Solidarity: AEC Press Update from Symphony Way, Delft

AEC Press Update from Symphony Way, Delft
March 9, 2008

Solidarity: The Delft Symphony Anti-Eviction Campaign – a community of over 3,000 evicted pavement dwellers living on Symphony Way – has pledge their support with the residents of Joe Slovo and hope that tomorrow’s ruling will be in their favor. A number of Symphony Way pavement dwellers have promised to join the thousands of residents of Joe Slovo at the High Court in Cape Town tomorrow (March 10) to hear Judge Hlophe’s ruling.

Survey and legal issues: Community leaders have spent the past week doing a survey of the pavement dwellers of Symphony Way. This gathering of information will be used to better serve residents and also in preparation for their next meeting with MEC Dyanti. The AEC legal team has prepared its appeal case to Bloemfontein and is ready to be lodged if no positive outcome is obtained through the meeting with the MEC.

Strength of the community: In general, the community is in good spirits. There is very little arguing and almost no instances of fighting as the community remains united in their quest for a house to call their own. Some pavement dwellers even say that they are enjoying ‘camping out’ except for the scorpions and the fact that the conditions are traumatic for their children and for the elderly in the community.

Government oppression continues: Still, the city and province have deepened their repressive tactics with regard to residents. The police continue to block residents from driving in and out of Symphony Way. Moreover, the government has now built a barbed wire fence preventing residents from walking to the Leiden section of Delft where they can by food, get clean water, and see friends and family. The settlement is looking more and more like a prison or refugee camp as they days go by. Moreover, community leaders are struggling to feed residents because food aid continues to be prevented from entering the settlement. We appeal to anyone concerned to help us make sure no one in the community goes hungry.

Housing mandate: Through numerous democratic community meetings, the AEC has been given a mandate to fight for houses for the entire community of pavement dwellers. We want to make clear that the community does not want government to provide them with tents, temporary shack structures, or open land – they simply expect government’s promises to be fulfilled: that each family has a house of their own. In light of this and with all due respect, the pavement dwellers of Symphony Way want to make clear that they do not accept the proposal being promoted by Bobby Hendricks regarding the building of low-cost metal frame structures using resident’s housing subsidies.

And so, the struggle continues. Amandla!

For comment, please call Ashraf Cassiem at 076-186-1408.

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign