Police threaten, assault Symphony Way residents and two Americans, arrest one

10 12 2008
Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
Wednesday 10 December, 2008

Earlier today at around 17h15, police officer De Vos of the Delft police station along with 4 other officers entered Symphony Way and began verbally swearing at and abusing residents. The majority of residents were in a workshop led by an American from a children’s NGO. When Jane Roberts came outside the office where the workshop was taking place, De Vos immediately began threatening Auntie Jane with arrest. He told her quote: “I am going to moor you” and “I will lock you up” and a number of other words inappropriate to publish. He was clearly picking on Aunty Jane because of past instances in which she has opposed his abuse of the community.

Two Americans were also present. The one is the Executive Director of a children’s NGO and the other an American journalist. When they both began documenting the abuse on their cameras and phone, police immediately began threatening to confiscate their cameras and arrest them. A woman police officer then came and slapped the one American and threw his camera to the ground. Police left at around 18h00 once other police officers arrived at the scene.

Then, at 20h00, De Vos came back with his crew and arrested resident Roger Wicks who had nothing to do with the previous incident. He has now been charged with swearing at police and malicious damage to property.

Tomorrow, residents, along with the two Americans, will attempt to lay a charge at the Delft police station against De Vos and the other four police officers on duty.

This is not the first incident of police abuse. There have been over 10 incidents since February 2008 including on 30 October 2008 and 4 October 2008 and 29 June, 2008 and 25 February 2008.

There was also the many instances of brutality during the 19th of February evictions. Documentation includes: (a) Star article: Delft refuse, resist eviction, (b) video by a bystander, (c) video by eTV and (d) photos

For more information, contact Ashraf and Auntie Jane
For statements from the two Americans, contact Matt at and Jay at

AbM-WC: Open Letter to the Mayor of City of Cape Helen Zille

9 12 2008
Abahlali baseMjondolo of the Western Cape
No 28 Ramaphosa Street
Site B Khayelitsha
email address:

City of Cape Town

RE: Letter to the Mayor

Dear Madam Mayor

This letter follows the meeting that you have schedule for the 22nd November 2008 with ABM Western Cape ‘Khayelitsha’ which took place at Site B Community Hall, and the meeting followed the Memorandum which was submitted to you on the 23rd October 2008.

The meeting for the 22nd November 2008 was organized by Bonginkosi Madikizela who is a communication officer for City of Cape Town and he was acting on your mandate and he liaised with Mzonke Poni who is the Chairperson for Western Cape ABM, who acted on behalf of the Khayelitsha shack dwellers who signed the memorandum that was submitted on the 23rd of October 2008 to your office.

The reason why Abahlali baseMjondolo agreed to meet with you is because they were under the impression that you will give them a detailed report, responding from the Memorandum that was submitted to you at above mentioned date.

The ABM WC was not impressed with your visit at Khayelitsha at above mentioned date. We regret to tell you that your presence at the meeting was very useless and fruitless as you failed to respond at our demands.

Abahlali would like to clarify it’s stance for next years elections, the movement has declared that No Land! No House! No Vote! And the movement does not have alliance with any political party and does not have any working relationship wit any political party. The ABM Western Cape will not work with you as a leader of the DA as it also opposed to DA policies as well.

The movement would like also to urge you not use it’s members for your political campaigns and to conduct your political campaign as far as possible from the movements activities and when the movement engage with you it expect you to engage with it’s members as the Mayor of the City of Cape Town not as the leader of the Democratic Alliance and the movement was not happy at all with the meeting that you have called which you have chose to use it as a platform to campaign for Democratic Alliance for next years elections, and where you have also urged the members of the movement to work with you as a leader of Democratic Alliance to better their conditions.

We would like to make it clear that we do not have any interest of working with you as a Democratic Leader and we will not work with you as a party leader, where it is possible we will only work with you not as a DA leader but as a Mayor of City of Cape Town.
In Conclusion

The Movement is still waiting for the detailed response of the memorandum which was submitted to you as the Mayor of City of Cape Town on the above mentioned date and we would like to give you 21 days to prepare a detailed report.

When giving a response we would like you to give it to the movement and stop your dirty games of trying to divide and rule the movement using old apartheid style by co-opting leaders from different communities and invite them to your office as individuals and give them false hope with a view to detached them from the movement.

On behalf of the movement

Kwanele Mto
Secretary ABM Western Cape

Five families from Symphony Way get their keys but refuse to move into their house

8 12 2008
Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Monday 8 December, 2008

Today five Symphony Way Anti-Eviction Campaign families received their keys to their new houses in Delft 7-9. When on their way to inspecting their new houses, they were accompanied by about 80 other pavement dwellers who celebrated this exciting day. Each house was christened by friends dousing each family in water and then followed by a silent prayer in each of the five houses.

But despite this small victory, each of the five families remain unsatisfied. They want their own house, but they do not want their own house if all their brothers and sisters on Symphony Way do not get their own houses as well.

As the Symphony Way AEC, we realise that giving houses to only some of the families and not others is an attempt by the government to undermine the 10 month long protest that has included the occupation and blockade of Symphony Way. We demand an explanation as to why the MEC has reneged on a promise to allocate a percentage of houses to Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers who qualify.

As a result, each family has decided that they will not abandon their community on Symphony Way. Instead, they have undertaken to hang their keys up in the community office and make a commitment to not leave Symphony Way until every single family on the road is allocated a house.

For more information, please contact Ashraf at 408 and Jane 302

For more pictures, click here.

For a video of Brother Alfred Arnold’s commitment, click here.

For high quality pictures, email AEC webmaster.

Below are the statements by each family (the fifth family was not present because of a personal emergency but has agreed to hang up their keys as well).

Alfred Arnolds and his family in their new home

Alfred Arnolds and his family in their new home

I am very happy, as from today, 8th of December, I have received a house…but on the other hand, for all the time I am waiting, I am not going to stay in this house until everyone on Symphony Way are receiving their houses. This is how I feel due to the mandate we undertook to move together. I confirm today that I will remain on Symphony Way. Aluta Continua!

- Brother Alfred Arnolds

Ethel Abels and her daugther in front of their new home

Ethel Abels and her daugther in front of their new home

Ek is bly dat ek ń huis gekry, dat my kinders kan imbly. Nadat ek vir 17 jaar rondgebly het. Ek bid vir die ander mense wat nog op die pad bly dat hulle so gou as moontlile ook in hul huise sal wees.

I’m glad that I received a house for the sake of my children, I’ve been on the waiting list for 17 years, I pray that everybody will get a house very soon

- Ethel Abels

Jolene Arendse and her family in front of their new house

Jolene Arendse and family in front of their new house

Die reck hoekom ek nie in die huis gaan trek nie, is omolat ek voel om met almal die anders van die pad af te gaan. Want ons mandate was so gesê van die begin tot die einde.

The reason why I’m not moving into the house is because of the mandate that we took in the beginning of our struggle that everyone will move together.


- Jolene & Lewellyn Arendse

Theresa Boesak in front of her new home

Theresa Boesak in front of her new home

Ek Theresa Boesak besluit om nie uit Symphony uit te trek nie totdat almal van die pad af beweeg. Ek sal my sleutels in die kantoor op haner totdat ows almal huise gaan kry.

I Theresa Boesak undertake not to move out of Symphony Way until everybody move. I will hang up my keys in the office until everybody move.

Forward Comrades.

- Theresa Boesak

Gloria Rudolf in front of her unoccupied house

Gloria Rudolf in front of her unoccupied house

Ek is Dankbaar vir die Huis maar. ek het besluit ek gaan bly hier met almal totdat een en ekeen ook huise gaan kry. Ek sal bid dat hulle vir almal goner huise sal gee

I am very grateful for the house but I have decided that I am going to stay here iwth everyone until each & everyone has received a house. I pray that they will give everyone soon houses.

- Gloria Rudolf

AbM: Bheki Cele Threatens 66 Families with Forced Removal

8 12 2008
Sunday, 07 December 2008
Siyanda Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Transport MEC Bheki Cele Threatens 66 Families in Siyanda with Forced Removal to one of the Notorious “Transit Camps”

On Saturday the Sheriff of the Court served a letter from the State Attorney on 66 families in Siyanda, KwaMashu. This letter instructs us to leave our homes by 16h00 this Tuesday, 9 December. More than 300 hundred people in our community are now at risk of forced removal to the notorious ‘transit camps’.

The letter states that our homes will be demolished after Tuesday and that we will be moved to “temporal houses” or “transit camps” to make way for the new MR 577 Freeway.  The letter warns us that should residents “refuse or resist the relocation in any manner, whatsoever, the MEC for Transport will bring an application on an urgent basis to evict them from the road reserve and further seek costs against them.”

This is pure intimidation. Bheki Cele has no court order demanding our eviction and if he tries to have us evicted without a court order he will be guilty of a criminal act. If he tries to evict us legally he will have to make an application to the court and we will have the right to defend our community in the court - this is due process as laid out in the law. We have a right to oppose any eviction and this is not something for which Cele can claim costs against us. Read the rest of this entry »

Eyona Tenants joining in opposition to Guguletu Square Mall

1 12 2008
Guguelthu AEC Press Statement
1st December, 2008

Today, the Gugulethu AEC, with the support of church goers, students and other local businesses, will close down construction of the Gugulethu Mall at 11h30am.

Eyona tenants who have already been evicted and who still face the threat of eviction, are now joining in solidarity with poor residents of the Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign. Both are now opposing the corruption, lack of consultation, and anti-local orientation of the new Gugulethu mall.

The development of the Gugueltu Square Mall will destroy local businesses, sideline informal traders, and undermine resident’s ability to drive the development process. As much as big businesses would like it to have a human face, this near billion rand project will not benefit more than a couple residents from Gugulethu.

Facts about Eyona tenants threatened with eviction:
1.SS Skhoma Butchery and Shirley Sigasana Takeway built their own structures and have traded in these structures at the old Eyona Shopping Centre for more than 25 years.
2.Eyona Tenants’ first landlord was Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) under the old Apartheid government. After 1994, the new government (on behalf of the people) became the owner. The government itself along with government organisations such as the DTI and Khula made promises of ownership towards Eyona tenants.
3.Eventually, without the community’s consent or consultation, government sold the land for R11.70 to Khula which then proceeded to directly engage big-business and ignore pass promises and obligations towards the community.
4.With regards to the development of the Gugulethu mall, the DTI and Khula have manipulated and undermined the Eyona Tenants. All their promises have been made without written documentation. Along with the developers, they refuse to sign any type of lease agreements to ensure that their promises of space to trade become a reality.
5.While the Eyona Tenants (in conjunction with the residents of Gugulethu) should own the land on which the mall is being built, they have received no compensation from government for the selling of their land towards helping establish big-business in Gugs.
6.Instead, our democratically elected government is actively helping Khula, Wst Side Trading, Old Mutual and Group 5 in their unfair and deceitful evictions of the Gugulethu Eyona Tenants.
7.By 30 November 2008, the remaining structure of the old shopping centre (the Butchery, Take-away and the Garage) are supposed to be vacated and then demolished. But without a court order, any attempted eviction will be illegal.

Today, 1st December 2008 at 11h30, the Gugulethu community (including members of the Anti-Eviction Campaign, students, church goes and other local businesses) will show their support for the Eyona Tenants by stopping construction on the mall and protecting the remaining structures from being demolished.

The Struggle Continues!

For comment, please call Mncedisi at and Speelman at .

Newfields and Railway to occupy offices of corrupt CTCHC

28 11 2008

Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release
Friday 28 November, 2008 at 09h00

Today, the 28th of November 2008, the residents and of Newfields Village and Railway council homes are heading to the head offices of Cape Town Community Housing Company as we speak. We are going to occupy the offices until the CTCHC explains the following to our satisfaction (which they have refused to explain to us previously):

  1. MEC Whitey Jacobs are holding onto R46 million until contractors clean up their mess with regards to the project.
  2. CTCHC CEO Informed the Standing Committee on Housing (Kent Morkel) that there is only R16 million left out of the R46 million that the MEC is holding onto. We demand to know what happened to the other R30 million allocated for the 9 council homes managed by CTCHC.
  3. The Community Liaison Official (CLO), the ‘Structure’ and the PSG alleges that there is no communication as promised from CTCHC. Contractors have threatened to leave by 12/12/08 even though the houses have not been completed. On the other hand, contractors have taken shortcuts with regards to the fixing of floors and painting of doors and walls. There has been malicious deviation from the original agreement/specifications of the doors (which are substandard) and the painting (which is not being done properly). None of these deviations have been made in consultation with the effected communities. The renewal of all structures are not getting done properly despite claims that the money has already been allocated to contractors.
  4. The MEC has given CTCHC 30 days to find common ground with communities - all to no avail.

For further information, please contact:

Adeeb at
Peter at
Gary at

AbM-WC will meet with Helen Zille, Saturday

21 11 2008
Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape Press Release
Friday 21 November, 2008

Event: Mass Meeting to challenge Helen Zille and government master plan
Date: 22 November, 2008
Time: 16h00
Venue: Nonkqubela Hall, Site B, Khayelitsha

Helen Zille will be responding to the demands of Abahlali baseMjondolo Western Cape that were summited to the City by Khayelitsha Shackdwellers on the March that took place in Khayelitsha on the 23 October 2008.

For the Memorandum that was submitted to the City please click here.

For comment please call

Letters from David to Goliath

21 11 2008
Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
Friday 21 November, 2008

The battle continues. Gugulethu residents are continuing to oppose the R350-million Guguletu Square Mall.  We are in solidarity with all other South African’s who are being sidelined to make way for elitist projects such as the proposed AmaZulu World in Durban.

Claims a resident: “The local small business people in Gugs will taste none of this massive cake”.  And that is true: only 10% of the mall is even open to local Gugulethu business people who can afford it.  Over 70% of the mall has already been allocated to massive corporations such as Shoprite, Spar, Truworths, ABSA, FNB, PEP and Foschini.

In a battle pitting David against Goliath (see M&G article), David rarely wins when he or she fights alone.  Yet, we are not just one David, we are many.  We are the tens of thousands of Davids living in Gugulethu who will be adversely affected by this project.  We are those who fight and we are also those to to old, to young, to scared, or to despondent to fight.  Yet we know that if we bring enough of us out into the battle, we will be able to stand up to big business Goliaths such as Old Mutual, Mzoli Ngcawuzele, and even Tokyo Sexwale.

We have sent the following letters to big business in an attempt to be heard and with the expectation of meaningful consultation and dialogue:

For more information, please contact Mncedisi at and Speelman at .

Judgement Day for Gympy Street Residents

20 11 2008

Urgent Update:
Friday 21 November at 13h03
Gympie Street Case Dismissed! Residents relieved!

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Release

When: Friday 21st of November 2008
Where: Magistrate Court, Cape Town (between Buitenkant str & Parade Str)
Time: 08h30
Case: Gympie Street vs Pastor Dennis Robertson

On Friday the 21st of November the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court will give its verdict on the case against the Gympie Street residents. This latest legal battle represents yet another attempt by slumlord Pastor Dennis Robertson to evict the people of Gympie Street. He seems simply unwilling to accept that the people of Gympie Street have a right to adequate housing and dignity. Indeed, he has even been working with the City Council and the police to drive the people from the road. This has seen him collaborating with the City Council to cut off people’s water and electricity, and working with the police to routinely harass and arrest people. 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. As such, this latest legal action is about trying to DUMP the people of Gympie Street on the outskirts of the City. Nonetheless, like the three previous cases, the ruling of the latest case will once again be in favour of the people of Gympie Street.

We want to make it clear to Pastor Robertson that he should not try and criminalise us, he should rather come and talk To us!


For more information Contact:

Willy @
Ashraf @
Gary @
Advocate Zehir Omar @

Housing MEC tells backyarders to keep up the pressure on the City; AEC obliges

14 11 2008

Gugulethu AEC Press Statement
Friday 14 November, 2008

On the 2nd of November, Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign met with Whitey Jacobs, the province’s Housing MEC. At the meeting, the ANC appointee (who is responsible to house shackdwellers like ourselves) continued the usual party politics - blaming the DA run city for our predicament.

While we know that the Province (not the City) is responsible for building houses for us, we were also happy to receive support from the MEC in terms of ‘keeping up the pressure‘ on the City to release land in Gugulethu for us to occupy. Jacobs claimed to support our activism and numerous attempts to occupy vacant land on Lansdowne Road next to the Fezeka in Gugulethu.

Therefore, with the support of the MEC for Housing, the Gugulethu Backyard Dwellers will again attempt to occupy the this land in order to pressure the City and Province into providing us with our constitutional rights: land and housing.

We hope that since we have the MEC’s support, that we will also have the protection of the SAPS so that we are not assaulted by the city police.

No more party politics! No Land! No House! No Job! No Vote!

Location: ELF# RR448 on Lansdowne Road next to the Fezeka in Gugulethu
Time: 11h00am
Date: Saturday 15 November, 2008

For more information, contact:

Mncedisi at 646
Speelman at 725