Category Archives: Ekurhuleni

Abahlali to launch a new branch in Ekurhuleni

Press Statement: 13 October 2016

Abahlali to launch a new branch in Ekurhuleni

Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA is expanding to a new province: Gauteng. This Saturday Abahalali baseMjondolo will be launching a new branch in Good Hope, Ekurhuleni in the Gauteng Province. The launch will be held on 15th October 2016 at 10:00 in the Good Hope Community Hall.

Abahlali baseMjondolo has been successfully expanding a living politics into other provinces. The movement has recently launched two branches in the Western Cape. The movement is also set to launch branches in the Bizane municipality, Eastern Cape. New branches have also recently been launched in Kwazulu Natal: Gonowakhe, Umshwati Municipality and Bhambayi, Durban. Continue reading

Police arrest Makause activists for wearing Marikana solidarity t-shirts

Note: The cellphones of the arrested comrades have also been confiscated as ‘evidence’

Police arrest Makause activists for wearing Marikana solidarity t-shirts

by Jayshree Pather

For the past month, the Makause Creative Youth Brigade (MCYB) and the Makause Community Development Forum (Macodefo) have been organising a march to the Primrose Police Station, to hand over a memorandum against the rampant police brutality experienced in Makause informal settlement. The planned march formed part of Makause campaigning on ‘One Makause, One Community Police Brutality Campaign’ under the Asihambi Land, Housing & Zero Evictions Campaign. The march was scheduled for Friday 19th October, however could not go ahead as planned due to the police’s refusal of permission at the last minute.

The organisers decided that a community meeting would be held instead at the convening point, the Makause Sports Ground, to discuss a way forward given the refusal of ‘permission’ of the march at such short notice. It was here that the police arrived in a number of vans, as well as a Casspir. During negotiations with the police it was decided that the organisers would go to the Primrose Police Station to discuss the situation with the police there. The police tried to get them to ride in the police vans, but the organisers refused and said they would ride in private cars. It was then that the police violently grabbed one of the organisers of the march, General Moyo, and threw him in the police van. They also threatened the peaceful crowd with guns and threw teargas.

General was arrested and taken to the police station. A number of people followed him there to see what was going on. In the police station a further two people were arrested for “intimidation”. The Station Commander later told Kate Tissington from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) and Advocate Michael Eastman, that the two MCYB members had intimidated her because of the fact that they were wearing “Remember the Slain in Marikana” and “Women demand justice for Marikana” T-shirts, and badges that said “Justice for Marikana”. The young woman arrested was made to take off her T-shirt and wait in the public police station in her bra, handcuffed. A staff member of the NGO Planact, Nicolette Pingo – who was trying to find out what was going on with the arrested comrades, was also then arrested.

All four were held in detention overnight at the Primrose police station, despite the efforts of SERI and Advocate Eastman to release them on bail. These efforts lasted till midnight, as no public prosecutor could be located to grant bail for the four. Macodefo and MCYB members stood vigil awaiting the release of those detained. On Saturday afternoon, after endless phone calls, a public prosecutor was eventually located and agreed to release all the detainees on R1000 bail each. He told the four accused that they should all have been released on Friday, and that there appeared to be no evidence for the charges against them.

On Monday morning the four were scheduled to appear at the Germiston Magistrate Court. After a three hour wait, the police eventually brought the case dockets from the police station, and the Senior Public Prosecutor agreed to drop Pingo’s charges. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he agreed that the state could further investigate the three cases against the Makause comrades. The case has been postponed till 19 November.

Daily Maverick: Shack flames highlight Makause’s deadly combo of lies and local politics

http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-10-18-shack-flames-highlight-makauses-deadly-combo-of-lies-and-local-politics

Shack flames highlight Makause’s deadly combo of lies and local politics

If you thought the road to Mangaung was paved with obfuscation and complexity, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Dig into a local municipality and you’ll find the politics there just as confounding. If not more so. By MANDY DE WAAL.

This is a story of three protagonists – all with divergent versions of what happened. First up is General Alfred Moyo, who is unemployed and lives in Makause, an informal settlement in Primrose, a suburb of Germiston on Gauteng’s East Rand. He’s an activist and, from what this journalist can see (admittedly after just two visits to Makause), he’s fairly highly regarded in the community because he helps people stand up to power and he fixes problems. Makause is a socialist and well-versed in issues of constitutional and land rights, which doesn’t make him popular with the authorities in the area.

Tania Lynette Campbell is the councillor for ward 21 (Primrose) which belongs (politically) to the DA. Campbell took the ward in both the 2006 and 2011 elections and, judging by the election results, it was a good race in an ANC-owned metro.

The other character in this drama is Aubrey Mokgosi, who’s the director of Human Settlements Property & Institutional Support in the Department: Human Settlements in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Council.

The story goes like this. On Saturday 13 October 2012, a woman allegedly commited suicide by taking petrol from a generator, pouring it over herself and setting herself alight after her man walked out on her. Makause is an incredibly dense informal settlement; the shacks are wedged well up against each other, and for the most part made of highly flammable materials. Within a short space of time, 18 shacks were consumed.

On Monday 15 October, after many of the 18 families slept out in the rain, Daily Maverick heard about the story from Moyo, the activist. One of the first calls was, of course, to Campbell, the ward councillor, to find out what was going on. Campbell was unaware of the fire in the informal settlement.

“I am surprised I haven’t been notified, because the community development worker has not contacted me. She normally phones me. I haven’t been notified whatsoever,” Campbell said.

“I will have to follow up, I don’t even have knowledge of that whatsoever,” she added.

The community development worker referred to by Campbell, Moyo alleges, doesn’t even live in Makause, but stays some 30km away near Vosloosrus. Community development workers, or CDWs, are an invention of the Mbeki era and, during his tenure as president, The Aloof One said these “multi-skilled community development workers’’ would be government’s direct link to communities. The idea was to “bring government nearer to people and to enable it to respond to community needs”, as expressed at the time.

Ekurhuleni’s Human Settlement man, Aubrey Mokgosi, heard of the incident late on Sunday night, and on Monday morning got the wheels of bureaucracy churning. He effected a survey of the site, and got a quote for disaster relief management from the local government’s official supplier, the Red Ants. When the official supplier was still not on site on Tuesday 16 October, after families had spent four nights out in the rain, he put in the official phone calls to give bureaucracy a little shove.

The Makause shack dwellers affected by the fire did, however, received one common or garden Pep Stores-type blanket per familial unit, and a fair-sized bag of mealie meal. Mokgosi got a quote for R93,879,00 from the Red Ants to supply building materials, reconstruct the shacks and to provide food parcels and blankets.

By Wednesday morning the hammers were hammering, but the materials being used to rebuild the shacks weren’t exactly new. The Red Ants, by Mokgosi’s own admission, are Ekurhuleni’s “official service provider appointed through council supply chain management policy. They both assist council to demolish, relocated (sic), construct shacks as well as to monitor land invasion as and when requested,” Mokgosi wrote in response to the Daily Maverick’s questions.

The next question Daily Maverick asked was whether it was true that “[i]n this instance the Red Ants demolished shacks in a nearby area, and used that material to rebuild the shacks in Makause.” Mokgosi’s response was a challenge to the Daily Maverick to prove the allegation, which was made by the local community.

He added: “Red Ants are allowed to reconstruct shacks with used material.”

Nonetheless, it is not difficult to raise ethical queries around a supplier that’s ruthlessly evicting people, knocking down shacks and carting off the building materials. Who then restores shacks or builds shacks, and can use “recycled” material. But then, Google the word Ekurhuleni and you’ll hit a number of links claiming ethics aren’t enshrined on the metro’s mantle.

Furthermore, members of the Red Ants where arrested for theft late last year during evictions in Germiston for-theft and were alleged to have attacked residents with crow bars.

But let’s get back to why Campbell, the ward councillor for Makause, was the last to know about the fire. Moyo’s story is that this is because she (together with the ANC-led metro) wants to evict people off Makause so that a mall can be built on the site.

“The last time Tania was in Makause was when she came to assert her working relationship with a mob group who endorse and support the relocation of the community. But this land can’t be developed because there’s a legal case,” says Moyo. “She is not even aware of the litigation, nor is she in possession of all the documents in this regard. She knows nothing. The ANC wants her to push for the evictions to go through, so people will see they are evicted by the DA, that it was her ward, the DA that evicted them.”

In her response, Campbell says: “Every month I hold a ward committee meeting, on which there are two representatives from Makauwse (sic). They regularly update me on this area of the ward and highlight any problems that residents in the informal settlement experience.”

Campbell says she visited the informal settlement in June, July and August. “There are also regular meetings with the Customer Care Centre Officials, myself and leaders of the community. Obviously I am kept abreast of any volatile situations that may arise by the EMPD (Ekurhuleni Metro police department) and Primrose SAPS.”

“On 17 April, before the State of the City address by the Mayor, the DA Caucus leader, Shelley Loe, and I visited residents in Makause so that Loe could tell the Mayor exactly what residents in the worst affected informal settlements wanted to see happen in their community this year. These concerns were related in detail in Loe’s speech to the Mayor later that month,” Campbell says.

The DA ward councillor says Moyo is “a leader who was banished” from Makause. Moyo says that Campbell’s view has been tainted by the ANC and the police, both of whom don’t look very kindly on him because he’s non-partisan and won’t support either party.

“We are a non-political structure, but the DA has turned against us. The ANC has turned against us. It is because we refused to partner or be inspired by them. We refused to work with either,” explains Moyo, who is part of the Makause Community Development Forum (MDF) which is the organisation opposing the eviction of people at the informal settlement.

“The ANC says [the] MDF is working with the DA. But the DA says the MDF is working for the ANC. But both the ANC and DA are supporting the evictions of our community. These allegations are being used to divide and confuse the community,” he says, adding: “We are resisting so we are being labelled, and they want us to be overthrown and not to be supported by the community.”

Campbell and Mokgosi respond individually to these allegations of in-fighting between the DA and ANC, but the answer’s remarkably similar. They both claim that there’s no such thing as political in-fighting in Germiston.

Moyo has been threatened by the police, meanwhile, who have locked his community offices. The threat is that if he doesn’t desist from “running to the media” or making allegations of police brutality against the SAPS, Makause will be another Marikana. (Read DM’s story: Police to people of Makause: ‘March and there’ll be another Marikana’.)

Moyo and members of the community will be marching to the Germiston police station on Thursday 18 October at 12h00 after weeks of trying to get approval for this march. Meanwhile, Campbell is requisitioning reports from all and sundry to get to the bottom of why she wasn’t informed of the fire and why the emergency response from the municipality was so inadequate. Mokgosi’s waiting for Daily Maverick to prove community allegations against the Red Ants, and requisitioning a further quote from them because there was another fire.

And Moyo? Well, he’s sorting out the march, trying to get the media there so no one gets hurt. Mostly he’s phoning aid organisations to bring blankets, clothes and food to supplement the appalling municipal response, so that another lot of families won’t be left out in the rain and cold.

So, dear reader, you tell us who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys. Who’s telling the gospel and who’s telling lies. Whatever your answer, the reality is that in Makause politics, like greater South African affairs of state, the truth is exceedingly hard to find.

Makause community to march against police brutality in Primrose

PRESS RELEASE
17 October 2012

Makause community to march against police brutality in Primrose

The Makause Creative Youth Brigade (MCYB) and the Makause Community Development Forum (Macodefo) are organising a march on Friday, 19th October 2012 against police brutality at Primrose Police Station (near Germiston in Ekurhuleni). The march forms part of the ‘One Makause, One Community Police Brutality Campaign’ under the Asihambi Land, Housing & Zero Evictions Campaign.

Date: Friday, 19th October 2012
Time: 12h30 pm
Venue: People will congregate at the Makause Sports Ground at the Makause Informal Settlement in Primrose and proceed to the Primrose Police Station to hand over a Memorandum to the Primrose SAPS.

The Makause community is uniting for a better, safer and crime-free kasi and demands:

· an end to police brutality
· an end to forced bribery/corruption
· proper investigation of un-attended to cases of crime
· an end to police politics and support of mob groups
· arrest of the mob group that attacked the Macodefo leadership and destroyed the community office
· an urgent response to reported crimes.

This march to Primrose Police Station is to say:

* Enough is Enough!
* Never and Never Again!
* An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
* Makause Cannot Be Divided by the Police!
* We Have a Right to Survive/Life!
* We Have the Right to Organize, Gather, Assemble, Picket & Demonstrate!

For more information contact:

General Moyo: 073 430 7006 / generalmoyo@gmail.com
Michael Dzai: 083 5023863

Daily Maverick: Police to people of Makause: ‘March and there’ll be another Marikana’

http://dailymaverick.co.za/article/2012-10-05-police-to-people-of-makause-march-and-therell-be-another-marikana

Police to people of Makause: ‘March and there’ll be another Marikana’

by Mandy de Waal

The road to Mangaung looks like a movie production these days, and every visible move is being played out in the national media. But far away from headline news, in places like Makause on the East Rand, the daily skirmishes for power unravel unseen. Here, community leaders say they’re being threatened by an ANC-aligned police force that’s trashing their right to gather, and make their voices heard. By MANDY DE WAAL.

“The SAPS in Primrose are not responding positively to the cases that have been forwarded to them for their attention,” says ‘General’ Alfred Moyo from the Makause informal settlement, located in Primrose in Germiston on the East Rand, where people want a better life. There’s no access to formal sanitation, no electricity, and access to water is fraught. To make matters worse, says Moyo, the police don’t react to residents’ complaints, and reported cases of crime (like theft, violence and mob justice) are just ignored by the police. Moyo is a leader of the Makause Community Development Forum, which wants to march to the SAPS station in Primrose to protest against police brutality and the police’s alleged refusal to investigate residents’ cases.

“The problem in Makause is that there is an unruly mob that is well-supported by the ANC and the police, but which doesn’t have the support of the community in Makause,” says Moyo, speaking to Daily Maverick on the phone from Primrose. Moyo says that this mob’s agenda is political and that it is trying to “delegitimise” the Makause Community Development Forum, which is working with people in the informal settlement to agitate for better services, and to ensure they are aware of their Constitutional rights.

“We have applied with the police and the Metro police for permission to march to the Primrose police station, but the police there just threaten us,” says Moyo, who adds that the leaders of the community forum have been negotiating with police management at the Primrose station and the municipal Metro police to gain the go-ahead for a legal march.

“We approached the SAPS and obtained a form from the Metro police. We filled in the form, filed it with the police and notified the office we intend marching to, which is the Primrose police station. This was done on Friday 19 September, and we were told to come back and see the station manager. We went back on Wednesday 26 September where we met with the station manager, head of visible policing and two other police officers,” Moyo says.

The Makause community leader says that during the meeting he was verbally attacked and threatened by the police, who asked him why he wanted to bring the force into ill repute. “The head of visible policing, Colonel Ratsing Shuburi, asked us why we were applying to march against the police. ‘What is wrong with you that you want to challenge the code of conduct of the SAPS?’ she asked us. We told her our memorandum would list all our grievances.”

“Shuburi warned me that if we went ahead with the march there would be ‘another Marikana’. She was referring directly to the events at Marikana where the police shot and killed all those protesting miners. She said that the police were ready for us and that if we marched, Makause would be turned into another Marikana. She said that if we went ahead we would be challenging the police to make another situation like they did in Marikana,” Moyo relays.

The community leader says the police were at the ‘container’ office of the Makause Community Development Forum on Thursday 04 October to interrogate organisers about the march. “The police were here to find out what we intend doing, and they said if the march goes ahead they will arrest me and they will personally come after me. I think they were here to show us that the police are ready to shoot us.”

Makause has been an informal settlement since 1992, and the population there has spread to some 12 or 13 thousand people. There was no ‘legal’ water supply until August 2008, when the local municipality installed two taps on the outskirts of the settlement. “We won’t wait for government to help us. We got water through our own initiative. We connected to the very same pipes that are running through our settlement. There are water pipes encroaching and we knew we had a Constitutional right to water. We can fundraise and organise for ourselves to get the basic services we need.”

Moyo says few houses have electricity, and these connections are mostly illegal. For the most part, people in Makause struggle with pricey generators, primus stoves and candles. “It is a massive challenge to struggle with paraffin and candles. There are challenges when the petrol price goes up and we have to pay more because we use generators. To get a proper connection of electricity and water – we don’t demand this from the government because we as the community want to develop ourselves.”

The Makause Community Development Forum is an informal, non-politically aligned structure set up around 2007 to deal with evictions and threats of forced removals against the community. “We were attacked by the ‘Red Ants’ and the police, but we created this informal structure to represent the community. We were challenging and fighting the evictions, but our direction has now extended to champion the improvement of services in terms of the development of the entire community. Now we stand for the provisions of essential and Constitutional rights for our community,” Moyo explains.

The community leader alleges that the ANC wants to gain control of the community because the land they are living on has been earmarked for development and there are lucrative contracts up for grabs.

“This ANC mob tried to break into my shack and destroy my shack in the middle of August, but I was away in Magaliesburg. My family phoned the police and they took the entire mob, to address them, but when we tried to make a case the police just gave us challenges. For days we tried and then eventually we got a case number, but there has been no response from the police. The secretary of our organisation was also apprehended and threatened by this mob, but the police have ignored us. That same mob went to our community office and destroyed it, and the police have done nothing,” says Moyo.

“It is a political matter,” he adds. “The ANC wants to de-legitimise us and replace our leadership in the community. That is why we are under threat. In May last year during the municipal elections the same thing happened, they were trying to overthrow us.” The ward that is represented by Makause is now under DA control, although Moyo is emphatic that neither he nor his organisation supports the DA.

“We represent development in Makause and don’t align ourselves with any political structure. We want to have one community structure and we want one community campaign. That is why we want this march. We want to show that we are one, we are united. And that when we are united we can build a better community.”

Daily Maverick phoned the Primrose police station for comment but the station manager wasn’t available, Shiburu was on leave and the communications officer was away on communications training.

As the broader battle for Mangaung continues, Makause is the perfect metaphor for the skirmishes for control at a grassroots level.