Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release on Behalf of Mandela Park Backyarders 15h00 on 20 Semptember, 2009
23 Mandela Park Backyarders Arrested
23 Mandela Park Backyard Community Members have been arrested and are currently being held in a waiting cell in the Harare Police Station in Khayelitsha on wrongful assumptions by the police. Protests have occurred based on the false promise of housing by Minister Madikizele.
Community members were very upset with the report from the embassy of housing Madikizele who promised them 23 housing units in Mandela Park, Khayelitsha. At a meeting on the 16th of September, the department of housing minister, Madikizele, retracted his previous promise. He manipulated the community by claiming they misunderstood the previous promise to houses. When the community members went back to give the report to the community, the community got upset and said that no one should benefit from houses if they are not going to be democratically allocated and if the minister is going to lie. The community proceeded in protest and the houses were vandalised starting yesterday, September 19th. The community members tried to explain to the police what was happening and no one was injured during the process.
This morning, September 20th, residents of Khayelitsha were attending a gathering organised by Helen Zille in Mandela Park near the court. Zille was in attendance to address the KDF (Khayelitsha Development Forum). The same housing protestors from yesterday came to the hall to speak to Zille and draw her attention to what happened in Mandela Park. She ignored this and claimed she does not know what is happening in Mandela Park. Zille then vanished and never spoke to the people about their concerns after they invited her to see what was happening. Some people retaliated and protested against another house.
A separate group of Backyarder community members (those now being held at the Harare Police Station) were having a meeting to plan about delegates who would go to the radio station to report on the lies being told by the housing minister. The meeting was supposed to be at a church, but it was occupied. At this point in time the backyarders organised in an open field. Police proceeded to the open field and arrested the members claiming that some people saw them attacking the houses. These community members were not the ones vandalizing houses and were arrested on false assumptions made by the police. They cooperated with the police and got into the vans and now they are in the waiting cell. Currently the community members who are in the waiting cell at Harare Station are in need of legal advice as they were wrongfully arrested. At the moment the police are treating them okay. Protestors are currently outside of the police station protesting for the rights of the backyard community members. The police are claiming that the community must speak to housing minister Madikizele directly.
Backyard Community Members are asking for any legal advice to help them with the current situation. The housing minister has lied and they are only protesting for proper rights to housing.
Contact Loyiso before his telephone is confiscated:
083 270 2000 or 073 766 2078
If you cannot get Loyiso Ashraf Cassiem and Mnce Twalo from the Western Cape Anti-Eviction can be contacted on 076 186 1408 and 076 186 1408. Mzonke Poni from Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape is also on the scene and can be contacted on 073 246 2036.