Cape town Freedom Song

31 08 2008
By Luke Zandstra (12 Years old)
Mowbray Cape Town

I was walking down the road,
When I saw a big  truck’
It was tearing down the houses and covering me with muck
I turned around a corner and saw them cutting down the trees
And then I saw some animals whose eyes were full of tears

They are tearing down the houses and cutting down the trees
Please look around I’m begging on my knees

Cape town was our city but it is no more
The wealthy ones have taken it and are sending out the poor
So give us back our city and the dignity of all

They are tearing down the houses and cutting down the trees
Please look around I’m begging on my knees

Cape town should be all of ours
And greed should be seized
Please look around I’m begging on my knee

AbM: Another Huge Fire Devastates Kennedy Rd

31 08 2008

Hundreds of shacks burnt down in the Kennedy Road settlement this morning. This is the 7th fire in the settlement this year.

Abahlali baseMjondolo condemns the eThekwini Municipality’s inhuman 2001 decision to stop electrifying shacks on the grounds that it is too expensive. There is a direct link between this decision and the fires as the fires are caused by candles and paraffin stoves.

Abahlali baseMjondolo condemns the eThekwini Municipality’s regular and violent police attacks on poor communities in which lifesaving community organised connections are removed at gun point. These attacks have often been quickly followed by fires as people are forced to revert to candles and parafin stoves.

Abahlali baseMjondolo affirms its support for all shack dwellers’ organisations fighting for electricity and for other measures to stop the plague of fires across the country.

Abahlali baseMjondolo invites everyone who believes that the poor should not be left to burn to attend the City Wide Shack Fire Summit called by the movement which will be held on Monday 22 September 2008. We need to built a united front against the fires and for the universal right to electricity.

Abahlali baseMjondolo will soon be issuing a full report on the electricity and fire crisis in Durban and invites all organisations to discuss this report in advance of the City Wide Shack Fire Summit.

Eradicate shack fires not shack dwellers!

Pray for us. Support us. Join us in the struggle to stop the plague of fires.

For comment on this morning’s fire please contact:

Mondli Mbiko: 0731936319
Lungi Mgube 0833305392

Media: Reconnect illegal power cables, Eskom hears

31 08 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Source: Cape Argus

Angry Khayelitsha residents have threatened to burn down ward councillors houses if they are not given electricity, after their illegal cables were cut.

The residents from the Island, an informal settlement in Site C, told the Cape Argus on Thursday that they would take action if their complaints were not heard by councillors and Mayor Helen Zille. Read the rest of this entry »

Press Alert: Joe Slovo Residents to overnight in Symphony Way, in solidarity with Delft Pavement Dwellers

28 08 2008

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign
Press Alert – For Immediate Release

Thursday, 28 July 2008

Joe Slovo Residents to overnight in Symphony Way, in solidarity with Delft Pavement Dwellers

Date: Saturday, 30 August 2008
Time: 16h00
Location: Symphony Way, Delft

Delft – Following their trip to Johannesburg and attendance at the SA Constitutional Court hearing last week, residents of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa, Cape Town will be visiting the evicted residents of the N2 Gateway Houses along Symphony Way in Delft this Saturday. In addition to sharing the lessons of their struggle against forced relocation to the city’s Temporary Relocation Areasin Delft, Joe Slovo residents will also spend the night in the shacks along Symphony Way as a demonstration of solidarity.

This effort to build greater solidarity between the struggles of Joe Slovo and Symphony Way comes out of suggestions made by residents of both communities during their 28-hour train ride to Johannesburg. It was during this long journey that residents of Joe Slovo expressed their gratitude for the support of Symphony Way residents at their past actions and court appearances, including the last week’s Concourt hearings. Nearly thirty residents of Symphony Way chose to mark the six month anniversary of their eviction from the N2 Gateway Project Homes in Delft by joining Joe Slovo residents in traveling to Johannesburg and staying at the Central Methodist Church.

In an effort to find out more about the plight of Delft evictees, nearly three dozen Joe Slovo residents volunteered to spend the night on the pavement in Symphony Way. Some even vowed to set up shacks alongside those in Symphony if forced to relocate against their will to TRAs in Delft.

Residents of Symphony Way have also committed to overnight in Joe Slovo in a weeks time.

During the course of this trip, residents of both communities saw for themselves that the lack of decent, affordable, public housing impacts the poor, regardless of what language they speak or their “racial group”. Moreover, the need to be an active participate, rather than simply a spectator, in housing programs like the N2 Gateway Project is true for all, whether you live in an informal settlement or someone’s backyard.

For more information:

Ashraf Cassiem 076 186 1408
Mzwanele Zulu  076 385 2369

Media: Building connections between the N2 Gateway and the Cornubia development

27 08 2008
Opinion: The social value of land must come first
August 27, 2008 Edition 1
Imraan Buccus

There has been considerable discussion after the announcement that the eThekwini Municipality is considering expropriating land from Tongaat-Hulett to finally move ahead with the long promised Cornubia development.

We all know that in Durban, as in cities around the country, the question of housing is the biggest source of conflict between poor people’s organisations and the state.

There have been thousands of protests since 2005, with many of them resulting in serious police violence. Read the rest of this entry »

AbM: Important victory against evictions in court while outside the City launches another criminal attack on shack dwellers

26 08 2008

Abahlali baseMjondolo has just won a major court victory against evictions. But outside the court the eThekwini Municipality is currently demolishing shacks in the Siyanda settlement. There is no court order and so, according to South African law, these demolitions are illegal and criminal acts. Media are urged to rush to the scene. Read the rest of this entry »

The APF supports the Joe Slovo Residents Constitutional Court appeal

25 08 2008
Thursday 21st August 2008


Today, members of the Anti Privatisation Forum (APF) joined hundreds of Joe Slovo and Inner-City Resource Centre residents at the Constitutional Court, where their appeal against High Court Judge Hlophe’s eviction order was heard. The imminent threat of mass eviction (and forcible removal to Delft) is a direct result of the top-down, anti-democratic manner in which the Ministry of Housing (and their principal agents, Thubelisha Homes) have pursued the provision/development of housing for poor communities in Cape Town, with specific reference to the N2 Gateway Housing Project. The continued failure – both in Cape Town and across the country – of government and their designated ‘development’ agents to fulfil their long-repeated promises of affordable, quality formal housing for those living in ‘informal settlements’ is at the root of the Joe Slovo crisis, as it is for millions of others. Read the rest of this entry »

AbM: Why are Shack Dwellers Excluded from the Discussions About the Cornubia Development?

25 08 2008
Sunday, 24 August 2008
Abahlali baseMjondolo eThekwini Press Release

Nothing for Us, Without Us!

There has been much discussion about the Cornubia housing development in the press. The City and the political parties have had their say. Tongaat-Hulett, the company that owns the land, have had their say. The technical experts have had their say. Shack dwellers’ organisations have not had their say. We who live with the rats in the mud and the fires have not had our say. We who were publicly promised houses in this development in November 2005 have not had our say. We who have been beaten and arrested while defending our right to speak for ourselves, defending our communities from eviction, and defending our right to decent housing in the city have not had our say.

When ever we have asked the eThekwini Municipality to fulfil the promise to house the poor they have told us that they want to build houses but that land, not money, is the problem. They have always told us that there is nothing that they can do because there is no land left in the city. But everyone can see that there is lots of land. The real problem is not that there is no land. The real problem is that the land is privately owned and that most of the land is owned by one big company – Tongaat-Hulett.

The Freedom Charter said that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. The Freedom Charter said that the land should be shared. These were clear goals of the peoples’ struggles against apartheid. We are still committed to these goals.

It is clear that building democratic cities where everyone has a proper space and real hope for a better life will require the end of the private ownership over huge lands. Some of our members believe that God made the land as a gift for everyone and that is a sin for one company to own so much land. We all agree that there can be no justice in this city, no safety and no hope for a better life for the poor while one company owns so much land. Everybody in the city needs to be matured and to face this reality.

The Kennedy Road Development Committee (KRDC) first demanded the expropriation of Tongaat-Hulett land to house the poor on 13 May 2005 when the KRDC organised a mass march to bury Councillor Yakoob Baig. After Abahlali baseMjondolo was formed on 6 October 2005 this demand was placed at the centre of our struggle. We made this demand because Tongaat-Hulett is the largest land owner in Durban. We also made this demand because it was never right for Tongaat-Hulett to own that land and because many generations suffered on their plantations. We also made this demand because Tongaat-Hulett has continued to separate the rich from the poor after apartheid by building a separate gated world for the rich on the old sugar cane fields. In 1994 that land should have gone for housing for the poor. That would have been real democracy.

The Cornubia development was first announced in November 2005. That was just before the 2006 local government elections and just after the world’s media reported that the eThekwini Municipality had illegally banned our march on Obed Mlaba from the Foreman Road settlement and then sent in the police to shoot at us when we marched in defiance of the ban. The Mayor clearly stated that the announcement was due to pressure from Abahlali baseMjondolo. He said in the New York Times that we were being used by agitators and that we would not still be here in 2007. We are still here. We are still agitated by the conditions that we live in. Now that the 2009 elections are coming Cornubia is back on the agenda.

The debate goes on but it excludes us. Who are the ‘stakeholders’ in the discussions about Cornubia? Just the landowner, the government and the technical people! Where do the poor fit? We find that if we talk about history we are seen to be launching an offensive. We are not supposed to talk about history but we have to reclaim what is our own, what has come out of our efforts. This announcement is the fruit of our struggle and the struggles of all the communities across South Africa that have been rejecting forced removals to rural human dumping grounds since 2005. Read the rest of this entry »

List of Mainstream News on Joe Slovo Constitution Court Ruling

25 08 2008

Below is a list of recent articles about the Joe Slovo Constitutional Court case.

Concourt’s initiatial comments about the case:

News on journey and protest at the Constitutional Court in Joburg:

Media: Concourt lashes Hlophe’s squatter ruling

25 08 2008

The Constitutional Court’s battle with Cape Judge President John Hlophe did nothing to dampen the justices’ criticism of his landmark eviction order against 20 000 Western Cape squatters.

Justice Kate O’Regan on Thursday expressed disquiet over Judge Hlophe’s controversial order that the residents of the Joe Slovo informal settlement be moved to make way for government’s pilot N2 Gateway Housing Project, pointing out that it made no mention of where they would be moved to.

“It’s one of the things that really bothers me … I couldn’t imagine an order for eviction that didn’t set out where and how the respondents would be accommodated,” she said.

She added that Judge Hlophe’s order gave no sense of the process the state would follow in relocating the informal settlement dwellers, many of whom took trains from Cape Town to attend Thursday’s hearing.

The comments came just one day after the hearing of Judge Hlophe’s acrimonious legal wrangle with South Africa’s highest court, in which he sought to have their public accusations that he attempted to lobby two of them for pro-Jacob Zuma rulings declared unconstitutional.

O’Regan and her fellow justices on Thursday repeatedly urged lawyers for the government, its housing agency and the squatters to work together to compile a draft order, replacing that given by Judge Hlophe and detailing how government would move the squatters “fairly and openly”, within the next week.

Counsel for Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Michael Donen SC, responded positively to the court’s proposal of a negotiated settlement order.

Justice Zac Yacoob said such a settlement order should place obligations on the state to say where exactly the squatters would be moved to and what conditions they would stay under. Read the rest of this entry »


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