Hundreds protested yesterday in Mandela Park

Anti-Eviction Press Release
On behalf of Mandela Park
Thursday 12 November 2009

Hundreds protested yesterday in Mandela Park after assault by Chippa security guards. Demonstrations to continue…

Click here for some photos of last night’s mass protest.

Yesterday morning, two Mandela Park residents were assaulted by four Chippa security guards at the instruction of the local SANCO chairperson. The two residents along with 7 witnesses went to the police station to lay a charge against the guards. As retribution, the local SANCO chairperson laid a counter charge of intimidation against one of the residents who he ordered to be assaulted – backyarder Khaya Xintolo. Khaya was then arrested and kept in police custody for more than 11 hours even though the detective himself admitted that there was no case against Khaya.

Khaya was reluctantly allowed to leave after fellow backyarders demanded his immediate release. He will appear in Khayelitsha Magistrates Court at 9am this morning. Mandela Park residents will be present in numbers to support Khaya and to testify against the SANCO chairperson and the Chippa security guards.

Yesterday evening, more than 300 residents took to the street. We staged a strictly peaceful protest (but some residents warn that the patience of the community is running out). We roamed through most of Mandela Park for many hours singing and toyi-toying.

The protest was in part a response to the continued violence and intimidation against community activists by police, security guards and the SANCO affiliated leadership. But the protest was also to demonstrate our grievances and to let the government know that they must not ignore the residents of Mandela Park. There is still a serious housing crisis here in Mandela Park.

MEC Bonginkosi Madikizela has lied to us over and over. Yesterday he gave houses to people from Gugulethu but ignored promises made to our own community. Yesterday, our protest was to let Madikizela know that our patience is running thin and that he better start addressing our Constitutional right to housing. Mandela Park is a ticking time bomb and the MEC is making it tick even faster each time he lies to and misleads residents.

For more information, contact:

Sluja at 071 433 1101
Nosipho at 073 587 8980
Loyiso at 073 766 2078