it would be suitable. When those residents got there, they had the fright of their lives when the existing residents of Happy Valley told the Gympie Street residents that they would “burn them out on the first day” if they moved to Happy Valley.

As such, the residents are terrified of moving to Happy Valley, and at the same time are being forced out of Woodstock by a property developer. Their options are zero, which is unacceptable because the City has a responsibility to house the poor. The City has tried to dodge its responsibility by saying this is a private matter however, the Gympie Street residents are the City’s responsibility because these are poor people who should long ago have been allocated council housing like others on the waiting list.

Communities have vowed to mobilise to support the Gympie Street residents, as they did last year.

See also: ‘I live here or I die’ from the Mail & Guardian

Pictures of Delft evictions and police brutality

22 02 2008

18 February, 2008 – The day before the evictions

19 February, 2008 – Evictins begin; police open fire on residents.