Police set up 2 illegal roadblocks in Delft to prevent relief from reaching the people

25 02 2008

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Alert
Monday 25th February 2008 at 2pm

** Media are called urgently to rush to the scene at Delft **

DELFT, CAPE TOWN – The police have set up two roadblocks on each side of Symphony Way, which is the Delft road being occupied by the 1600 people who were evicted from the occupied houses last week. The police are using the roadblocks to refuse media and relief trucks entrance to the area. Islamic Relief was turned away with a big cargo of food, blankets, tenting and nappies that is desperately needed by the people.

The police are telling the media and the relief trucks that the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) are the ones who refuse to let them inside. This is completely untrue, as the AEC has always been on good terms with the media and all of Cape Town’s charities and relief agencies and has in fact been visiting the relief agencies personally over the past week to call for aid for the Delft residents.

Currently Symphony Way is split into two sections, one affiliated to the AEC and one affiliated to DA Councillor Frank Martin. The majority of the people of Delft are extremely disillusioned with Councillor Frank Martin and have moved to the section of the road affiliated to AEC.

Frank Martin who simply incited people to occupy the houses on the racist basis that it would be unfair for those houses to be given to Black people from Joe Slovo. Thereafter he did nothing to support the people who faced an immediate eviction. He did not contribute in any way to the legal struggle and he has also continued with his racism about housing in SA only being given to “blacks” which is completely untrue and is not in any way what AEC believes.

Members of the AEC including Mzonke Poni, Mncedisi Twalo, Ashraf Cassiem and Pamela Beukes have lived with the people on the road since the eviction. They have done a lot of anti-racist work over the past months in an attempt to undo the damage caused by Councillor Martin’s racist propaganda.

It is clear to the AEC that the DA and ANC have exactly the same anti-poor economic policies. Both parties support evictions and forced removals across the country. The poor in Cape Town have continued to suffer whether the DA or ANC has been in power.

The AEC is against Frank Martin who toys with peoples lives by playing party politics. He is in the strategic planning committee of the DA. The AEC does not believe that the DA did not know what Frank Martin was going to do in Delft. Yet they had no actual plan to ensure that the people who occupied the Breaking New Ground houses got to stay in those houses.

The DA thought initially they could use the AEC to fight the ANC but became angered when we told them we fight for people not for parties, and that we are equally against the DA and the ANC. Thereafter the DA thought they could demonise us because they thought that there would be a huge clash at the eviction and they thought they could use this to label the AEC as violent. The DA was very upset that AEC and the people (because of the large numbers of babies, children and elderly involved) instead chose a sit in when the eviction took place.

It is worth noting that the majority of the people of Delft have decided to affiliate to the AEC and this section of Symphony Way has been cut off by the police. It is interesting that the other section is receiving relief from an NGO called PDI based in Paarden Eiland that is contracted to the DA City of Cape Town.

The AEC appeals for media not to be dissuaded by the police from visiting Symphony Way. The police are merely contravening your rights as a free press and are contravening your rights to freedom of movement.

Please call for comment:

Ashraf Cassiem – 076 1861408
Pamela Beukes – 079 3709614
Mzonke Poni – 073 2562036
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