Academia: Spatial Dynamics, Contested Development, and Competing Rights in Cape Town, South Africa

7 07 2011

PDF DOWNLOAD: Spatial Dynamics, Contested Development, and Competing Rights in Cape Town, South Africa

by Duncan Ranslem, June 2011

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Arts (Geography)

Chapter 1

The right to housing needs to be dissociated from the right to property and returned to the right to inhabit.
-Don Mitchell, The Right to the City

Adopted in 1996 after the fall of the apartheid state, the South African constitution enshrines the rights of all people in South Africa. Enumerated among these rights is a right to property and a right to housing.2 The former represents the claims to ownership and private property that are familiar in U.S. law and Western tradition: the rights to possess property, and through this possession, to use it as one sees fit, to accrue any benefits that are derived from it, and to be protected from its undue expropriation. The right to housing, on the other hand, recognizes the fundamental need for access to shelter and basic social connections. Under its provisions, every home is protected from demolition, and its inhabitants protected from eviction, except after a court has considered all the relevant circumstances. Moreover, South Africa’s municipal governments are responsible, within their available resources, to realize the right to adequate housing for all. Juxtaposed against one another, these rights represent claims that are often contradictory. The underlying contradiction, in many cases, is that a person’s home is not necessarily that person’s property. Such homes may exist, either as, or located on, property owned by the state or by a private entity. In such cases, where the lawful property owner is met with the unlawful appropriation of his property as someone else’s home, the right to that property and the right to housing come into conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

Amnesty International: South Africa Section of the 2011 Annual Report

17 05 2011

2011 Annual Report

South Africa

Incidents of torture and extrajudicial executions by police were reported. High levels of violence against women and girls continued, and there were indications of an increase in harmful practices affecting their rights. Serious incidents of violence against lesbian women, targeted for their sexuality, continued to be reported. There were some improvements in access to health services for people living with HIV, but poverty remained an important barrier especially in rural areas. Refugees and migrants continued to suffer discrimination and displacement in large-scale incidents of violence. There were further threats to the work of human rights defenders. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: ANC members want Right2Know investigated

16 02 2011

Note: Members of the Western Cape-Anti-Eviction Campaign attended yesterday’s protest in support of the Right2Know campaign

Ruling party takes offence at Cwele masks protest in committee
Parliament’s Secrecy Committee threatens Right2Know Protest

Mark Weinberg
15 February 2011

On Tuesday 15 February 2011, a delegation of Right2Know Campaign supporters attended a sitting of the Parliamentary Committee handling the Protection of Information Bill where the Minister of State Security was expected to make an appearance. As members of the opposition parties staged a walk-out of the sitting (alleging that the Committee did not have a Parliamentary mandate to sit), supporters of the Right2Know Campaign covered there their faces with masks depicting the Minister Cwele and held up placards reading: Cwele, Minister of Secrets!
Read the rest of this entry »

A self-written history of Mandela Park: Kwanele Enough Is Genoeg

15 02 2011

Kwanele Enough Is Genoeg # 10: Mandela Park (Makhaya) 14-02-2011

Written by the Mandela Park Backyarders Movement

The following is a self-written history by our movement.  After a lot of deliberation with our members, we came up with this document as a way of explaining how we have come to say Kwanele!  Please use this document in order to better understand our struggle…

Some History

It is now 17 years since the first democratic government came into power, with a constitution that promises many freedoms in its declarations: What have been at the forefront of most people dreams when the new ANC government came into power was the famous quote “There shall be houses, security & comfort”. It is now years since we first voted and there is little change to show for that, besides five year voting ritual.

The story in Mandela Park (Makhaya) started in the late 1990’s, when the government’s new neo-liberal policies enabled companies to retrench workers in the name of rightsizing and many government departments out-sourced their responsibilities to private companies. They literally handed over the future of millions of workers to the hands of greedy employers and labour brokers. They also built up a strong layer of a Black capitalist class through Black Economic Empowerment. Read the rest of this entry »

Master’s Thesis: Claiming the Right to the City

8 02 2011


Claiming the Right to the City
Contesting Forced Evictions of Squatters in Cape Town during the run-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup

* For the full PDF of the Thesis by Rosalie de Bruijn, click here *

University of Amsterdam
Name: Rosalie de Bruijn
Student number: 5722632
Date: September 30, 2010
First supervisor: Dr. V. D. Mamadouh
Second supervisor: Drs. D. Greshof


South Africa is after Brazil the most unequal society of the world. Despite the fact that many South Africans still life in shacks below poverty line, the South African government has spent billions of rand on hosting a world class event, namely the FIFA World Cup, which is only accessible to a small and rich segment of society. Read the rest of this entry »

Press Release: Livelihoods and Business Lost for Mitchells Plain Town Centre Traders

12 03 2010

The community of Mitchells Plain and the majority of Traders express disappointment at the local government in the way they have handled the allocation process in the Town Centre. According to the City they have followed procedure, but CHATA still objects to this claim as their grievances have not been listened or responded to.

The City claims CHATA has a membership of 15 people, when in reality CHATA’s membership is nearly 300 people each with a membership form completed in their own handwriting.

The situation in the Town Centre has not improved since the clearing of the lanes. Traders who have collected permits and are trading in city allocated spaces are extremely unhappy with the condition of the permits, the physical trading areas and they cannot sustain their livelihoods in the areas where they have been moved. Most Traders would agree that there has been a loss of business since the evictions on Monday, March 8, 2010.

The livelihoods of many people in Mitchells Plain were lost on Monday and the City must not continue to ignore the rights of the people.

For more information please call Mischka Cassiem at 0731286657 or Yasmeen at 0842875220

Experiences of Abahlali baseMjondolo and the Kennedy Road Settlement, Durban, South Africa

10 12 2009

for Development Planning Unit of University College London by Malavika Vartak

Click here to read an annotated version of this report in word.


South Africa’s apartheid past has had a deep and enduring impact on housing, more so in the case of poorer communities. Colonial and later the apartheid era laws including the infamous Group Areas Act of 1950 ensured that housing was strictly along racial lines and attempted to confine communities to race-based zones. Segregation laws and policies thus led to large-scale evictions in the urban areas pushing black African communities to poorly serviced townships on the peripheries of cities. Read the rest of this entry »

Research: Mitchells Plain Town Centre – Informal Economy Within a Capitalist System

22 09 2009

A UCT Masters Student Laura Huss has completed the an in-depth research report on the connection between the struggles of the Mitchells Plain Concerned Hawkers and Traders Association (CHATA) and South Africa’s economic system.

For more information on Mitchells Plain CHATA contact Mischka Cassiem 073 128 6657 & 074 525 7336

Contact the researcher, Laura Huss, at 0799 161 025 or

ABSTRACT: South Africa has become a player in the international system of capitalism that has enforced a core and periphery model of development. There are various ways to identify the structure of South Africa’s economy, but it cannot be ignored that there are informal and formal sectors that co-exist in creating jobs and income. The informal economy has been questioned all over the world for whom it benefits and fundamentally how it is even defined. This research will explore one area of Cape Town, South Africa: The Mitchells Plain Town Centre, which functions as an informal market for over 1000 traders and hawkers. This market has been subject to much objection by the City of Cape Town and has been under the threat of eviction for over 10 years. In order to understand informal trading in Mitchells Plain, I will question the fundamental structure of South Africa’s capitalist system. This research will attempt to understand the logic of capitalism on a broader scale in order to expose the contradictions for a society attempting to accept both informal economic practices and simultaneously appeal to the world system of capitalism. The analysis will then point to the fact that informal economies make up a large number of livelihoods within South Africa and cannot be ignored for keeping the social and economic system from collapsing.

Informal Economy Within a Capitalist System: A Focus on Mitchells Plain Town Centre in Cape Town, South Africa- Laura Huss

Auditor-General: Report on the Special Audit of the N2 Gateway Project at the National Department of Housing

3 09 2009

This damning audit report of the N2 Gateway housing project reveals costly and widespread deficiencies in the planning, accounting, design and execution of the government’s flagship low-cost housing development.


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