Solidarity: Recent Press on the Anti-Eviction Campaign

Die Burger 29/11/2007

Protesters stop traffic in centre of Cape Town

eldridge jason
HUNDREDS of protesters from informal settlements took to the streets of Cape Town yesterday to register their dissatisfaction with plans to remove them to other areas.
Residents of the Joe Slovo squatter camp especially, said they were angry at plans to move them to Delft.

Residents marched on the offices of the housing company, Thubelisa Homes, as well as the office of First National Bank bearing placards reading “Banks profits millions from forced removals” and “No privatisation of private land”.
The Cape High Court granted an eviction order to Thubelisa Homes, project manager of the N2 Gateway housing project in September this year.

During yesterday’s speech a representative of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, Ashraf Cassiem, told the crowd: “We refuse to be moved and we’re not going anywhere.
“The government wants to move us to Delft where the houses have already been promised to other people and where the asbestos houses pose dangers.”


In the memorandum, which was handed to a representative of Thubelisa Homes, Dimakotso Maruto, the residents of Joe Slovo squatter camp are demanding the following, among other things:

. That RDP houses be put up on the grounds of the present Joe Slovo squatter camp and
. Thubelisa Homes’s withdrawal of the eviction order as requested in the Cape High Court application.
Maruto’s reaction to this was that they would react to the group’s demands on December 1.

The protest marchers then also handed a memorandum to the risk manager of First National Bank (FNB), Johan Frey.
In this the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign demands, among other things, that FNB stop supporting the evictions.
Frey responded: “We will discuss all the demands in the memorandum and we will react to them within seven days.”
Slogans such as “No land, no house, no votes” and “Down with the ANC government”, echoed through the streets of Cape Town before marchers dispersed peacefully amid a heavy police presence.

Protest: Hundreds of residents of the Joe Slovo squatter camp and other informal settlements brought traffic in the Cape Town city centre to a standstill.Photos: PIETER SWANEPOEL

sign here: Dimakotso Maruto, centre, from Thubelisa Homes, signs receipt of the memorandum under the watchful eye of members of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign.
gatvol: ’n Protesganger gee uiting aan haar frustrasies.


Peoples Post 13 November 2007

Tender calls for mercenary squads

THE Anti-Eviction campaign strongly condemns the call for tenders by the City Council for contracts to demolish informal settlements (“City calls on bidders to demolish shacks”, People’s Post, 23 October). Apparently successful contractors have to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to perform evictions and demolitions of informal settlements.

Evictions, in the middle of the night, any day of the week, potentially even on Christmas day and other holidays, are set to become the norm.

This is worse than the Apartheid state. According to the tender meeting held on 24 October, squads must be a minimum size of 10 and contractors were warned to not “under-tender” – in other words, the City Council is set to spend millions on demolishing informal settlements instead of using these funds to build houses for the people.
Communities are still waiting for the City Council plan for 200 informal settlements to receive housing. Now it is clear that no such plan exists; rather what does face communities in informal settlements is the prospect of being thrown out onto the street. These mercenary squads are soon to operate across the entire Cape metropole.
Thus we can now see what the commitment of the DA and its alliance partners, the ID and others mean by a housing plan – they want to remove informal settlements and claim “progress”. There is a direct link between the threatened evictions and the further privatisation of housing provision by the banks. In other words, the City Council and all the parties represented therein are nothing else but the agents of the banks. Some of these parties sit on the boards of the banks while several of them receive donations from them.

Already from the 600 bond houses to be built at Joe Slovo, FNB will make over R100?million in clear profit at the expense of dumping thousands of people into starvation and homelessness at the ends of the city.

The Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) condemns the privatisation of public housing and land and calls on all communities to resist the evictions.

A simple solution to the existence of informal settlements is the provision of mass housing close to places of work! The setting up of mercenary demolition squads shows the hypocrisy of the idea of a “winning nation” – the only ones who are winning are the banks and big construction companies. The state spends billions on soccer stadiums but is not prepared to even match this amount on housing for the poor.

The AntiWar Coalition supports the call of the AEC and will be mobilising in support of resistance to evictions.


Peoples Post 4/12/2007

Gympie Street residents arrested after move

adri-ann peters

EVICTED Gympie Street residents remain positive that their next court appearance will bring with it the prospect of a new home for themselves and their families.

Six families were evicted from a privately owned block of flats in Gympie Street, Woodstock, in April 2006.
The owner of the building applied to the Cape High Court for an eviction order, which forced the families to live on the street for about six weeks until they moved back in June 2006, explained Willy Heyn, chairperson of the Gympie Street residents’ coordinating committee. The building is said to be earmarked by the owner for renovations in preparation for the 2010 World Cup.

When living conditions became unbearable with many residents suffering from physical illness, they decided to stand together and move back into the building. But Sergeant Hilton Malila, police spokesperson for the Woodstock Police Station, confirmed that six warrants of arrest had been issued to be executed on the morning of 29 November. Willy Heyn, Margaret Petersen, Lydia Portland, Marietta Monagee, Sarah Jones and Zubeida Brown were taken to the police station and then escorted to the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

They were charged for contravening the court order, but were later released with a warning coupled with instructions to appear on 30 January, when their lawyer, Advocate Zehir Omar, arrives from Gauteng.
Omar said residents who do not have a place to stay have protection under current legislation. “If residents do not have a place to go, they are permitted according to the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation Act to occupy that unoccupied building.

“They are not contravening the order, because they are living in a different address in the building,” he said.
Mzonke Poni from the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign agreed that the arrest executed by Woodstock police on Thursday was by no means a lawful one.

“This is not a criminal issue, it is a civil one and it should have been treated as such, according to civil procedures. The court should make their decision based on reports from both sides,” Poni said.

“The residents did not move back to the original flat units stipulated in the eviction order. Although it is the same building, it was not the same location, therefore proving the charge invalid. Poni said the group would help to resolve the matter through talks with the owner of the building.

The Gympie Street residents have also shown their support for Joe Slovo residents resisting forced removals.
Heyn continued that they would not give up. “We remain positive that things will work out for us. We want to stay in the building, but we’ll be willing to move to another suitable location,” he said.

People’s Post was unable to source comment from the owner of the building at the time of going to print. We undertake to publish this comment when it is forthcoming.