Launch of the AbM Branch in QQ Section Khayalitsha

Pictures by Helen McGreggor

Update: Click here to read an article on the launch in the Sowetan and here to read an article in City Vision.

Abahlali baseMjondolo: a home for all
QQ Section Press Statement and AGM Invitation
For Immediate Release – 2nd July, 2008

Event: QQ Section Annual General Meeting
Date: 5 July, 2008
Time: 12h00-16h00
Venue: QQ Section Community Crèche
RSVP and directions: 073-256-2036

At 12h00 on Saturday, 5th of July, 2008, the abahlali of QQ Section in Khayelitsha will hold an Annual General Meeting to approve the launch of Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape. The event will be held at the new QQ Community Crèche that was built and funded by abahlali.

QQ Section residents have been living under appalling conditions for more than 20 years. Even the advent of our so-called democracy has been meaningless to abahlali (residents) of QQ. For us, all the rights to basic services, land, and safety which are stipulated in our country s constitution, signify a democracy on paper but not in our everyday lives. In QQ Section, we are 620 families who have no access to electricity, no toilets except a nearby field, no sanitation system, and only 8 water taps to share between over 3,000 abahlali.

But because we have been ignored for too long, QQ Section will soon vote to officially join Abahlali baseMjondolo (the South African Shackdwellers Movement). The purpose of joining AbM, a movement that began in the Durban jondolos, is to ensure that all the rights of people living in informal settlements are being recognised, respected, and listened to by those in positions of authority (the government, NGOs, and the private sector). In short, AbM exists to ensure that no one but ourselves speak for ourselves and no one but ourselves govern ourselves.

An additional aim of this shackdweller s movement is to build relationships between informal settlements and to explore alternatives to the current developmental approach to government. We will appose the forced removals of our communities and top-down housing policies of government officials.

Abahlali baseMjondolo, which has been working with QQ Section for four years now, was originally launched in 2004 from Kennedy Road in Durban, has now become one of the leading social movements in the country. AbM is not a political party and does not have any working relationship or affiliation with any political party or vanguard organisation.

For this landmark event, representatives from Abahlali baseMjondolo will be coming all the way from Durban to support residents. Other social movements such as AbM s alliance partner, the Anti-Eviction Campaign, will be attending and bringing the support of their respective communities.

The Mayor Helen Zille has been invited to attend along with the local ward councillor and housing MEC Richard Dyantyi. Their authority to speak for the poor will be challenged by abahlali. Also, all government officials who attend will be handed memorandums about the issues affecting our community. Dan Plato, Mayoral Committee Member for Housing has been asked to engage on the following issues raised by abahlali:

1. Relocation of QQ Section residents
2. Time-lines regarding housing issues
3. Declaring QQ Section as in-situ upgradeable
4. The city s immediate intervention plans for this years winter floods

In addition to government officials, a number of NGOs, academics and well-wishers will be invited to attend, listen to and learn from abahlali. They will not be permitted to speak; the AGM is a space for the community to speak and teach. In the next few months, QQ Section is planning on building more crèches, youth centres and toilets to improve the lives of residents. For this purpose, the community requests that each individual whose attendance is accepted, make a donation to the community as well as bring along one of their favourite books to help us with our new community library.

For further details, directions and donation instructions, please contact Mzonke Poni, QQ Section Community Committee Chairperson @ 073-256-2036

For more information on QQ Section, click here.

For more, please visit the website of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign at: