Martin should be fired, say families evicted from houses (1st and 2nd Editions)

20 02 2009

February 19, 2009 Edition 1
Francis Hweshe
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.
National Director-General of Housing Itumeleng Kotsoane said the Department of Housing would “pursue legal processes” against Martin.

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Note: the ANC, of course, uses this as an opportunity to play politics while continuing to break its promises to the Symphony Way community.

ANC to lay charges against DA councillor over Delft invasion

February 19, 2009 Edition 2
Andisiwe Makinana and Francis Hweshe
Source: Cape Argus

City of Cape Town and DA councillor Frank Martin should be re-arrested, and prosecutors should pursue his case properly, the ANC in the Western Cape has urged.

The party said it planned to lay criminal charges against Martin for encouraging people to illegally occupy 1 700 houses in Delft in December 2007, “inciting crude race hate in the process”.

The national Housing Department was also due to lay criminal charges with the police this morning.

Earlier this week, the city’s multiparty disciplinary committee found Martin guilty, ruling that he was “not acting at all times in the best interests of the municipality, and in such a way that the credibility and integrity of the municipality has been compromised”.

The committee recommended that Martin be suspended, without pay, for a month.

Martin was found guilty of writing and distributing numerous letters in which he purported to authorise residents of his ward to occupy houses in Delft.

The ANC said the one-month suspension was “a slap on the wrist”.

“The sentence handed down by the city’s disciplinary committee is cynical and horrendously inappropriate,” said ANC chairman Mcebisi Skwatsha.

The party called on the Human Rights Commission to investigate Martin for inciting racial hatred, and called on the city to dismiss him and the DA to expel him from the party.

Housing MEC Whitey Jacobs said the cost of the invasion, which included repairs to the occupied houses, legal fees and the cost of relocating the people involved to another area of Delft, amounted to more than R112 million.

The finding against Martin co-incides with the first anniversary of the eviction of illegal residents from the N2 Gateway houses they occupied. Almost 130 families have been living on a pavement ever since.

The families, including 200 children, woke for a 4am prayer meeting today to mark the date of their eviction.

They were also due to hold a slide show of their evictions and life on the street.

The homeless families also called for Martin to be sacked, saying he had betrayed them and rendered them homeless.

“We are deeply disappointed with corruption in the government,” said resident Frances Arnolds.

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