Cape Times: Anti Eviction Campaign urges poor to boycott elections

Anti Eviction Campaign urges poor to boycott elections

January 05, 2009 Edition 1

Aziz Hartley

THE Anti Eviction Campaign is planning to launch a national campaign calling on voters to boycott the general elections because, it says, the government has failed the poor and politicians cannot be trusted.

Mncedisi Twalo, a leader of the organisation in Gugulethu, said the campaign slogan would be, “No land, no house, no jobs – no votes”.

“We have been preparing for months and talking to our alliance partners, Abhahali Base Mjondolo in KwaZulu-Natal and the Homeless People’s Movement in Gauteng.

“The campaign is going to all nine provinces. As the poor people of this country, we will not be voting for our further suffering, joblessness and homelessness.

“We are going out there to convince all poor communities that elections are all about power-mongering and promoting politicians.”

Twalo said the Anti Eviction Campaign was active in 46 communities across the Western Cape and represented thousands of homeless and disadvantaged families left in the lurch by politicians.

“Our main message to politicians is that we feel, as the poor, we have been left on our own. We will not participate in what is now a neo-colonialist state. We will keep pressuring whoever takes up public office.”

Jane Roberts, an Anti Eviction Campaign leader in Delft, said about 130 families evicted from incomplete houses they invaded in December 2007 were continuing to live in squalor on the pavement of Symphony Way.

She said nothing had come of numerous promises made by housing officials.

“We are going out across the Western Cape … to urge people not to vote. Politicians make promises and not a single political party can be trusted.

“Some people were told by politicians that an election boycott meant their votes would go to some other party and would be lost, but we are telling them that this is not so.”

Roberts said five Symphony Way families had been given formal homes, but the others had a bleak festive season.

Symphony Way resident Karima Linneveldt said three of the shacks burned down on Saturday morning, leaving four families homeless.

“We can’t continue like this,” she said.

“About 24 babies have been born here in tough conditions.”