Sowetan: ‘Tin Town’ residents now threaten to boycott elections | Abahlali baseMjondolo
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Sowetan: ‘Tin Town’ residents now threaten to boycott elections

2011 Local Government ElectionsAnna MajavuBlikkiesdorpNo Land! No House! No Vote!

‘Tin Town’ residents now threaten to boycott elections

‘Tin Town’ residents now threaten to boycott elections
18-Apr-2011 | Anna Majavu

RESIDENTS of Cape Town’s ‘Tin Town’ transit camp say they will not vote in the May 18 local government elections unless they get houses first.

More than 5000 people live in one-room tin shacks in a part of Delft, better known by its nickname of Blikkiesdorp, about 20km from the city centre.

At least 3000 are estimated to be of voting age and their votes will be pivotal in deciding who wins the Delft ward currently held by the DA’s Cynthia Claasen.

DA leader Helen Zille personally accompanied Claasen on the campaign trail during the last elections.

Despite being moves there on the understanding that they would soon get houses, some Blikkiesdorp residents have been there for more than five years.

ANC mayoral candidate Tony Ehrenreich said yesterday it was sad that the DA had left the residents in a “temporary” relocation area.

“I understand their frustration and urge them to vote. I promise them that if they vote ANC I will, as a matter of urgency, ensure that Blikkiesdorp residents are put on the fast track to get houses of their own,” Ehrenreich said.

But Blikkiesdorp informal committee spokesperson Willy Heyn said: “We have made a clear stand of , “No land, no house, no vote” for any political party in the coming municipal election.

“When we were forcibly removed from our stable homes, mayor Dan Plato promised that it would only take the government three months before they move residents of Blikkiesdorp to proper housing,” Heyn said.

Matilda Groepe, spokesperson for the Symphony Way anti-eviction campaign in the area, said four families share one outside toilet with a tap connected to the plastic basin.

“This causes serious health risks, especially for women, children, and the disabled. For upliftment in the community we requested a container from Plato to house a skills development centre, but once again our plea fell on deaf ears.

“The 2010 educational pass rate in Blikkiesdorp was 59 percent; without proper homes to study in, our children can’t learn,” she said.

Blikkiesdorp shot to prominence before the Soccer World Cup last year, with one British newspaper dubbing it “the World Cup’s shameful secret – the hungry and homeless “dumped” in a makeshift tin city where football fans will not see them”.

The city has repeatedly denied allegations that conditions are sub-standard in the camp, pointing out that homeless people often present themselves at Blikkiesdorp, begging to be allocated a shack there.