30 May 2009 14:06,
The Church supported Abahlali baseMjondolo lawyer rushed to Macassar Village to explain to the police that:
1. Any demolition of a shack without an order of the court is a criminal offence that carries a penalty of a fine or two years in jail.
2. Any demolition of a shack in the Macassar Village Ocupation is in violation of the court interdict obtained yesterday and is therefore in contempt of court.
However despite being shown the interedict and, again, having it and the law explained to them the police said that they don’t take instructions from lawyers and that they only take instructions from their superiors. They went ahead and demolished all the structures, including two that were fully rebuilt. This was, once again, a blatantly criminal action on the part of the police.
The police are being quite open about the fact that they will follow the orders of their political masters and not the law or the courts. The Cape Town City Council appears to remain determined to continue to ignore the rule of law when the law offers some protection to the poor. It seems that they are determined to continue to, instead, implement the arbitrary and violent rule of the rich through the barrel of the guns wielded by the police and the Anti-Land Invasions Unit.
In 2006 the Tshwane Municipality demolished shacks in Moreleta Park in Pretoria in violation of a court interdict preventing any demolition with out an order of the court. The court responded by ordering (1) the arrest of the Minister of Safety and Security and (2) that the police must themselves rebuild the shacks that they had demolished. For more information on this case look at chapter two of the 2008 Centre on Housing Rights & Evictions report on housing rights in Durban: Business As Usual?: Housing Rights and ‘Slum Eradication’ in Durban, South Africa.
We will see what Monday brings. In the meantime the Macassar Village Occupation continues without shelter out in the cold and in the rain.
For more information please contact Mzonke Poni at 073 256 62036