QQ Section: ‘City must refund R3,000 for toilet’

30 06 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Source: Cape Argus

Fed up with waiting for toilets to be delivered to their informal settlement, residents of QQ section in Khayelitsha have had their own environmentally friendly toilet installed and are now demanding that the City of Cape Town reimburse them for the R3 000 it cost.

Community leader Mzonke Poni said residents had come up with the idea because QQ section had been in existence for 20 years, but still did not have access to basic services.

Residents had used open spaces for toilets or had relied on toilets in nearby houses.
Read the rest of this entry »

Press Alert: Police intimidate/assault Delft-Symphony Pavement Dwellers. American journalist pepper sprayed for taking photos.

29 06 2008
Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
Sunday 29th June, 2008

Delft-Symphony — Last night at 22h00, three police vans pulled up to Symphony Way dressed in riot gear. Without warning, they began pepper spraying people in the settlement and attempted to arrest a 58 year old resident named Auntie Tilla. When it was all over, the road’s pastor had been assaulted, beaten and abducted and five residents had been pepper sprayed multiple times. An American journalist had also been sprayed merely for taking photographs of police officers. The Anti-Eviction Campaign believes this intimidation and violence is uncalled for and condemns such cowardly actions by police. As of today, residents and the American journalist have laid charges of assault against Superintendent Van Wyk and the police under his command. Pavement Dwellers call on police to work with them to protect them from speeding drunk drivers rather than against them.

The incident began in the late afternoon when a drunk (on-duty) police officer from the Delft police department arrived at the Symphony Way pavement settlement and began to harass residents. Auntie Tilla, a loved and respected elder in the community, was bothered by the officer’s actions and attempted to make a citizen’s arrest for public violence and consumption of alcohol while on-duty. However, after bothering residents, the cop jumped into his car and sped away.

An hour later, a caravan of 3 police vans with over 15 officers arrived in front of Auntie Tilla’s shack and began threatening residents and seeking to arrest them. American journalist, Toussaint Losier likened the police operation to “cowboys jumping out of their vans looking for a fight. Without their name-tags on they had the clear intention of intimidating and assaulting residents”. But residents banded together trying to protect Auntie Tilla from being arrested. As a response, Van Wyk ordered police to pepper spray residents.

Brother Alfred Arnolds, a respected pastor who lives on the road with residents, was sprayed, assaulted, beaten by police and then thrown unconscious into one of the vans. He describes the event as follows: “When they came back it was like they were going to shoot some kind of movie. The way they came at Auntie Tilla and Etienne, I had to intervene…As you can see, this government has no sympathy for us. That is why we are living in these conditions”. Arnolds claims that after he awoke at the police station, he was kicked and beaten again, striped of 150 Rand, and then left injured in from of the station.

Toussaint Losier, a student from the university of Chicago as well as a journalist for the Boston Banner, was was taking pictures of the incident when Superintendent Van Wyk came and pushed the camera out of the way threatening: “you can’t take pictures of police officers conducting their operations…[and added] you shouldn’t be supporting the people on Symphony Way”. Knowing he was protected by South Africa’s constitution, Toussaint identified himself as a journalist and took a picture of an officer shoving a resident. Immediately afterwards, a police officer came right up to him and sprayed him directly in the eyes.

Twenty minutes after the police had abducted Pastor Arnolds, residents marched to the Delft police station where where they were ignored and laughed at by detectives and other policemen. Residents then went all the way to Bellville Police Station where they laid the charges of assault against Superintendent Van Wyk and called for the arrest of the special operations gang of Delft police who were under his command at the time.

While residents wait, hoping the law might finally be on their side, Tilla offered others a bit of perspective on the incident: “Why are they making us live like this when there are empty houses right here [across the road]. They think we are animals, but we are not animals. We know our rights!”

In reality, this unwarranted brutality by Delft police officers is merely part of a larger campaign by provincial and city government to vilify, intimidate and control the families who have nowhere else to go. Residents refuse to leave the road until they are given the houses that have been promised to them for decades. They know that if they leave Symphony Way, they will be swept under the rug, forgotten and stuck in a ‘temporary’ shacks for another ten years. But because they choose to protest and not be silent, they are bearing the brunt of this oppressive government and violent police gangs.

For comment, contact Ashraf at . He can connect you to the witnesses and victims of the crime.

Police caravan arrive to assault residents

Delft-Symphony police assault Anti-Eviction pavement dwellers

For more pictures, click here or contact us at

Pictures: Delft police raid and assault pavement dwellers of Symphony Way

29 06 2008

Delft-Symphony police assault Anti-Eviction pavement dwellers

Police caravan arrive to assault residents

Delft-Symphony police assault Anti-Eviction pavement dwellers

American Journalist Toussaint Losier gets pepper sprayed

For the AEC press release on the brutal police raid of Delft-Symphony, please click here.

Maritzburg: Dwellers threaten to rebuild mud huts

29 06 2008
26 June 2008
Thando Mgaga
Source: The Witness

Residents of the Ash Road (Jika Joe) informal settlement in the downtown area of the city say they are fed up with living in tents and are threatening to rebuild their shacks and mud houses if the Msunduzi Municipality does not address their complaints.

A strongly-worded statement outlining the residents’ complaint is in The Witness’s possession, but the writers do not wish to be named for fear of intimidation. They said the tents do not provide protection against the cold winter nights.

Read the rest of this entry »

Press Release: Pavement Dwellers hold government responsible for hit-and-run

29 06 2008

Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
28 June, 2008

Delft-Symphony – At 4 pm on Saturday 28th of June, 8 year old Charl Jacobs was hit from behind and knocked over by a drunk driver speeding down Symphony Way. Renee, a qualified nurse, and Vicky, a first aid assistant (who both live on the road), kept pressure on Charl’s head wound – keeping him conscious until the ambulance eventually arrived.

For months, the Pavement Dwellers of Delft-Symphony Way (who were violently evicted in February) have been emphasizing the danger of speeding vehicles such as taxis, trucks, ordinary cars, government vehicles and even aggressive police cars who insist on using Symphony Way as a shortcut to their destinations. This road is supposed to be closed to traffic because of the thousands of homeless people currently living on the road. This problem has been raised at all meetings of residents with the traffic department, government officials, and directly to MEC Richard Dyantyi. In fact, for months, city officials have promised that action would be taken to close the road.

But because officials fail to keep their promises, residents have attempted to take matters into their own hands by calling on drivers to slow down, partially barricading the roads, setting up makeshift boom gates, and finally, as a last resort, closing the road completely with burning tires. On Thursday, yet another city official promised to set up proper barricades by 4pm the day before the incident (the 27th of June). This, as with other commitments by officials, never materialized.

According to Renee, “Charl was running off to the store and the car hit him from behind. Thats when I shouted: He’s getting away!”. Rather than stopping after hitting the boy, Mr Xolile continued speeding down Symphony Way. When residents caught him at the corner of Modderdam and Stellenbosch Arterial, he was clearly intoxicated. Residents brought him back to the scene of the crime where police took him and a passenger into custody.

Thousands of angry Pavement Dwellers are holding the South African government directly responsible for this easily preventable accident. While residents, who are struggling to survive in the freezing cold weather, live directly across from empty houses that were meant for them, this tragedy is proof once again that no one in government actually cares about the safety and basic needs of the poor pavement dwellers.

The Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign is now looking into the feasibility of suing government for their inaction which has resulted in the near death of Charl and suffering of thousands who have, for years, been on the waiting list for houses.

For comment, please contact Ashraf at

Residents hold government responsible Residents hold goverment responsible

Update: Charl Jacobs’ father went to the police station today and has found out that the drunk driver, Mr Xolile, has not been charged for his crime.  The police seem to have just let him go.

Press Alert: Gugulethu, Langa, Nyanga residents will meet MEC today after yesterday’s occupation

27 06 2008
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign
Friday 27 June 2008
12 noon

CAPE TOWN - The Anti-Eviction Campaign held a highly successful occupation of Local Government and Housing MEC Richard Dyantyi’s office yesterday.

Dyantyi has been invited several times over the past year to the Anti-Eviction Campaign’s weekly meetings on Sunday in the Gugulethu Sports Complex but has always failed to show up. Hence the movement decided to occupy his office.

After several hours of occupation yesterday, the Deputy Director informed the Anti-Eviction Campaign that Dyantyi would finally meet the community at 2pm today.

At the meeting today, the Anti-Eviction Campaign will hand over its “housing waiting list” - an accurate record of all those residents who have been on the waiting list for between five and 30 years, and who have their original “red cards” (proof of registration).

The oldest resident asking for a house is an 86 year old woman, who has been on the housing waiting list for 30 years. She attended the protest yesterday.

All those residents who have been on the waiting list for 30 years are available to be interviewed by the media.

“The Minister must commit himself to providing houses today or else we will stage more protests,” said Mncedisi Twalo of the Anti-Eviction Campaign.

For comment call Mncedisi Twalo on

Press Alert! 500 residents from Gugs, Nyanga and Langa have occupied Housing MEC’s office

26 06 2008

For comment from the scene call Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Co-ordinator Mncedisi Twalo on

CAPE TOWN - A large and vibrant occupation is underway at Housing and Local Government MEC Richard Dyantyi’s office, in the Provincial Parliamentary building in Wale Street.

The occupation began about 15 minutes ago.

Twalo said “we won’t leave until the Minister comes and gives us keys for the newly built houses in Langa, Delft and Nyanga”.

The residents who are at the occupation are those who have been on the housing waiting list for more than 20 years. They are carrying their “red cards” as proof. These are the cards they were issued with 20 years ago or more, when they first joined the waiting list.

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign has spent the last seven months carrying out an exhaustive census of people in Cape Town who have been on the waiting list for more than 20 years. This census was carried out by holding dozens of mass meetings in each and every township and ghetto in the city, where residents came forward with their red cards and vowed to join the campaign for housing.

These residents should clearly be first in line for any new houses, but instead they have been forgotten.

“We know the ANC and DA using an iron fist when it comes to dealing with their own people, but we have to get our houses, and that is why we are here today,” said Twalo.

The Country That Never Was

25 06 2008

by Nsingo Fanuel

Zimbabwe, ……………..wait before you……………….!

Excitement gripped me when I was able to go back across the border to visit my family in Zimbabwe. Pleased as I was, I tried to ignore all the media reports on the country’s disregard of acceptable and proper treatment of human beings. Before going home, I braced myself for whatever the hell was to befall me! Imagine going back home to unpredictable situations, disastrous conditions, or even impending death - and when home is Zimbabwe this is no exaggeration. If you have been in South Africa you are immediately suspected of being MDC. Anyway, going home was the only way to please my mum! Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: ‘Sekwanele! We are fed up and cold here in the tents.’

25 06 2008

24 June 2008
Statement from Abahlali baseMjondolo bakuAsh Road

Sekwanele! We are fed up and cold here in the tents

The tented ‘transit camp’ into which some residents of the Ash Road settlement in Pietermartizburg have been forced.

We see many things planned for us, promised to us, and written about us in the newspapers but there is never our voice - always it is the words and the empty promises and the visions of the politicians, the so-called leaders, and the Municipality. It is not right for outsiders and ‘leaders’ who are not forced to be living in tents in the winter to be the only ones who speak and act. They tell us again and again in different ways the same thing - “be silent, be patient, we are making plans and visions for your future”. For us who are living here, this makes us to see that we are treated as if we are not people. We are human beings and now we are saying No! No more of this disrespect and lying. We are fed up; the time has come for the world to know that we think, we speak, we act. Councillor Green and his family have not been living in the tents. As far as we are concerned he must therefore shut up.

When the heavy rains fell in January, we were put into these tents on the Tatham sportsground. We were told this was for three months only and we were forbidden to return and rebuild our homes. It is six months later now, and we are still here. It is the middle of winter now, and we are still here. The freezing cold, at night especially, is really killing us - one of our neighbours in the tent has already died from the cold; another one nearly died the other night from smoke from a fire that was lit to try and stop dying from the cold! We have been living so long in these tents that they are now all torn and worn-out. When it rains it is not just freezing cold but leaking so there is water inside too. This week, the municipality has also threatened that they will soon remove the few portable toilets they put here for us to use. Well this will just make our life, which is hard to bear already, even harder and unbearable for us.

We have no trust in the promises and visions that others make for us. They promise us ‘temporary housing’ in formal tin shacks that they will put somewhere else, and they promise houses and flats (that we do not want) somewhere else that they do not know yet. We can see now that, even if these promises eventually come, they would not be better than the housing we can build for ourselves anyway. We think there is no future for us and our children living in tents or temporary tin houses. For us it will be better to rebuild our jondolos right here on the sportsground and this is what we will do. Our mud shacks give us a better protection from freezing cold and summer’s heat.

Now it is clear to us that we are the ones who can really make a better life for ourselves - definitely better than tents and empty promises! We, the people who are living in these conditions, are the ones to find a better solution. It is going to be better to leave behind all the politicians, the committees, the officials and so on and we will discuss and plan and act together as the people taking our own issues forward in the way that we decide.

ENDS Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: Mapumalanga government using dirty tricks to steal land from community for 2010 stadium

24 06 2008

Mail & Guardian: Stadium show must go on

Justin Arenstien and Gcina Ntsaluba
Jun 25 2008 00:00

Mpumalanga’s provincial government is threatening to reverse a R63-million land claim settlement unless the farmworker beneficiaries agree to surrender a prime portion of their ancestral land for just R1. Read the rest of this entry »