Media: Protest against new slums law

14 05 2009
Published: 5/14/2009 21:15:22
Source: The Citizen

JOHANNESBURG – About 1 000 members from various non-governmental organisations travelled from across the country to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg to protest against the KwaZulu-Natal Slums Act.

General secretary of the Rural Network in KZN, Mbhekiseni Mavuso, said his organisation was pledging its support to Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM), which has applied to have the Act declared unlawful under the Constitution. Read the rest of this entry »


AbM: Siyanda to March on Housing MEC on Tuesday 14 April 2009

9 04 2009
Thursday, 09 April 2009
Press Statement from the Siyanda (A & B) Abahlali baseMjondolo Branch

At 8:00 a.m. on 14 April 2009 we will march from Garrupa Park (next to the V.N. Naik School for the Deaf) in Newlands to the Metro Police Station in KwaMashu.

We have been marching on Councillor Madondo, for quite long now. He has never answered our memorandums. We have confronted him and he has made it clear that he cannot answer our questions. In February last year we marched on Mayor Mlaba. We have received no answer to our memorandum. Late last year the Abahlali baseMjondolo branch in Siyanda Section C marched on Provincial MEC for Housing Mike Mabuyakhulu. They received no reply to their memorandum. Now Siyanda Section A and B, those living in self built shacks and those living in government shacks, will march on Mabuyakhulu. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Purgatory for the poor

31 03 2009

‘The other day, my [nine-year-old] daughter and her friend were coming back from school through the bushes and a man tried to rape them,’ says Neftal Ntuli (40)

“Luckily a car was going past and the driver brought them home. In broad daylight! It’s not safe there.”

Ntuli, his wife and three children form part of the first batch of families relocated by the eThekwini municipality from their informal shack settlement near Umlazi’s King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium to a transit camp in peri-urban T-section. Read the rest of this entry »

Siyanda Eviction to Richmond Farm: 26 Families Left Homeless, Housing Misallocation and Reports of Corruption Continue

18 03 2009

SIYANDA – 17 March 2009 – At 5am on a rainy Tuesday, 50 Siyanda families in Siyanda Section C began to dismantle their shacks in compliance with a negotiated relocation order to the Richmond Farm transit camp. The Department of Transport and the eThekwini Municipality had sought their eviction to make way for the new MR577 freeway. People had agreed to go to new houses in the Khalula Project but then their houses were sold off corruptly. They were then told to go to the Richmond Farm Transit Camp (government shacks) with no garuantees of when, if ever, they would get houses. They refused this and rebelled. Eventually they went to court and they won in court – they won an investigation into the corruption, that various measures would be put in place to ensure judicial oversight over conditions in the camp and that no one would spend more than one year there before being given a formal house


The court order, issued by the Durban High Court last week, stated that all respondents in the case would be allocated transit camp structures. But 3 families cited in the case are now homeless. In South Africa it is a criminal offence to leave any person homeless in an eviction. In this case it is also contempt of court. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: No temporary solution

15 03 2009

Posted to the web on: 14 March 2009
Source: The Weekender

Life is uncertain for the residents of Blikkiesdorp, and they fear its thin tin walls may be permanent, writes JEANNE HROMNIK

BLIKKIESDORP won’t be found on any South African map. Its official name is Symphony Way Temporary Relocation Area and it is not supposed to exist for more than a short time.

The residents prefer their nickname Blikkiesdorp — Tin Town — as it accurately describes the 1000 or more structures that the city of Cape Town erected in Delft last year to house them.

The temporary relocation area is a stone’s throw from the shacks of the Symphony Way pavement dwellers . The 100-odd families have been living illegally along a blocked-off section of Symphony Way since February last year.

On March 2, the city notified the pavement dwellers of its intention to seek an eviction order in the high court to remove them. But last week, the Durban High Court granted judicial oversight of a transit camp in KwaZulu-Natal, and now the Cape Town residents intend to use this precedent to defend their eviction.

Provincial governments across the country have been using these settlements — known as temporary relocation areas in Cape Town, transit camps in Durban and government shacks in Gauteng — to “temporarily” house residents from squatter camps and inner-city slums until formal housing is provided for them.

“Transit camps often look like concentration camps with razor-wire fencing, spotlights, single entrances and 24-hour police guards,” says shack-dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, which won the Durban High Court victory . “Residents are often highly controlled in these places, as if they are in prisons.

“In most cases, these camps are far from the cities where people live, work and school. People are taken there against their will with no guarantees about the conditions there, how long they will be kept there and where, if anywhere, they will be taken next.”

Unlike Tsunami, a neighbouring temporary relocation area , Blikkiesdorp does not look like a slum. The tin walls and roofs of the dwellings gleam in the afternoon sun. There is little space between the structures which are arranged in blocks, with one toilet shared by four households . The toilets appear to be functioning and do not emit the foul smell coming from those in Tsunami. There are taps with running water, but no ablution facilities.

Ashraf Cassiem, chairman of the Anti-Eviction Campaign in the Western Cape, says “the toilets (at Blikkiesdorp) are concrete, the pipelines are concrete” — an unexpected feature in a “temporary” camp .

At the entrance to Blikkiesdorp, three police vehicles and an armoured truck, manned by the Land Invasion Unit, are permanently stationed to maintain order and monitor the area .

Cassiem says there are no temporary relocation areas. The city, he claims, was given R20m to build Blikkiesdorp. It built 1200 structures for people evicted from the adjacent N2 Gateway houses in February last year and is planning to build 1200 more units.

Instead of a temporary stop and a prelude to permanent housing, it is being used to house everyone: people evicted by the council and other homeless families. The city has a 22-year lease on the land on which Blikkiesdorp is erected.

Blikkiesdorp, says Cassiem, is part of a strategy to move unwanted people — “like cattle … as if you are doing them a favour” — to the fringes of cities and outlying areas where they are less visible.

Temporary relocation areas in the Western Cape — such as Happy Valley, built more than 12 years ago outside Stellenbosch and now a vast informal settlement — are permanent relocation areas. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Court orders immediate probe – Progress for shack dwellers in housing row

10 03 2009

March 09, 2009 Edition 1
Tania Broughton

Source: The Mercury

A Durban High Court has ordered an immediate investigation into the “corrupt allocation” of housing at a low-cost estate in northern Durban, and wants a report on it in two months. Read the rest of this entry »

Siyanda Win in the Durban High Court

7 03 2009
Friday, 06 March 2009
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press

Siyanda Win in the Durban High Court

The Struggle Against Corruption and Transit Camps Continues

Today 8 orders were granted in favour of Abahlali baseMjondolo in the Durban High Court. The orders that have been granted are a breakthrough. We can call this a landmark judgment because the orders provide for judicial oversight of the new and entirely notorious phenomenon of the transit camp – also known by the government as decant areas in Jo’burg, as temporary relocation areas in Cape Town and as amatins, blikkies and government shacks by the people. However while it is progress to get judicial oversight over the transit camps our aim is to eradicate them entirely. We will not claim victory until this has been achieved.

The background to this matter is that residents of the Siyanda settlement had been told that they would have to be moved for the construction of a new free way. They were promised houses in the nearby Kalula development and they agreed to accept relocation on the basis of this promise. However the houses promised to them were corruptly allocated. Transport MEC Bheki Cele then sought the forced removal of the Siyanda shack dwellers to the nearby Richmond Farm transit camp. Residents were offered no guarantees about conditions in the transit camp, about the duration of their stay there or where, if anywhere, they would be sent next. They were also subject to ongoing and armed intimidation by the state.

Transit camps often look like concentration camps with razor wire fencing, spot lights, single entrances and 24 hour police guards. Residents are often highly controlled in these places as if they were in prisons. In most cases these camps are far from the cities where people live, work and school. People are taken there against their will with no guarantees about the conditions there, how long they will have to be kept there and where, if anywhere, they will be taken next.

Read the rest of this entry »