Cape Town: Joe Slovo Task Team activist arrested in the night

(For background information and pictures click here).

Wednesday 12 September 2007

for comment please call Mr Mapasa from the Joe Slovo Task Team on 083 7371711

JOE SLOVO, CAPE TOWN – The situation in the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Cape Town, next to the N2 highway, is still very bad. Dozens of police have occupied the settlement since Monday. Residents are afraid to leave their houses because of police harassment and because they are afraid of being arrested.

Last night at about 6pm, Mzwanele Zulu from the Joe Slovo Task Team (who was the media contact from the area on Monday) went to the police station to inform police that the community wanted to have a general meeting inside the settlement to discuss the way forward. The police agreed not to harass or attack or shoot at the general meeting in any way. However, just minutes later at Mzwanele was walking home, police swooped on him and arrested him.

This morning, activists from Joe Slovo Task Team went to Bishop Lavis Magistrates Court but were told that Mzwanele is being held and will only appear tommorow.

From the circumstances of the past few days, it is quite clear that Mzwanele’s arrest is unlawful and that he has been arrested merely for being an activist and the media spokesperson.

The Langa police (tel: 021 6958044) say that Mzwanele has been charged with public violence but that they did not arrest him, other police did. The community has heard that there was an instruction from the Provincial Commissioner to arrest Mzwanele. This is ludicrous because on Monday, the police insisted on speaking to a negotiator from N2 Task Team and Mzwanele was that negotiator. So it is clear that the arrest is unlawful.

The Task Team has also noted the Ministry of Housing lies about the imminent forced removal of the 6000 Joe Slovo residents to Delft. The Minister of Housing keeps saying that this move will be temporary. This is a bald-faced lie. Joe Slovo residents are going to be left in Delft for the rest of their lives. There are no plans to accommodate them in the new housing that is getting built in Joe Slovo. Only 1000 people maximum can be accomodated in the new Joe Slovo houses, which leaves 5000 unaccounted for. Besides, the government has refused to build RDP houses for the residents. They are instead building bond houses which will only be sold to those who can afford to pay R150 000 to R250 000 for a house – this excludes 100% of the current Joe Slovo residents who are either unemployed or in badly paid jobs like domestic work.

The Task Team appeals to the media to attend court tomorrow morning.

for comment please call Mr Mapasa from the Joe Slovo Task Team on 083 7371711