Road Blockade in Grahamstown this Morning

17 05 2011

Tuesday, Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Five Hundred People Blockade Road in Grahamstown this Morning

This morning five hundred people from eThembeni and Transit Camp in Grahamstown blockaded the N2. The eThembeni people were demanding housing, electricity and water. The Transit Camp people were demanding the completion of their houses. The project has stalled due to non-payment of the contractors.

The road was successfully occupied, fires were lit and posters declaring a refusal to vote were raised. The police, acting with their usual aggression and insults, managed to clear the blockade and put out the fires. When the television crews arrived the police behaviour became less aggressive and it was possible to reoccupy the road. But once they left the people were driven off the N2 and the road blockade moved into Joza where it was broken up again. The protest continued on the pavements until three in the afternoon. There were no arrests.

Aluta Continua.

The statement below was drawn up in a meeting last night but could not be issued until today due to a lack of access to email.

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Press: Kicked Out for the Cup?

10 06 2010

Watch Christopher Werth’s multimedia report from South Africa: “Out of Bounds? Cape Town’s Cleanup for the World Cup.”

Kicked Out for the Cup?

South Africa is accused of clearing Cape Town slums to clean up for the big event

Newsweek Magazine, 4 June 2010

by Christhoper Werth

Victor Gumbi sits pensively beside a smoldering fire in a newly cleared lot, literally in the shadow of the recently renovated Ellis Park Stadium, one of the many venues where South Africa will host the World Cup football tournament, which kicks off this week. South Africa billed the world’s most popular sporting event as a boon to development that would help lift millions out of poverty, but Gumbi, a 35-year-old day laborer, says things are only getting worse. Not long after South Africa was awarded the tournament, an entire city block in the neighborhood where he lives was slated for destruction as part of a larger urban-regeneration scheme around the stadium, as Johannesburg began preparing for the throngs of tourists expected to come pouring in over the next few weeks. Late last year, the run-down building where Gumbi was squatting was torn down, leaving him in a small, jerry-built shack in the middle of a block of half-demolished houses that local residents have nicknamed “Baghdad.” Now many residents who’d been living in the area’s abandoned buildings for well more than a decade feel they’re being forced out because of the World Cup. “They want to hide us. They don’t want the Europeans seeing the people living here, so they demolished these dirty houses,” says Gumbi, who’s convinced he’ll be removed once and for all before the games actually begin.

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Open Letter to Dan Plato, Helen Zille and Tokyo Sexwale from the Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions

10 06 2009

9 June 2009

The Honourable Mr. Dan Plato
Mayor of Cape Town,
The Mayor’s Office,
City of Cape Town
Cape Town 8001
South Africa

Reference: Violation of housing rights of 60 families in Macassar Village, Cape Town.

Dear Mayor Plato,

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.
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Media: Backyard dwellers remain defiant

23 05 2009
By Francis Hweshe
Source: Cape Argus
May 22 2009 at 02:34PM

The defiant backyard dwellers who are continuing to illegally occupy a piece of land in Macassar should retreat, Mayor Dan Plato said.

Tension has grown over the past three days, with the protesting group not backing down on its intention of permanently occupying land close to the N2.
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Media: Cops, backyard dwellers clash in Macassar

20 05 2009

20 May 2009, 09:04

Source: Cape Argus

A police officer and a young boy were among several people injured during Tuesday’s violent confrontation between police and Macassar Village backyard dwellers who invaded land adjacent to the N2.

During the incident, four men – including prominent academic Martin Legassick – were taken into custody.

When police bundled Legassick, who the people called their “comrade”, into the back of a police van, the backyard dwellers hurled stones at them, and police opened fire with rubber bullets. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Pavement dwellers refuse to move

20 03 2009
1/22/2009 12:03:36 PM
Source: Eyewitness News

“The people on Symphony Way list, they will scrutinise it and put it up against the database of the N-2 project and then, thirdly, they want to keep open communications”

The Anti-Eviction Campaign has vowed that pavement dwellers on Symphony Way in Delft will stay at the roadside until they are given houses.
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Media: Pavement life blights kids’ life at school

13 03 2009
March 13, 2009 Edition 1
Source: Cape Argus

Spending a year living on the pavement and the threat of eviction are taking their toll on the 175 children of Delft’s Symphony Way, who are having difficulty concentrating at school

Their performances have been adversely affected by their harsh living conditions and insecurity about their future, said Anti-Eviction Campaign spokeswoman Jane Roberts.

“They can’t focus on their school work because their minds are on being evicted and they keep wondering when they will get houses,” she said.

“They keep thinking about when police will come and destroy their homes after throwing them out.”

Roberts said their only hope was to get houses where they would feel like normal children. Read the rest of this entry »

Gugs AEC meet with Housing MEC

27 01 2009
Gugulethu AEC Press Statement
Tuesday January 27, 2009

At noon earlier today, the Gugulethu AEC traveled in numbers to the offices of the Provincial Housing Department in town to meet with the MEC for Housing.

In our last public meeting with MEC for Housing, Mr Whitey Jacobs told our community that, for the past 15 years, there has been “no provincial housing plan for backyard dwellers in Cape Town”. After consulting with the communities of Gugulethu, Langa and Nyanga, Jacobs promised to meet our demands and come up with a strategic plan for backyarders in our communities that took our own views into account. As media from the Argus, Times, the Sun, the Daily Voice and the Sowetan witnessed, he further promised that if he did not come up with a plan that satisfied residents within 2 months, he would resign from office.

At the report-back meeting today, the Jacobs promised to come to the Gugulethu Sports Complex on Sunday the 15th of February at 14h00 for the AEC’s weekly mass meeting.

  • He also claimed that his department was taking management of the N2 Gateway Project and allocation of houses over from Thubelisha Homes because of mismanagement. This contradicts what his office told Delft-Symphony AEC last week.

  • He promised that Gugulethu backyard dwellers will be accommodated in the N2 Gateway as well as in projects in Khayelitsha.

  • The MEC futher stated that the land backyarders have attempted to occupy in Gugulethu (ELF# RR448 on Lansdowne Road) is owned by the City and is slated to be developed into housing for the backyard dwellers.

  • Finally, he had previously promised to come up with a plan to house backyard dwellers in Mowbray, Muizenberg and Constantia and promised to provide more details of the plan on 15 of February.

We look forward to participating in ironing out these plans with the MEC at our mass meeting. As backyard dwellers, we hope that this is not just another promise that politicians make just before elections. If he is unable to fulfill these promises, we expect him to honorably resign from his position.

For more information, contact Mncedisi at 078 580 8646 and Speelman at 073 9825 725

Media: Delft squatters to get houses

17 01 2009
January 09, 2009 Edition 2
Francis Hweshe
Source: Cape Argus

More than 100 families who have been living on the pavement in Symphony Way in Delft for nearly a year are set to be screened for housing allocation, the housing department has said.

The frustrated families, who have weathered rain and cold weather on the pavement approached the department on Wednesday, requesting it to follow through on promises it made last year to allocate houses to them.

The Department of Housing deputy director-general, Mbulelo Tshangana, said they had been engaging with the families since last year after they “illegally invaded houses in Delft”.

“We are going to look at the list and see who qualifies for the N2 Gateway housing project, because not all of them qualify,” said Tshangana.

Last year five of the families received houses, but in solidarity with those still living on the pavement they have not moved in until they are all given houses.

Tshangana said the Delft people were not going to be housed unless “proper criteria are followed”.

“The key point is that we must not encourage people to jump the queue because that would force everybody to do the same,” said Tshangana.

He said that after determining beneficiaries, it would then be decided whether they should be accommodated “this financial year or the next”.

Tshangana said that the department was scheduled for a meeting with the community next week.

Ashraf Cassiem, a spokesman for the Anti-Eviction Campaign and the families, said they acknowledged the illegal occupation of houses, but were now negotiating in good faith with authorities for the residents’ right to better shelter.

Promises were made but had not been followed through, said Cassiem.

The residents who had spent 11 months without proper shelter were increasingly getting impatient, said Cassiem.

The province is currently facing a housing backlog of more than 400 000, with some having been on the housing list for more than 20 years.

Millennium Development Goals: SAHRC comments on N2 Gateway

11 01 2009

Millennium Development Goals & the Realisation of Economic and Social Rights in South Africa: A Review

The South African Human Rights Commission comments on the failure of the N2 Housing project to take into account the rights of residents and help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

See the following link:

Millennium Development Goals: SAHRC comments on N2 Gateway