Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
21 January, 2009
Gugulethu – Mr. Gquma, a poor resident, gets evicted and threatened by ANCYL to make way for a local businessman’s new tourist empire.
Robin Hood is an archetypal figure in English folklore where he is known for robbing the rich to give to the poor and fighting against injustice and tyranny. Here in Gugulethu, there is also a Robin Hood and he even fights for a redistribution of wealth.
This man is named Mzoli Ngcawuzele and his band of thieves are the local ANCYL and former MK members. He is the owner of the (im)famous Mzoli’s Butchery – playground of tourists, MPs and the township elite. But he has not stopped there, through a local ANC councillor, he has organised the sale of 34,000 sq meters of community land for only R11.70 to Khula Business and now has a 9% share in the resulting new mall being developed. But despite the millions he is already making through his corrupt business practices, Mzoli is set on acquiring even more property in the township.
According to local residents, he is attempting to secretly and unjustly buy over 20 houses in Gugulethu, the majority of them being on NY1 (the main road which the City has now earmarked as a 2010 tourist hub). As one local resident puts its, “Mzoli is using his fortune as a platform to evict the poor from Gugulethu” – which is exactly what happened today.
Early this morning, Robert Thamie “Baba” Ntshobane, the former body guard of Tony Yengeni, arrived with various members of the local ANCYL, the sheriff and the Gugulethu SAPS to violently and illegally evict local resident Mncedi Wiseman Gquma from his home. As with other properties on NY1, Mzoli is using ANC connections such as “Baba” to strong-arm his way into ownership of the homes.
The reason this eviction was illegal is that (like most attempted evictions in Gugs) it was done without a valid court order. The court order that was used is over a year old and was done without proof that Baba even owned the house. But, it seems that even the Wynberg Magistrates and the Sheriffs of the Court doe not even know their own laws: Section 8 of the PIE Act makes evictions without a valid court order a criminal offense. Additionally, as the law states, one has to give the resident a letter stating that you want them to leave. This must happen before you go to the court to get an eviction order. You have to give at least two weeks notice before going to court, and the notice must say on what date the court hearing will take place and where it will take place. You also have to give a copy of this notice to the local authority. None of these actions took place and the court order was clearly old and invalid as it was dated February 2008.
Gquma, who bought the house for 68,000 Rand has been paying of his 20 year bond for 14 years now. When he was illegally retrenched from SAB, he began to default on payments. However, while he attempted to negotiate with FNB on the 24,000 he still owed, the bank refused. FNB, seeing it could make a substantial profit, turned around and sold the house for over 200,000 Rand. When you are poor, you have no rights and wealthy individuals, banks and Robin Hoods of the Rich can manipulate your situation at any time to make a profit.
As all of Mr Gquma’s belongings were thrown onto the street, Baba and his friends hurled insults at Gquma and other residents who were supporting him. According to Theodora Mboniswa, “Baba said that he is the ANC and he is going to call his people in the Youth League, Fikile Mbalula, and MKs and no one is going to touch the house or enter because he’s got a lot of people for backup”. Theodora is also facing illegal eviction from her house. The AEC put her back into her house on NY1 earlier last year.
Mr Gquma also claims he was threatened and said “they have got guns now. They are here to shoot to kill. He claims to be ANC top brass and he is calling youth league and MKs to guard the house.” But Gquma vows not to give up – mainly because he has no family in Gugulethu and nowhere else to go. Indeed, while he will be accommodated by a sympathetic neighbour, his furniture, clothes and everything else he owns will be left in front of his house. He’s afraid it might rain or thieves will come take everything he owns. Tomorrow, he’ll go and apply for a Spoliation Order to reverse his illegal eviction.
And so, the struggle continues. The struggle against party thugs and party politics Robin Hood of the Rich will continue to redistribute wealth upwards. But the poor people of Gugulethu, with the Anti-Eviction Campaign as their tool, will continue to confront this band of thieves head on.
For more info, please call Mncedisi at 078-580-8646
For comment, call Mncedi Wiseman Gquma at 076-338-9080