February 19, 2009 Edition 1
Source: Cape Argus
Today almost 130 Delft families living on a pavement marked the first anniversary of their eviction from the N2 Gateway houses they occupied illegally.
The families, which include 200 children, woke for a 4am prayer meeting to mark the date of the eviction.
They were also due to hold a slide show depicting their evictions and life on the street before concluding with a mass meeting to discuss what to do next.
The Delft pavement dwellers were evicted from houses which Democratic Alliance councillor Frank Martin had told them to occupy, said resident Jane Robert.
She said the experience was traumatic, particularly for the children.
In a statement this week, the City’s multi-party disciplinary committee found councillor Martin “guilty of writing and distributing numerous letters, in terms of which he purported to authorise members of the ward he represented to occupy houses in Delft”.
He has been suspended from the council for a month without pay.
But yesterday the angry homeless families said Martin should be sacked because he had betrayed them and rendered them homeless.
“Frank should lose his job. It’s surprising that he still has it. We are deeply disappointed with corruption in government,” said Frances Arnolds.
The Cape Argus visited the community yesterday, where some families live in makeshift shelters.
Wind-blown sand batters the shelters and blankets the belongings of residents.
“Promises by the government come to zero when it concerns the poor. We should not vote for any political party,” said Robert.
She said she was worried about how the families would survive the looming winter rain and cold. “It’s hard to live here. Last winter it was terrible,” she said.
Mathilde Groepe, 55, said: “When we occupied the houses, Frank promised to take political responsibility (for) the whole thing.
“But he damned and denied us in the high court. It is agonising,” said Groepe, breaking into tears.
She said she had been on the housing list for 13 years but three years go discovered that her name had been deleted from the database. Read the rest of this entry »