‘A Prayer for Justice’ by Nsingo Fanuel (AbM member)

31 07 2008

A Prayer for Justice

When you created heaven and earth,
They have formed suburbs and locations.
When you created man and woman to become one flesh,
They have divided your creation with fences and police.
O, Dear Good Lord, your world has been torn asunder!

When you gave the Israelites manna in the dessert,
They have left us to starve in the midst of plenty.
When you took the Israelites to the promised land,
They have relocated us from the land they promised us.
O, Dear Good Lord, your people are suffering!

When you said Jerusalem is the city of gold,
They have said our shacks are called ’slums’.
When you gave the Ten Commandments,
They have imposed the Slums Act.
O, Dear Good Lord, we are being driven from Jerusalem!

When you saved the Israelites from the plagues,
They have left us to burn and die in the shack fires.
When you gave the Israelites water from the dry rock,
They have left us to struggle without taps in dirt and thirst.
O, Dear Good Lord, the plagues of oppression are on us!

When you preached the Sermon on the Mount,
They have promised to eradicate us.
When you preached the unity of all the world,
They have led us to the ‘xenophobic attacks’
O, Dear Good Lord, we plead for your mercy!

When you delivered your people from the Egyptian Pharaoh,
They have seized the staff of Pharaoh for themselsves.
When you chased the money changers out of the temple,
They have bought and sold the land you made for all.
O, Dear Good Lord, our rulers have sinned against you!

You have told us to be together sharing everything in common.
You have told us that your earth was made for everyone.
The fences and the police blaspheme against your creation.
The Slums Act blasphemes against your creation.
The plagues of fire and thirst blaspheme against your creation.
O, Dear Good Lord, give us strength as we make your world one again!

Prepared by: Nsingo Fanuel (Abahlali baseMjondolo member)

AbM Youth League Chairperson’s shack has just been lost to fire

31 07 2008

Bongo Dlamini, 19 year old struggle artist elected as the chairperson of the Abahlali baseMjondolo youth league on 16 June 2008, has just lost his shack in a fire in the Motala Heights settlement in Pinetown. Neighbours were able to put the fire out quickly and it did not spread to other homes. But Bongo has lost everything he owned. He was going to design the new Durban Abahlali banner after the old one, designed by Mbongeni Msomi from Mpola, was given to the comrades in QQ Section in Cape Town to celebrate the launch of their AbM branch. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Why TAC is taking govt to court over refugees

30 07 2008

Jul 30 2008 at 15:24 - Mail & Guardian

Government inaction in the face of deteriorating living conditions in camps for displaced foreign nationals has forced refugees to take legal steps against the state, the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) said on Wednesday.

Read the rest of this entry »

Woodstock to March Against Evictions

30 07 2008

March Against Evictions

No Land No House No Vote

When: Friday, 1st of August 2008
From: Gympie Street, Woodstock, via Sir Lowry Rd, into Buitenkant Str, turn into Barrack Str, turn right onto Parade Street to Court
To: Magistrate Court, Cape Town (between Buitenkant str & Parade str)
Time: Start point depart 7h30 arrival at Court 8h30

For four years now, we the people of Gympie Street have been living under the threat of evictions from our landlord. Different people have been coming around to us claiming to represent our landlord and wanting to collect rent. In the past our landlord has evicted us in the middle of winter, just like the previous apartheid regime. The landlord has also used all sorts of intimidation tactics, for example removing the water meters in our homes; working with the police to arrest and threaten residents; and collaborating with the City Council in a bid to cut off our electricity.

It is clear that the threatened mass eviction of families who have been staying in the area for decades, is part of the gentrification process (linked to the World Cup) to clear the City Centre of the poor so that the landlords and the elite can profit and move into the area. We also feel that the move to evict us from Gympie Street is part of the problem of Xenophobia in South Africa, because many of the residents were originally from other parts of Africa. Now the landlord has again taken court action against us to try and DUMP us and our families on the outskirts of the City.

For more information contact

Willy Heyn
Zehir Omar

Media: Human rights are just words to poor people

30 07 2008
July 30, 2008 Edition 1
Imraan Buccus
Source: The Mercury

The new South Africa was founded on a commitment to human rights.

Neither of the contesting nationalisms of the National Party and the African National Congress had built their politics around human rights before 1994, but a human rights centred deal was one that everyone could live with.

In a human rights culture and in a human rights legal system everyone matters. Children, prisoners, foreigners, the poor, sex workers - everyone. Read the rest of this entry »

Siyanda, Durban: Residents march for proper homes

29 07 2008

This protest was organised by the Siyanda settlement, the same people that blocked the road in December 2006. Both AbM and AEC are in solidarity with their struggle.

July 28, 2008 Edition 3 (Daily News)

More than 500 Ntuzuma residents burned tyres and blocked roads in protest over what they claim is a lack of service delivery in the area.

The angry crowd from the Mancinza area and the township’s J section said they wanted proper houses from the municipality. Read the rest of this entry »

AEC: Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre Hawkers Fight Back Against Forced Removals

29 07 2008

Mitchell’s Plain – After participating in the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign’s recent General Meeting and marching in the 24 July March against Housing Privatization, the Mitchell’s Plain Concerned Hawkers and Traders is set to join the AEC. Like the Gatesville Hawkers and the informal traders of Gugulethu, the traders of the Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre face forced removal by city officials and well-connected business people, a conflict that once again pits the nation’s first economy against the informal sector.

The struggle that gave rise to this new organization began on 13 March 2008, when SAPS and Metro Police, backed by the Army and the Dog Unit, raided this bustling town centre on the Cape Flats, cracking down, not on criminal activity, but the dozens of men and women who make their living selling everything from fruits and vegetables to cigarettes and children’s clothes. Without warning, police began breaking down hawkers’ stalls and removing goods.

“I questioned Inspector Joubert, asking him why is this thing be done,” explained Mieshka Cassiem of Lenteguer. “He said that they were ordered by their director to clean up the stands and clear them out.” It was only by resisting these evictions that the hawkers were able to prevent their relocation from the sides of the Town Centre’s busy passage ways to an isolated area on its outskirts.

Read the rest of this entry »

Unemployed protesting denial of government grants in Gugulethu

28 07 2008
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Monday, 28 July, 2008

Gugulethu - At 9h00, on Monday 28 July the Western Cape Anti-Eviction
Campaign will lead a protest outside of the Provincial Department of Social
Services and Poverty Alleviation’s Gugulethu district office to call
attention to the office’s failure to issue unemployment grants to those who
queued up the whole day outside of the office to receieve their grant last
Friday, 25 July. Rather than being provided with their R 500 in government
assistance, hundreds were turned away.

Today, the Gugulethu AEC will be bringing the poor residents of Gugulethu
and other communities back to the office to claim their grant and call
attention to the need for government assistance to reach not a handful, but
all poor people.

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign is demanding that District Office
Manager Mr Lungisa Saunders to ensure that the provision of unemployment
grants reaches everyone in need.

For more information, please contact Mncedisi Twalo (AEC Coordinator) at

Gympie Street residents being intimidated again by slumlord

27 07 2008
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Sunday, 27 July, 2008

Woodstock - At 9h10 in the morning, on Wednesday 23 July 2008, three metro police and three SAPS vehicles arrived in Gympie Street and, with the help of municipal electricity department labourers, cut the electricity of the six contested flats on the road. The slumlord, Pastor Dennis Robertson, who has been harassing residents and attempting to evict them since 2003, had instructed the authorities to cut electricity and remove water meters as a punishment for their refusal to vacate the property. Residents describe this as a desperate act by Pastor Dennis Robertson who is worried of loosing next Friday’s court case against residents. A past High Court Judgment has found it to be illegal to intimidate residents and force their eviction through cutting their electricity and other services.

Since this slumlord first claimed he was the new owner 2003, residents of Gympie Street have been fighting for their constitutional right to decent and adequate housing. For years, residents have been paying their rent every month without fail despite the owner never doing any maintenance on the flats, leaving them in hazardous and rundown conditions. As a way to push out these poor residents to gentrify the area in preparation for the 2010 World Cup, Slumlord Dennis has consistently attempted to raise rents.

In 2006, Slumlord Dennis used government to forcibly evict residents from the flats. After spending 6 weeks of a cold and wet winter on the pavement opposite their empty flats, residents used the Prevention of Illegal Evictions (PIE) Act to legally justify their reoccupation of the flats. A year later, the six members of the residents coordinating committee were unjustly arrested and then released on a warning.

In a few days time, on Friday 1st August, residents will be back in court to defend themselves from another unconstitutional eviction order. They will be defended by well-known Advocate Zehir Omar and with the support of the Anti Eviction Campaign will be marching to the Magistrates Court of Cape Town.

The AEC condemns all greedy slumlords, whether or not they are laymen or church pastors, who attempt to rob the poor of their shelter and dignity.

For more information, please contact Willy Heyn (AEC Coordinator) or Zehir Omar (Advocate) at .

AbM Western Cape unite to challenge the City’s ‘Master Plan’

25 07 2008

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Event: Shackdwellers to challenge city master plan
Location: QQ Section Community Crèche
Date: July 26, 2008
Time: 15h00

Khayelitsha – On Saturday July 26, 2008, Western Cape shackdwellers will converge on QQ Section to challenge Dan Plato and the City of Cape Town’s Master Plan for Informal Settlements.

After failing to pitch up to engage with Abahlali during the launch of AbM Western Cape a couple of weeks ago, Dan Plato has promised to meet with residents this Saturday at 3pm. This will be the first time Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape will speak will have the opportunity to challenge the authoritarian land and housing policies that ruin the lives of their communities.

Residents are angry about a number of issues including:

1. They believe the government has continued to ignore them and refuse to give them access to basic services guaranteed by South Africa’s constitution.
2. They are angry about the top-down approach to development endorsed by the plan. If there is to be any master plan at all, communities must be allowed to draft it themselves rather than let city officials speak for them.
3. They are against forced removals and believe that they have the right to houses close to jobs, transport, and current schools.

They will use this platform as their first attempt to get aloof city officials to listen to them.

For more information, please contact AbM Western Cape at