Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Thursday 16 July, 2009
More than ten Cape Flats informal settlements hardest hit by last week’s floods did not receive any emergency assistance at all from the City of Cape Town or the Provincial Government. This include Tambo Square, Barcelona, New Rest and Gxa Gxa Square in the Gugulethu area. In addition to this, the city continues to ignore the plight of vulnerable backyard dwellers whose homes have been flooded.
Many AEC communities as well as communities other poor settlements are now in dire straights as a result of recent floods. In Khayelitsha, spurred on by massive floods in their communities, many Abahlali baseMjondolo settlements have closed down Landsdowne Road in protest against the government’s refusal to provide the poor with land or housing.
But still, the City and Province continues to play favourites only supporting some settlements while ignoring others. Disaster management only shows up at high-profile communities or communities that do not protest against the local DA or ANC councillors. This party politics is destroying Cape Town.
And yet, while the Anti-Eviction Campaign and other poor people condemn the selective support given to flooded communities, we also strongly condemn the government for their short-sightedness. The floods happen every single year and the government does absolutely nothing to prevent them from happening. They would rather give blankets and soup to distressed families because its good for publicity.
But these floods are easy to prevent. The government could just build more adequate houses for the poor. An even easier and more sustainable approach would be to grant these poor communities some well-located open and serviced land where they can build their own houses (not TRAs like blikkiesdorp which are worse than informal settlements ). But the government would rather sell off its land to private developers than give it too the poor. So, ultimately, the crisis of flooding in the informal settlements is caused by government’s anti-poor policies. Its not the weather, its the unequal distribution of adequate land!
The Anti-Eviction Campaign condemns this short-sightedness! How come us poor people understand how to plan for sustainable cities whereas the government officials with all their degrees know nothing about pro-poor development?
For more information, contact AEC coordinator Mncedisi Twalo at 0785808646.
Also contact Mbulelo Zuba, AEC community leader from Barelona, at 0736747077
Fire in the flood, Cape Town, July 2009