WIVL statement on the recent judgements against housing activists in Cape Town

WIVL statement on the recent judgements against housing activists in Cape Town

The Workers International Vanguard League condemns the recent judgements against housing activists in Cape Town. The first was the sentencing of 2 activists of the Anti-Eviction Campaign in Delft (Jerome Daniels and Riedwaan Isaacs) to 12 month in jail for enforcing a community decision not to allow any threats or acts of violence by any community member against any other community member. Besides the fact that the activists had not been directly involved in ‘damaging of property’ (Mr Isaacs was not even there at the time), the court felt that they had to act against someone, namely the leaders. The court also wanted to make an example of the Anti-Eviction campaign ‘to teach them a lesson’. This shows that the role of the courts is to crush any self-activity of the working class as this brings the community to directly challenge the role of the state. The courts are shown as the agent of big capital who cannot tolerate self-activity of the working class as this means a direct threat to the profit-making system, capitalism. Once the masses start to exercise real control over their lives- where will it stop? – this is the main concern of the courts.

Secondly the high court judgement against the residents of Zilleraine. Not only does the court grant the DA-ID-led City Council an eviction order but they specifically call on the army to also be used if necessary to enforce the eviction. Further, the court bans the residents from setting up shacks in any part of the Cape Metropole- thus the residents are not only evicted from Grassy Park but from Cape Town (except for the dumping ground in Happy Valley where the City Council wants them to go). The court judgement is nothing else but a similar type of ‘Slums Clearance’ as trialled in KZN.

The question on both judgements could be asked: Why now? Big capital is going on the offensive, such as forcing more people into starvation through higher food and fuel prices. This means that the capitalist state apparatus is preparing to crush the resistance that must arise as a result of the masses rebelling against hunger and early death. Social control of the masses is what is behind these judgements. This is similar to the social control of forced removals as practised by the apartheid state.

We call for all working class communities, for the AEC, the ABM, the residents committee of Zilleraine heights, and all progressive organizations to work together to defend the masses from these increasing attacks by the state. No to victimization of housing activists and no to forced removals!

issued by WIVL 1st Floor Community House, 41 Salt River rd, Salt River, 7925, ph 0822020617 ph 0214476777 email wivl@sn.apc.org website www.workersinternational.org.za (7.07.08)