CALS statement against the use of Transit Camps (TRAs)

23 01 2009

AEC Note: The letter from Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), see below, concerns the proposed forced removal of Siyanda residents to Temporary Relocation Areas (TRAs).  Forced evictions to TRAs, aka Transit Camps, is a huge issue for communities all over South Africa.  Some of the communities opposing eviction to TRAs or who are protesting conditions within TRAs include:

  • Joe Slovo (Cape Town)
  • Symphony Way (Delft, Cape Town)
  • Other N2 Gateway communities (Cape Town)
  • Many shack settlements in Khayelitsha (Cape Town)
  • Hout Bay (Cape Town)
  • Happy Valley (Cape Town)
  • Siyanda (Durban)
  • Foreman Rd (Durban)
  • Jadhu Place (Durban)
  • Woodstock (Cape Town)
  • (Delft, Cape Town)
  • Symphony Way TRA (Delft, Cape Town), aka Blikkiesdorp

The AEC sees TRA’s as an apartheid era policy of controlling space.  Only this time residents are forcibly removed because they are poor and not necessarily because they are black.  All the political parties (especially the DA and ANC) support the creation and forced relocation of residents into TRAs.

Johannesburg, 23 January 2009


CALS condemns the current government policy of using transit camps as alternative accommodation for forcibly removed shackdwellers

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) is disturbed at a growing trend in South African cities in terms of which the state forcibly removes shackdwellers from large shacks on well-located land to ‘temporal housing’ in transit camps (also known as ‘temporary relocation areas’ or TRAs) on the urban periphery. Relocation to transit camps is most often done to make way for infrastructure and development projects which will not benefit those being removed. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Resistance to Housing Foreclosures Spread Across the Land

23 01 2009

By Barbara Ehrenreich, The Nation
Posted on January 23, 2009, Printed on January 23, 2009
Source: Alternet (USA)

“This is a crowd that won’t scatter,” James Steele wrote in the pages of The Nation some seventy-five years ago. Early one morning in July 1933, the police had evicted John Sparanga and his family from a home on Cleveland’s east side. Sparanga had lost his job and fallen behind on mortgage payments. The bank had foreclosed. A grassroots “home defense” organization, which had managed to forestall the eviction on three occasions, put out the call, and 10,000 people — mainly working-class immigrants from Southern and Central Europe — soon gathered, withstanding wave after wave of police tear gas, clubbings and bullets, “vowing not to leave until John Sparanga [was] back in his home.” Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Piketberg protest march

23 01 2009

The Right to Agrarian Reform for Food Sovereignty
21 January 2009 - For immediate release

School is out for Bentley Morobi: “Tomorrow is D-day for farm eviction in Piketberg but campaign is confident of success”

Schools in the province just started today, but tomorrow might be the last day of school for Bentley Morobi, the 11-year old son of Michael Morobi, the farmworker who face eviction charges in the Piketberg Magistrates Court.

Bentley, his 6-month old sibling, mother Susan and father Michael are to be evicted from the Pemona farm in Piketberg by farmer Rob Duncan under the ESTA law. To date, 2 million farm workers have been evicted under this legislation. And more farm workers face the same fate in the coming months. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Hopeful ‘pavement people’ meet officials

22 01 2009
Note: The full quote of Ashraf Cassiem was “They [the housing department] told us that they cannot help us. That we must set up a meeting with Thubelisha, the private company managing the N2 Gateway, because only they have control over housing allocation since there is no longer a waiting list.  This is what happens when the government privatises housing”
January 22, 2009 Edition 2
Natasha Prince
Source: Cape Argus

A group of people who have been living on a pavement in Delft for almost a year have met housing officials to try to convince them that they need houses urgently.

Many of the pavement dwellers of Symphony Way belong to the Anti-Eviction Campaign.

Lee-Ann Erasmus sat in front of the housing department in Wale street nursing her four-month-old baby for two hours yesterday while fellow members of the campaign met representatives from the housing department.

Her daughter Hope was “almost born on the pavement”, she said. Read the rest of this entry »

Evictions in Gugs: Party politics, 2010 and Robin Hood of the Rich

21 01 2009

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
For comment, call Mncedi Wiseman Gquma at

Contractors refuse to finish Newfields council houses

21 01 2009
Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
21 January, 2009

It is with great disappointment and sadness that the committee and community of Newfields Village have realised that after December holidays work has stopped once again on the Newfields council houses - a project which has been mired in corruption and mismanagement since the beginning.  The contractor (Jolinde Construction), the electricians, and the carpenters have all stopped work on the site even though renovations have not been completed.  Despite the 6 hour meeting with Cape Town Community Housing Company (CTCHC) last year (with the purposes of sorting out communication and transparency), the Community Liaison Officer (CLO) still has no idea why renovations have been halted and whether or not contracters have already drained all the funds.

The main contractor has also devidated from the original specifications as per the painting of the houses.  We have 112 units where the paint is already peeling since no primer were applied.

We, the residents of Newfields Village want to have full accountability and transparancy.  We are requesting qualified and honest individuals to work on this project.  The building inspector, Mr Withers Fisher, has failed dismally in his duties and we would like his formal qualifications because we don’t understand why CTCHC would hire someone so underqualified.  The Forman, Mr Deon Hill is acting as the Paint Forman even though he only has qualifications in safety and security.  We would like a qualified paint forman to work on this project.

The Newfields Community is sick and tired of corruption and mismanagement.  If the government gave us the money, we would have the renovations done by now at a fraction of the cost.  The government and CTCHC needs to be accountable to the people and we will hold them to account.For more information, contact Gary Hartzenberg (CLO) at

To enquire directly with CTCHC and with the contractors, contact:

Favid Birch (Jolinde Construction) -
Alex Honhaar (Jolinde Construction) -

Bradley Plaaties (BSP Engineering) -
Peter Claasen (BSP Engineering) -

Marenwaan Davids (MSA Construction) -
Jeff VD Westauren (Keev Construction) -

Sithembiso Stofile (CTCHC) -
Bheki Ngonyane (CTCHC) -

Z.B. (Aid to the MEC for Housing) -

Delft Anti-eviction campaign meets with MEC for housing

21 01 2009
By Cindy Witten
21 January 2009
Source: Bush Radio

This morning the Anti-eviction Campaign (AEC), together with the community of Symphony Way in Delft, made their way to Wale Street. There representatives met with MEC for housing to discuss the situation of the Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers. The AEC says that the department continued to make promises that it continued to break.

Families who have been living on the pavement for months fear that they will be evicted as soon as the elections are over.

Kareemah Linneveldt from the Delft AEC says that the community wants to know where they stand with the department.  “We’ve been in the struggle for 11 months now and we want to know what is going to happen from now on. The community will be standing outside in support,” said Linneveltd.

Broken Promises: AEC Symphony Way to MEC’s office

20 01 2009
Delft AEC Press Release
21 January, 2009

Time: 13h00

On the 21st of January, 2009, all the families of the community of Symphony Way-Delft, together with the AEC, are going to have a lineup at 27 Wale Street.  The community’s elected representatives will have a meeting with the MEC, Z.B., Prince Xanti, Brian Denton, and other MEC aids  We hope to get some clarity on the housing situation of the Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers and the promises they have continued to make and continued to break.  We are approaching one year on the pavement and we expect the City of Cape Town to begin evicting us immediately after the elections.

For more information, contact Aunty Jane at

The Dlamini King Brothers Release their Début Album Hlis’uMoya

20 01 2009

Tuesday, 20 January 2009
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Release

The Dlamini King Brothers, an isicathimyia choir with 12 members all of whom live in the Kennedy Road settlement, have released their debut album Hlis’uMoya. The choir was formed in 1999 and over the last few years has become an important part of the cultural life of Abahlali baseMjondolo.

On 27 September last year the Dlamini King Brothers beat 108 other isicathimyia choirs to win the 11th Annual Isicathimyia Competition held at the Playhouse Theatre in Durban. This is the biggest and most important isicathimyia competition in South Africa.

After winning this competition the Dlamini King Brothers were able to record their first album. The album is called Hlis’uMoya which means that the spirit of God must come down.

The Dlamini King Brothers were inspired to create an album in which some songs fall under Christianity and some under what is happening in the community, the land and the world because people are killing each other and killing each other’s spirits. AIDS is also killing people and people’s spirits are being vandalized by rape. The Dlamini King Brothers say that the poor have to survive under the conditions where the government ignores the people who live in shacks. Yet we are human like everyone.

People are created by God and in the image of God and yet they feel so unstable. The Christian songs on Hlis’uMoya request the spirit of God to come down to the people to encourage and strengthen them. The political songs encourage people to climb the mountain.

The Dlamini King Brothers say that the biggest mistake was made when it was decided to establish what is known as money. Money is what has made people to turn on each other. We have to defeat the power of money and see that each person is made in the image of God. People can find spiritual strength in God, their culture and their movements.

They also say that Abahlali baseMjondolo encourages and strengthens the people and so their music also tries to encourage and strengthen Abahlali baseMjondolo. They say that what they are today is because of Abahlali baseMjondolo. In the song called ‘Abahlali’ they call for a partnership between the government and Abahlali baseMjondolo that can affirm the dignity of the poor and create justice for the poor. They have also written a song about S’bu Zikode because he has had the courage to handle all the situations troubling the community and he has the respect and love of the people. This song is called Thole Lesilo.

The Dlamini King Brothers were formed in 1999 in Kennedy Road. The members of the choir come from Bizana in the Eastern Cape and Post Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal. They are working in various aspects of the construction industry including laying down tarmac, installing granite tops in kitchens, landscaping, plumbing and working on the new airport.

Over the years they have participated in numerous competitions and performed at many events and in many communities including their home towns of Bizana and Port Shepstone.

The Dlamini King Brothers are passionate about isicathimya and say that it is the music of gentlemen, the people who behave themselves and do not want to do wrong to other people. It is music that encourages spiritual strength and dignity in a world of suffering and it has a very strong and clear message. It can deal with all the issues facing the community and although it requires years of regular practice for a choir to become respected it costs not one even cent because no instruments are required. They say it is a non-perishable music that is just running through their veins.

The Dlamini King Brothers would like to thank the Kennedy Road, Bizana and Post Shepstone communities and all the members of Abahlali baseMjondolo for their support, including spiritual support which has been very much encourageous.

They would like to say that they are always willing to travel to perform but that they often find that the cost of transport to places like Cape Town and Johannesburg is a problem.

They want to say that the souls of the members of the choir that have passed away must rest in peace and that their spirit is always with the choir all the time.

To buy a copy of the album at R70 or to book the choir for a performance please contact the Abahlali baseMjondolo office in the Kennedy Road settlement. For comment on the choir and their debut album contact the choir leader Tomorrow Mkhethelwa on.

Click here to listen to the song ‘Abahlali’.

COHRE letter to Premier on eMacambini mass evictions

19 01 2009

16 January 2009

Mr Sibusiso Ndebele
KwaZulu-Natal Premier
Premier’s Office
Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal
PO Box 412
Pietermaritzburg 3200

Re: Forced eviction of 10 000 families from eMacambini for AmaZulu World

Dear Premier Ndebele,

The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) is an international human rights non-governmental organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, with offices throughout the world. COHRE has consultative status with the United Nations and Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. COHRE works to promote and protect the right to adequate housing for everyone, everywhere, including preventing or remedying forced evictions.

COHRE is deeply concerned about the threatened forced eviction of up to 10 000 families of the Macambini community from their communal land in rural KwaZulu-Natal, to make way for AmaZulu World, a multi-billion Rand project proposed by Dubai-based property development group Ruwaad Holdings. The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal and King Goodwill Zwelithini (trustee of the Ingonyama Trust Board that administers the Macambini communal land) have endorsed this project. In May 2008, the KwaZulu-Natal Premier signed a memorandum of understanding with Ruwaad Holdings, and in October 2008, attended the Dubai Cityscape 2008 real estate exhibition together with King Goodwill Zwelithini for the official unveiling of the project. Read the rest of this entry »