Media: Deflt families vow not to move

23 12 2008

Aziz Hartley
December 22 2008 at 10:40AM
Source: Cape Times

About 40 Delft families who were given formal houses “by mistake” after their temporary accommodation burnt down say they will defy any efforts to move them. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Street children document their lives

13 10 2008
AEC Note ~ The Heart of Struggle: A Pavement Exhibition, was a successful event for visitors.  But most of all, it was successful for the children of Symphony Way who used it as a way to document all aspects of their lives including their struggle for houses.

Poverty is political! Aluta Continua!
October 13 2008 at 06:19PM
By Francis Hweshe
Source: Cape Argus

More than 100 children living on the pavement in Symphony Way in Delft have called upon the government to respect their rights and provide them with decent shelter.

In the past week, the children spent time with Antonio Angelucci, a freelance photographer from Italy, who taught them to photograph their own lives living with their families on the pavement.

“The idea is for the children to have fun while they document their lives,” said Angelucci.

For the past eight months, 139 families have been staying on the pavement after being evicted from the N2 Gateway houses they had occupied.

On Sunday the children held their first pavement photography exhibition dubbed: A pavement exhibition, the heart of struggle.

Through pictures, letters and narratives, hung on the barbed wire fence separating them from the houses from which they were evicted, the children reflected on the trauma, pain and suffering they and their parents had endured as a result of the forced eviction.

Some of the pictures they took were of city authorities who they accused of demolishing a neighbour’s shelter two weeks ago.

Other pictures and stories reflected some lighter moments the close-knit community has experienced while living on the pavement. The children said life was more difficult during the cold rainy winter season as their shelters were cold and they struggled to keep warm.

“I don’t think it is fair for people to be on the road. Grannies and grandpas are getting sick on the road. Two grannies have already died, while waiting for houses and one of them is mine,” wrote Lee-Andre Johnson, who is in grade one.

“Its bad for us here, we need better shelter,” Johnson told the Cape Argus.

“My first day in Symphony Way was like living in a camp.

“It was hard settling down because everything was in a mess.

” People were worried and did not know where they were going to sleep,” wrote Nimco Hir, 8.

Ashraf Cassiem, a spokesperson for the Anti-Eviction Campaign who attended the exhibition, said it was important for children to grow up understanding the issues that affected their lives.

The Heart of Struggle: Photos from the Pavement

9 10 2008

Photographs by independent photographer Antonio Angelucci.

The following is a statement written by Mr. Angelucci.  It has been translated into Italiano, Afrikaans and isiXhosa.  At the first ever Pavement Exhibition on Sunday 12th October, this statement will accompany his photographs as well as corresponding photographs and statements by the children of Symphony Way.

The Heart of Struggle

by Antonio Angelucci

I just got the news that the people living on Symphony Way will soon be evicted.

After being evicted in February by the Province from houses just across the street, the Municipality of Cape Town is now attempting to evict these same families for a second time. Very soon everybody will know when the eviction of the community will take place.

When I think about it, my mind wonders back to my first meeting with the Delft community. The weather was shit, the pouring rain was our soundtrack, but despite the rain and bouts of hail, the families there were busy organising the community in anticipation of their solidarity exchange with the Joe Slovo community.

Bunches of wood were being brought into the street from the nearby bush. Suddenly, around 7p.m., the lashing sound of the rain was disturbed by the crackling and intermittent thuds of the handmade communal fire. This sweet backdrop agitated against the coercive tyrant that was the wind and rain until, slowly and firmly, it cut into the obscurity of the night. It was then that the oppressive rain was wordlessly replaced with a background roar, and the suffocatingly cold wind was substituted with warmth from the people huddling around the fire.

I think of the fire’s little sparks that shine within the eyes of the people huddling around it. When I recall that soon someone high up will decide on the fate of Symphony Way, I can clearly envisage that the fire that fights against the rain will also shape the future of this defiant community.

And I hope that the mighty fire will not be blown out by a bitter winter’s rain…

Media: Squatters vow war if evicted

24 09 2008

September 19 2008 at 03:02PM
By Nomangesi Mbiza
Source: Cape Argus

Squatters who have erected shacks on the pavement of a Delft street have vowed not to move, despite threats of a court order by the City of Cape Town.

This follows reports that the city was seeking a court order to remove them from the pavement along Symphony Way. Read the rest of this entry »

Symphony Way political prisoners appeal unjust ruling

23 09 2008
Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
23 September, 2008

Anti-Eviction Pavement-Dwellers of Symphony Way in Delft are heading to Bellville Magistrates Court to show their support for Jerome Daniels and Riedwaan Isaacs who were imprisoned two months ago for being part of the Anti-Eviction Campaign.

The AEC maintains that the magistrate’s ruling was politically motivated and that Jerome was attempting to prevent residents from being violent while Riedwaan was not even in the area when the incident occurred.

We are hoping that today’s appeal will see Jerome and Riedwaan walk out as free men.  We are also hoping that in the future, the law will not be arbitrary.

For comment please call Aunty Jane at and Ashraf at

Media: City to forcibly remove adamant squatters

16 09 2008
Aziz Hartley
September 16 2008 at 02:39PM
Source: Cape Times

The City of Cape Town says it is to seek a court order allowing it forcibly to move 141 families who have been squatting beside Symphony Way in Delft since February and refuse to leave.

The families were among hundreds of people who in December invaded N2 Gateway houses from which they were later evicted under a court order.

Most of the people accepted a council offer of accommodation in a nearby temporary residential area, but the Symphony Way squatters, led by the Anti-Eviction Campaign, say they won’t move unless they are given proper homes.

“They are taking up space next to a key secondary road that has been closed to traffic,” mayoral committee member for housing Dan Plato said on Monday.

‘The city’s position is simple - they must get off Symphony Way’

“Our officials talked to them on many occasions. Now a legal process has started.”

It would be up to the court to decide when the families should move, Plato said.

The city’s executive director for housing, Hans Smit, said transport authorities had complained that the road’s closure meant vehicles, particularly public transport vehicles, had to use a longer route along Delft Main Road, adding to traffic flow at peak times.

“You can’t open that road with people living next to it,” Smit said.

“The city’s position is simple - they must get off Symphony Way.

‘They were supposed to be temporary places, but seven and 12 years are in no way temporary’

“We’ve engaged them, but they have a simple attitude - they want houses. We can’t promise houses, but there are options available to them. They have to follow the normal process to get houses.

“A court order is not an option the city wanted to follow, but we don’t accept that they live next to the road. We’re not talking about taking them far away. There is a temporary residential area about 300 metres away.”

Anti-Eviction Campaign leader Ashraf Cassiem said the Symphony Way squatters would remain firm in resisting being moved as they believed the city used temporary residential areas as dumping grounds for homeless people.

“We don’t know of any legal process, but from the start we rejected a temporary residential area. In (such) areas parents can’t raise their children. (These areas) are unhealthy, unsafe and undignified.

“We are not of the impression that if people move to temporary residential areas they will get homes soon.

“At the Tsunami temporary residential area, people have been there for seven years and at Happy Valley, for 12 years. They were supposed to be temporary places, but seven and 12 years are in no way temporary.”

Media: South Africans protest mass eviction order in court

10 09 2008

10th of September, 2008
By Toussaint Losier
Source: Bay State Banner

Residents of the informal Joe Slovo settlement and their supporters protest outside of the South African Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, South Africa. Those who gathered called on the court’s nine judges to overturn a controversial eviction order that would see all residents of the settlement forcibly removed from a township where many have lived for more than 15 years. (Toussaint Losier photo)

Residents of Joe Slovo and Delft Symphony Way, two informal settlements located in Cape Town, South Africa, pause and call for support during their train ride back from Johannesburg, where they protested the eviction order. (Toussaint Losier photo)

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — Dancing the toyi-toyi, stomping their feet and singing protest songs, more than 100 residents of the informal Joe Slovo settlement in Cape Town and their supporters rallied outside of South Africa’s Constitutional Court last month in support of the community’s right to adequate housing.

Nearly all had traveled 28 hours by train to attend the hearing concerning the future of their community.

Inside the courtroom, their lawyers called upon the court’s nine judges to overturn a controversial eviction order that would have seen all residents of the settlement forcibly removed from the township of Langa, where many have been living for more than 15 years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Press Alert: Joe Slovo Residents to overnight in Symphony Way, in solidarity with Delft Pavement Dwellers

28 08 2008

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign
Press Alert – For Immediate Release

Thursday, 28 July 2008

Joe Slovo Residents to overnight in Symphony Way, in solidarity with Delft Pavement Dwellers

Date: Saturday, 30 August 2008
Time: 16h00
Location: Symphony Way, Delft

Delft – Following their trip to Johannesburg and attendance at the SA Constitutional Court hearing last week, residents of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa, Cape Town will be visiting the evicted residents of the N2 Gateway Houses along Symphony Way in Delft this Saturday. In addition to sharing the lessons of their struggle against forced relocation to the city’s Temporary Relocation Areasin Delft, Joe Slovo residents will also spend the night in the shacks along Symphony Way as a demonstration of solidarity.

This effort to build greater solidarity between the struggles of Joe Slovo and Symphony Way comes out of suggestions made by residents of both communities during their 28-hour train ride to Johannesburg. It was during this long journey that residents of Joe Slovo expressed their gratitude for the support of Symphony Way residents at their past actions and court appearances, including the last week’s Concourt hearings. Nearly thirty residents of Symphony Way chose to mark the six month anniversary of their eviction from the N2 Gateway Project Homes in Delft by joining Joe Slovo residents in traveling to Johannesburg and staying at the Central Methodist Church.

In an effort to find out more about the plight of Delft evictees, nearly three dozen Joe Slovo residents volunteered to spend the night on the pavement in Symphony Way. Some even vowed to set up shacks alongside those in Symphony if forced to relocate against their will to TRAs in Delft.

Residents of Symphony Way have also committed to overnight in Joe Slovo in a weeks time.

During the course of this trip, residents of both communities saw for themselves that the lack of decent, affordable, public housing impacts the poor, regardless of what language they speak or their “racial group”. Moreover, the need to be an active participate, rather than simply a spectator, in housing programs like the N2 Gateway Project is true for all, whether you live in an informal settlement or someone’s backyard.

For more information:

Ashraf Cassiem
Mzwanele Zulu  

Media: Concourt lashes Hlophe’s squatter ruling

25 08 2008

The Constitutional Court’s battle with Cape Judge President John Hlophe did nothing to dampen the justices’ criticism of his landmark eviction order against 20 000 Western Cape squatters.

Justice Kate O’Regan on Thursday expressed disquiet over Judge Hlophe’s controversial order that the residents of the Joe Slovo informal settlement be moved to make way for government’s pilot N2 Gateway Housing Project, pointing out that it made no mention of where they would be moved to.

“It’s one of the things that really bothers me … I couldn’t imagine an order for eviction that didn’t set out where and how the respondents would be accommodated,” she said.

She added that Judge Hlophe’s order gave no sense of the process the state would follow in relocating the informal settlement dwellers, many of whom took trains from Cape Town to attend Thursday’s hearing.

The comments came just one day after the hearing of Judge Hlophe’s acrimonious legal wrangle with South Africa’s highest court, in which he sought to have their public accusations that he attempted to lobby two of them for pro-Jacob Zuma rulings declared unconstitutional.

O’Regan and her fellow justices on Thursday repeatedly urged lawyers for the government, its housing agency and the squatters to work together to compile a draft order, replacing that given by Judge Hlophe and detailing how government would move the squatters “fairly and openly”, within the next week.

Counsel for Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu, Michael Donen SC, responded positively to the court’s proposal of a negotiated settlement order.

Justice Zac Yacoob said such a settlement order should place obligations on the state to say where exactly the squatters would be moved to and what conditions they would stay under. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: ‘Housing MEC defends use of private sector’ and ‘Outsourcing of Housing Delivery no Solution say Housing Protesters

9 08 2008