***Press Alert*** AEC Communities join residents of the Joe Slovo settlement at SA Constitutional Court 21 August
Threatened with mass eviction, the residents of the Joe Slovo settlement in Langa, Cape Town will be gathering outside of the South African Constitutional Court in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on 21 August at 9am. They are appealing the judgement of High Court Judge Hlophe that would forcibly remove them to Delft, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, to makeway for the completion of the N2 Gateway Housing Project.
As a national housing project, the N2 Gateway is supposed to provide the residents of informal settlements along the N2, some of the most visible informal settlements in Cape Town, with formal housing. Yet the project’s plans were developed with little community input and when they were announced, provoked strong reaction as they could not accomodate most of the 20,000 residents of Joe Slovo.
When the ministry of housing and their principal agent, Thubelisha Homes, were unwilling to change the project to accomodate all of the residents of Joe Slovo, residents responded by blocking the N2 highway in September 2007. In response, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu sought their removal from this strip of land at the south and east of the Langa township.
Residents challenged the eviction order in court, only to have High Court Judge Hlophe find them illegal occupants of land they have lived on since the early 1990s and determined that they had no reasonable expectation that most of them should be accomodated in the homes to be constructed.
To attend this court case, the residents of Joe Slovo have traveled by train with Delft backyarders who been living on the pavement on Symphony Way for the past six months, opposite the N2 Gateway houses they were evicted from after illegally occupying them in December 2007. They are also joined by the ratepayers of Joe Slovo phase 1 flats, who are currently on a rent boycott to call attention to their high rents and poorly constructed apartments. These communities are also joined by
The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign supports these communities impacted by South African government’s failed top-down planning process, epitomized in the N2 Gateway project. In support of the demands of the Joe Slovo residents to have quality and affordable houses built for them where they currently live, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and Abahlali baseMjondolo have also brought representatives from various communities, including Khayelitsha, Delft, Wes Bank, and Mitchell’s Plain. They are also supported by the Landless Peoples Movement.
Ashraf Cassiem, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign 076 186 1408
Mzwanele Zulu, Joe Slovo Task Team - 076 385 2369
Maureen Mnisi, Landless Peoples Movement – 082 337 4514