Category Archives: Nathan Adams

More press reports on the Mitchell’s Plain land occupation

Solidarity with the Taflesig land occupation has been expressed by Abahlali baseMjondolo (Western Cape), The Anti-Eviction Campaign, Zilleraine Heights, Newfields Village AEC and the Mandela Park Backyarders. For comment from Tafelsig phone Mastura on 0718917564.

There is a picture gallery of the occupation and the police response here.

Police withdraw from invaded CT land
Rafiq Wagiet | 18 May

Cape Town police withdrew from the Swartklip Sports Field in Mitchell’s Plain on Wednesday after forcing illegal dwellers off the vacant municipal land.

The city secured a court interdict on Tuesday allowing it to evict the land invaders.

Wednesday’s stand-off was rather short and subdued compared to the violent clashes seen at the weekend when police were met with the barrage of rocks and in turn fired rubber bullets at the illegal occupants.

A representative of the Mitchell’s Plain Backyarders’ Association kept the crowd calm.

The association said it would attempt to secure a meeting with city officials about the illegal occupation.

In the meantime, the city’s anti-land invasion unit dismantled some of the structures and removed them from the land.

(Edited by Lindiwe Mlandu)

Residents to boycott elections over houses
17 May 2011 | Moses Mackay

HUNDREDS of people living in back-yards in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town, said they would not vote in tomorrow’ elections and accused police of brutality.

The large group occupied a piece of vacant land in Tafelsig on Saturday and built about 2500 shacks, saying they had been on the waiting list for many years.

But police opened fire on them with rubber bullets and sprayed the crowd – which included pregnant women and pensioners – with tear-gas.

“We have been on the waiting list for between 16 and 30 years,” an elderly woman said.

A man sustained serious injury when he was shot in the eye. Resident Ismail Abrahams was also injured and admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital. Twelve other people were arrested.

Yesterday, people were busy re-building their shacks after an incident on Saturday.

Police, accompanied by several ambulances, gathered near the area. Sympathetic residents from Khayelitsha and ZilleRaine Heights, about 20kilometres away, came to give their support.

Back-yard dweller Faizel Lee, whose family and four others were staying in a big tent, said they would not vote in the local government elections tomorrow.

“Both the DA and the ANC have failed to address our housing crisis. We have decided not to vote,” he said.

Lee, a father of three, said the ANC and DA had visited on Saturday and gave them food, which only showed that they were trying to buy their votes.

Terence Hoskins said he was also beaten by police armed with batons and that he had suffered injuries to his body.

Hoskins said they had been told by city officials that though there was land, there was no money to build houses.

Mastera Collop of the NGO Women of Action in Tafelsig, said people were tired of false promises and had decided to build their houses in the area.

“Residents will fight for their rights until the bitter end,” Collop said.

She said that they were not happy about the situation and have threatened to disrupt tomorrow’s elections.

ANC mayoral candidate Tony Ehrenreich was set to visit the area today to persuade the group to vote ANC. The withdrawal of hundreds of voters in Mitchells Plain would be a blow to the DA as this area is one of their strongholds.

City of Cape Town spokesperson Rulleska Singh said 18 people had been injured but defended the police’s shooting of pregnant women.

“Yesterday some of the occupants on the land were using women and children as human shields.

“Law enforcement officers were also attacked with bricks and stones, necessitating the use of a water cannon and rubber bullets” Singh said.

She said the city had plans to build houses on that land and would not allow land invasions.

‘Land grab not political’

May 17 2011 at 12:02pm


Staff Reporter

ONE OF the leaders of a group which has illegally occupied city-owned land in Tafelsig insists that the move is “not a political stunt”.

Yesterday marked a second day of violent clashes between members of the Mitchells Plain Backyarders Association and city law enforcement officials after members of the association moved on to the Swartklip Sports Field, which is owned by the city.

The group started erecting structures and tents on the field and on Sunday the city’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit moved in to begin dismantling these.

The land invaders flung rocks and bottles to keep officers at bay, and law enforcement officers and the metro police fired rubber bullets and water

Protesters scramble out of the way of a city law enforcement vehicle, flinging rocks as they go, during a second day of clashes at the Swartklip Sports Field.

There were similar scenes at the field yesterday.

City spokesman Pieter Cronje told the Cape Argus just before 9am today that approximately 80 new structures had been built overnight.

“The police and city staff are on the way to the scene,” he reported.

He said they had heard claims that the actions had been politically motivated – this from various sources, through various channels, as they negotiated a solution to the issue.

But he stressed that the city was not alleging this and that these allegations remained unproven.

Mayor Dan Plato’s spokeswoman, Rulleska Singh, said the mayor had received “allegations of political motivation from members of the community and has requested that it be investigated”.

But Sulaiman Stellenboom, the co-ordinator of the Mitchells Plain People’s Forum, which is supporting the Backyarders Association, said the organisations had been fighting with the city about housing and other issues since March.

“I disagree with (allegations of) it being an election stunt because we have had several meetings and it’s because they can’t face the community. It’s not a political thing,” Stellenboom said yesterday.

“What’s happening is that the sports field is becoming a dumping site, so they might as well give us that land for housing,” he said.

Stellenboom also serves as a member of the Mitchells Plain Community for Social Change, which caters for residents of various disadvantaged communities across the city.

He said they had marched to the local municipality in early March, when a memorandum was handed to the city with their grievances.

Several meetings had then been called with Plato, he said.

The mayor’s office confirmed that a memorandum had been received from the Mitchells Plain People’s Forum, not in their individual capacity, but as part of a larger alliance, and that a response to the memorandum was given.

The city said yesterday that portions of the land in Kapteinsklip and Swartklip which were invaded had been earmarked for formal housing and that the invasion and illegal structures could delay formal housing in the area.

Cronje said the city was considering development options in the Swartklip area that could include housing and sport.

The city also plans to erect formal houses in the Kapteinsklip but, he added, the project would take time as roads, water, electricity and sanitation had to be put in first.

“The city hopes that the occupation can be resolved and that planning for 1 200 housing units there can go ahead and that the essential bulk services can be installed,” he said.

The city said in a statement that if people continued to attempt to occupy the land and erect illegal structures, it would consider approaching the Western Cape High Court for an eviction order to evict them and to break the structures down.

“It will also ask the court to grant an interdict to stop any further structures and unlawful occupation.”

Mitchell’s Plain land invaders stand firm
Nathan Adams | Yesterday

Backyard dwellers illegally camping on an open field in Mitchell’s Plain on Monday vowed they would not move.

Organisers of the land invasion were arrested this past weekend following clashes with police.

Hundreds of families have built shacks on council-owned land in Mitchell’s Village claiming they have waited years for a home of their own.

There is little else for the backyard dwellers to do but mill around fires and stay warm.

One man said they are not squatters and they are entitled to land.

“They thought this was going to be a squatter camp that everybody will just come here. I told them it’s people who are on the waiting list. They’ve been waiting for houses for 30 years,” he said.

Lanai Titus said she moved because the promise of her own home is better than her current circumstances.

“I will take them there to go and see where we live. We also live there without electricity and without water,” she said.

The city’s anti-land invasion unit is planning to break down the illegal structures.

(Edited by Lindiwe Mlandu)

Mitchells Plain residents threaten boycott
May 16, 2011 11:25 PM | By PHILANI NOMBEMBE

Mitchells Plain, home to more than a million people, is considered to hold the swing vote in city.

The residents, who have dubbed themselves the Mitchells Plain Backyarders Association, moved on to portions of land in the Kapteinsklip and Swartklip and built shacks.

Yesterday, Terence Hosking, who claimed to be the spokesman for the group, urged them not to vote. He said group would put up more than 12000 people on the land.

“If they remove us from here no one is going to vote. One month ago [mayor Dan] Plato said the municipality has got land for 3000 houses but has no money to develop them. People have been waiting for houses for 30 years. We are going to put 12900 people from all over Mitchells Plain on this land,” said Hosking.

City authorities and police destroyed hundreds of shacks on Sunday, resulting in a clashes in which 18 people were injured. City officials claimed that the residents used women and children as shields when attacking police with bricks and stones.

Before lunchtime yesterday, smoke from burning tyres filled the sky, while some families and small children sat among pieces of metal sheets and wood on the vacant land, hoping to rebuild their shacks.

“We are explaining to them that it is their land now, 48 hours has passed. They [government] must give us services if they want votes,” said Hosking. Residents had already named the place New Horison.

But city spokesman Pieter Cronje said the land had been earmarked for formal housing and the invasion and “illegal structures” would delay development.

Eye Witness News: ’Blockade on Baden Powell was just the beginning’

’Blockade on Baden Powell was just the beginning’

Some Khayelitsha residents who live next to Baden Powell Drive off the N2 were hesitant to talk to Eyewitness News about service delivery protests on the area.

The residents looked on as police water cannon hosed down the road after the civic group Abahlali baseMjondolo rallied community members to burn tyres and rubbish and block off the roads on Friday morning.

A woman said frustrated residents often vented their anger this way.

The group who organised the demonstration said this was the start of a series of protests.

Their aim was to highlight the lack of service delivery in townships.

(Edited by Lisa Bartlett)

Eye Witness News: Baden Powell Drive reopened after protest action

Baden Powell Drive reopened after protest action

Nathan Adams

The Western Cape Traffic Department on Friday morning said Baden Powell Drive has been reopened after the protest action in Khayelitsha.

Civic group Abahlali baseMjondolo confirmed it was behind the blockade, which saw a group of people burning tyres and rubbish between Lansdowne and Mew Way.

Motorists were advised to avoid Baden Powell Drive until the road was cleared.

Abahlali baseMjondolo said the protest was part of a month long campaign against a lack of services.

Spokesperson Mzonke Poni said they initially planned protest action for the last week of October but that communities said they could no longer wait.

Protestors block major exit on N1 outside Cape Town

A major exit off the N1 outside Cape Town had to be closed off early Friday morning because of protestors burning tyres and rubble in the road.

Traffic authorities closed Baden Powell drive between Lansdowne and Mew Way and advised motorists to avoid using the road until further notice.

Civic group Abahlali baseMjondolo has confirmed it was behind the protest action in Khayelitsha.

The poor people’s alliance’s spokesperson Mzonke Poni said they had warned that if their service delivery demands were not met by the beginning of October, they would declare a month of protests in informal settlements.

“We are making now another call to all communities that are affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo, and all those that are not affiliated, to go out and take to the streets and protest for the whole month of October,” he added.

By 7am the only remnants of the protest was the burnt rubble they left behind but the road remained cordoned off as officials cleared it.

Police have not arrested anyone, saying the perpetrators made a quick getaway.

Metro police have stepped up patrols in the area.
(Edited by Lisa Bartlett)