Open Letter to Lindiwe Sisulu

To Lindiwe Sisulu
Minister of Housing,

30 September 2007

Dear Ms Sisulu,

Outrage at the ANC Government’s Housing Policies

We in Citizens Against Privatisation (CAP), Auckland, New Zealand, are appalled at the ongoing reactionary measures of your parliament, and especially your role against the housing of impoverished South African citizens.

Currently, we are aware of on-going struggles by ‘shack dwellers’ across the country – highlighted by this week¹s organised defensive actions in Sydenham, Durban (where two days ago police suppressed protest with water cannons, rubber bullets, stun grenades, baton charges and many arrests), Johannesburg (from the Protea South, Kliptown, Thembelihle, and Thembisa settlements), and particularly in the Joe Slovo ‘informal settlement in Langa, Cape Town.

We express our strongest outrage at this state of affairs where (aside of a vague proposal that 1000 ³may² be able to return at some indefinite time in the future) the 6000 Joe Slovo residents have been threatened with imminent forced eviction to remote Delft – a virtual desert, with no jobs and scant public services, where a viable community cannot be adequately sustained. Over the past three weeks your government has resorted to breaking up legitimate and peaceful protests by injuring dozens of people with rubber bullets, around the clock police occupation of the settlement a day later, unlawful arrests of activists like Mzwanele Zulu and Mncedi Diko, and other forms of brutality and intimidation of citizens in Joe Slovo.

For years now, international attention has focussed on the unprincipled performance of the ANC government in the post-apartheid era. Unlike some others, Citizens Against Privation don¹t see the elevation of the African National Congress to government, and subsequent machinations, as at all ironic. Here is another typical example of craven, slavish politicians serving the ruling class toward their contemporary economic and political ends.

Your neo-liberal GEAR programme, and plans to clear away “slums” – Joe Slovo settlement, etc – for Capetown to be a ‘world-class city’ to host the 2010 world soccer cup are just some blatant examples of your cowardly authority. And, in lacking the strength to resist succumbing to corporate dominance, it is a natural corollary for your government to wield any ‘strength’ it possesses against precisely those same working class citizens who were most harshly affected by apartheid.

Our organisation stands against free market privatisation and all other forms of anti-social rule, and includes members who for decades struggled against apartheid alongside many, many thousands of others, and in so doing felt the baton blows and arrests by the New Zealand state.

Be advised – historic international solidarity will be repeated and your ignoble government will again be isolated and ultimately defeated by the struggles of the South African people and their allies across the world.

Jim Gladwin
International Liaison
Citizens Against Privatisation (CAP)
New Zealand

Media: Meredydd Barrar 64 9 836 6389
Rose Hollins 64 9 828 0238

Copied to: South African Embassy for Australia and New Zealand
Canberra, Australia –

Mr Anthony Le Clerk Kgwadu Mongalo
High Commission for the Republic of Sth Africa
Canberra, Australia,

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