Thousands of Gugulethu AEC supports converge on Social Services in protest against party politics

27 01 2009
Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign
Tuesday January 27, 2009

Tomorrow at 7am, thousands of Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign supporters will converge on the local Social Services office to confront officials about the so-called “Social Relief of Distress Grant” which is being politicised and made available only to certain ANC members via the local ward councillor.

The Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign will be handing over a list of thousands of poor residents whom we have spend hours registered. We are demanding that we too are included in the grant because (as poor people from Nyanga, Gugulethu and Manenberg) we qualify and deserve equal treatment as ANC supporters.

We expect Zola Skweyiya, Minister of Social Development, to respond to our demands for equal access to government grants regardless of political affiliation. This action will lead towards the launch of our No Land! No House! No Jobs! No Vote! Campaign which seeks to remove party politics from the delivery of services and convince residents to hold all politicians accountable to their communities.

For comment, please call Mncedisi at 078 580 8646 and Speelman at 073 9825 725





Gugs AEC meet with Housing MEC

27 01 2009
Gugulethu AEC Press Statement
Tuesday January 27, 2009

At noon earlier today, the Gugulethu AEC traveled in numbers to the offices of the Provincial Housing Department in town to meet with the MEC for Housing.

In our last public meeting with MEC for Housing, Mr Whitey Jacobs told our community that, for the past 15 years, there has been “no provincial housing plan for backyard dwellers in Cape Town”. After consulting with the communities of Gugulethu, Langa and Nyanga, Jacobs promised to meet our demands and come up with a strategic plan for backyarders in our communities that took our own views into account. As media from the Argus, Times, the Sun, the Daily Voice and the Sowetan witnessed, he further promised that if he did not come up with a plan that satisfied residents within 2 months, he would resign from office.

At the report-back meeting today, the Jacobs promised to come to the Gugulethu Sports Complex on Sunday the 15th of February at 14h00 for the AEC’s weekly mass meeting.

  • He also claimed that his department was taking management of the N2 Gateway Project and allocation of houses over from Thubelisha Homes because of mismanagement. This contradicts what his office told Delft-Symphony AEC last week.

  • He promised that Gugulethu backyard dwellers will be accommodated in the N2 Gateway as well as in projects in Khayelitsha.

  • The MEC futher stated that the land backyarders have attempted to occupy in Gugulethu (ELF# RR448 on Lansdowne Road) is owned by the City and is slated to be developed into housing for the backyard dwellers.

  • Finally, he had previously promised to come up with a plan to house backyard dwellers in Mowbray, Muizenberg and Constantia and promised to provide more details of the plan on 15 of February.

We look forward to participating in ironing out these plans with the MEC at our mass meeting. As backyard dwellers, we hope that this is not just another promise that politicians make just before elections. If he is unable to fulfill these promises, we expect him to honorably resign from his position.

For more information, contact Mncedisi at 078 580 8646 and Speelman at 073 9825 725





Police Brutality: Delft’s many Rastafarians take to the streets and rally at Delft Police Station

27 01 2009
AEC Solidarity Statement
Tuesday January 27, 2009

** Note: This is not an AEC march.  We are supporting demands of residents and assisting in helping get the word out about their issues **

Delft’s many Rastafarians took to the streets earlier today and rallied at Delft Police Station.

The issue at hand is the many instances of police brutality and abuse Rastas suffer because of their way of life. The most common abuse is when police single them out and searching them so that they can find them in possession of Dagga (Marijuana) and extract a bribe from them. Read the rest of this entry »





‘Public violence’ charges against Delft AEC member and two others get thrown out of court

27 01 2009
Delft AEC Press Statement
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Today, Delft AEC member,Riedwaan Davids, and two other individuals accused of public violence during the violent mass evictions on the 19th of February, 2008, had their case thrown out of court.

For the past 11 months, Riedwaan Davids has had to worry about the pending case in which police accused him of throwing rocks at the Sheriff of the Court. Riedwaan was arrested immediately after police, without warning, opened fire on residents. They arrested him when they found him hiding inside an N2 Gateway house with other residents and members of the media. Despite the charges, everyone present in Section 2 that day knows (and can testify) that not a single stone was thrown before the police shot over 20 residents and three children.

As part of their defense, Riedwaan had planned testimony from an children’s NGO worker who took this video footage. The footage (video 1), shows Riedwaan (in a white t-shirt and blue hat) attempting to calm down angry residents about 10 seconds before the police opened fire.

While relieved that the case was thrown out, Riedwaan was upset that the case was postponed four times without any reason. Anti-Eviction Campaign members were also disappointed that they did not get a chance to show the clear aggression of police in this matter (video 2).

The Anti-Eviction Campaign sees the constant arrest of its members (with the matter either never making it to court or getting thrown out of court) as a violation of people’s rights. It is an intimidation tactic that police officers use punish activists all over South Africa and make residents scared to protest in the future.

The AEC welcomes Riedwaan Davids back and hopes he will continue to fight with others in the community for land and housing!.

For comment, contact Aunty Jane at 0784031302





Solidarity: The Slums Act Judgment in the Durban Hight Court Today

27 01 2009
ABAHLALI BASEMJONDOLO MOVEMENT
MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Durban High Court, 27 January 2009

Case no. 1874/08 Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA.

Abahlali baseMjondolo have been to the Durban High Court this morning to hear the judgment being handed dawn by the KwaZulu-Natal President, Judge Vuka Shabalala. On the 6 November 2008 the Movement had applied to the Durban High Court for the KwaZulu- Natal Elimination and Prevention of Re-Emergence of Slums Act 2007 to be declared unconstitutional. Full details of the Act, and the reasons for our opposition to it, and can be found on the Movement’s website at http://abahlali.org/node/1629/

The Judge President had decided that the judgment would be handed down today at 9:30 am; however the judge did not come himself and sent another judge to give his judgment. Read the rest of this entry »





Solidarity: Police condemned for firing rubber bullets

27 01 2009

http://www.sowetan.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=926543

Louise McAuliffe
27 January 2009
Source: Sowetan

Bishop Paul Verryn of the Central Methodist Mission, voiced his deep disappointment at police action of firing rubber bullets into a peaceful protest which resulted in the hospitalisation of seven people.

Members of ‘Save Zimbabwe Now’ initiative had gathered in Pretoria to hand over three documents to the SADC leaders.

Talking about the police action Verryn said: “I realize that formal permission was not achieved and that was certainly not for want of trying.”

“If we are truly going to take into account the full spectrum of what faces Zimbabwe at this time – (then) it is critical that we are serious about hearing all the voices.”

Verryn spoke of the huge amount of manipulation and betrayal over the last twenty years. He stressed that if we are to be serious about a sustainable future for Zimbabwe and South Africa, then it is critical that allowances be made to hear the voices that are normally considered irrelevant.

“I don’t believe that the protest yesterday was about a small voice. It was really the voice of the heart of the matter and so for police to open up fire, with rubber bullets, ultimately that an elderly gentleman ended up in hospital, and that people were harassed in the way that they were yesterday, speaks a serious warning to our democracy.”

“It is a loud voice of intolerance because the people who were protesting are not irresponsible. The people who were protesting were not illegitimate. If one looks at the process of SADC in the light of what happened to innocent people yesterday then I am deeply deeply alarmed.”

Verryn expressed his deep disappointment at the activities and actions of the police against vulnerable people. He said: “Was there absolutely no way in which they could have been approached, in which there could have been reason, in which a door could have been opened, in which the memorandum could have been read, in which the opinion could have been heard, in which peoples voice could have been respected – was it absolutely impossible to do this in any other way except to open fire with rubber bullets.”

Talking about the Save Zimbabwe Now initiative Verryn said: “The fast is a non violent protest against the abuse of humanity right across the board.” He added: “We must begin to start solving our problems in ways other than using the barrel of a gun or a knife or violence. Surely the 21st century cannot be introduced with this paradigm of resolving problems.”

“Until we have consensual agreement – not instruction from SADC – can we imagine that we have begun the process (of saving Zimbabwe).”








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