Category Archives: Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign

Transitory Citizens: Contentious Housing Practices in Contemporary South Africa

Kerry Chance, Social Analysis

This article examines the informal housing practices that the urban poor use to construct, transform, and access citizenship in contemporary South Africa. Following the election of Nelson Mandela in 1994, the provision of formalized housing for the urban poor has become a key metric for ‘non-racial’ political inclusion and the desegregation of apartheid cities. Yet, shack settlements—commemorated in liberation histories as apartheid-era battlegrounds—have been reclassified as ‘slums’, zones that are earmarked for clearance or development. Evictions from shack settlements to government emergency camps have been justified under the liberal logic of expanding housing rights tied to citizenship. I argue that the informal housing practices make visible the methods of managing ‘slum’ populations, as well as an emerging living politics in South African cities.

GroundUp: Bank drives woman to brink of homelessness

Bank drives woman to brink of homelessness

By Jared Sacks, GroundUp

Kutala Mtyali's sits on the couch of her house, perhaps for the last day, and tries to piece together the ongoing saga of her 26 year struggle to keep her home. Family members help her with names and dates. She is on the brink of homelessness.

While the details of this story are unique, evictions of the poor and lower middle class have become a national crisis – one that tends to favour what housing activists perceive to be the greedy and often-times illegal lending practices of South Africa's banks.

This story is not simple. Its spans more than three decades starting out in a tiny shack in Crossroads from which she was eventually forcibly removed. In 1987, she built her home in A Section, Khayelitsha, after receiving permission, by the City of Cape Town, to settle on the serviced site ERF 105. She received a letter giving her the rights through a 99 year lease, to live and build on the property. Today, a trespassing charge could, if a magistrate gets his way, result in her eviction once again.

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Cape Times: Gugulethu, traders to hold follow-up meeting

Gugulethu, traders to hold follow-up meeting

By Staff Writer

Gugulethu and Somali shopkeepers will hold a follow-up mass meeting on Wednesday to cement peace efforts following threats to renew the xenophobic violence of a year ago which displaced 20 000 refugees and migrants.

When some Gugulethu shop owners sent threatening letters to their Somali counterparts to get out of the township or be forced out, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign intervened to broker a peace deal, to be reviewed at Tuesday’s meeting at the Ikhwezi Community hall in NY74, Gugulethu.

“On July 1 local businesses and Somali shopkeepers began implementing preliminary aspects of the deal sought to ease tensions between the two groups. A joint committee with the support of the Anti-Eviction Campaign distributed copies of the deal to all shops in the area. Shopkeepers then began to move their shops at least 100 metres away from one another – the deadline for this action being the end of July,” said campaign spokesman Mncedisi Twalo

“While this agreement has so far been successful in easing tensions for the time-being, the root of xenophobia in the Western Cape is not the inability of local businesses to compete. Rather, it is the cutthroat competition and dehumanising nature of South Africa’s economy placing subsidised corporations at the centre of all government development plans.”

Twalo also rejected government efforts to help prevent a repeat of xenophobic violence.

“The local and provincial ministries of economics and tourism added proposals (to the deal) to provide skills training scholarships to a paltry 23 local businesspeople throughout the entire Western Cape. Gugulethu (shopkeepers) have rejected this proposal,” he said.

* This article was originally published on page 6 of The Cape Times on July 07, 2009

Cape Times

Cape Argus: Somali traders are welcome in Gugs, says community

This is a major break through by the AEC.

Somali traders are welcome in Gugs, says community

Somali traders are welcome in Gugs, says community

June 16, 2009 Edition 1

Francis Hweshe

TENSIONS between South African and Somalian shopkeepers in Guguletu have eased, at least temporarily.

Local traders apologised to their foreign counterparts after a letter purportedly written on behalf of a group calling itself the Gugulethu Business Forum called for Somali shopkeepers to pack up and and leave the area within seven days.

It is still not clear who was behind the letter, as locals for the most part refused to speak to the media at a meeting yesterday which was attended by Somali and South African traders, the police, the Anti-Eviction Campaign and the UN High Commissioner for Refu-gees’ Cape Town representative

However, police spokesman Captain Elliot Sinyangana said after the meeting: “They (local traders) have apologised. They said they were not going to do it again; they said they acted under a lot of pressure.”

One Guguletu resident, a South African, condemned the threat contained in the letter, calling it “a wrong and ill-informed decision”.

“The people of Guguletu are not against Somalis. It’s a small group of people doing it,” the man said.

One of his friends, a business owner, had earlier been ap-proached by that “small group” to join in the threats, but had refused, he said.

The letter, a copy of which the Cape Argus has seen, is signed: “Yours in the struggle.”

After yesterday’s meeting, held at the Guguletu Sports Complex, Sinyangana said a 10-member working committee consisting of five Somali traders and five South African traders had been established.

This committee was due to start working today and would be exploring ways in which the two groups could work to-gether.

The committee is expected to hold a feedback meeting on Thursday.

Mncedisi Twalo of the Anti-Eviction Campaign acted as a mediator at last night’s meeting.

“It was tough talk, but I’m happy with the outcome,” Twalo said.

Abdi Ahmed from the Somali Association of South Africa swaid: “We are very happy. We have been fighting for this for the past two weeks. We have problems as traders but there are solutions.

We just need to live together as brothers, side by side.”