Slums Act: AbM vs Gov (6&7 November)

3 11 2008
3 November 2008
Press Statement by the Abahlali baseMjondolo Youth League

Abahlali baseMjondolo Case Against the KwaZulu-Natal Eradication and Prevention of Re-Emergence of Slums Act to be Heard in the Durban High Court on 6 and 7 November 2008

Across the country the government is chasing the poor people out of the cities. Across the country we are mobilising to defend our right to the cities.

We are in the cities for good reasons - we need work, education, clinics, libraries and more. Pay is higher and prices are lower in the cities. Therefore we need land and housing in the cities. But the government only want our votes. They do not want us in the cities. Therefore we have said ‘No Land! No House! No Vote!’

In Joe Slovo, in Cape Town, the people say “Asiyi eDelft!”.

In Makause, in Johannesburg, the people say, “Stop the ‘Eradication and Prevention’ of our homes!”.

It is the same everywhere. The government want to make it so that if you are inside you are inside and if you are outside you are outside. The poor struggle to stop this business of putting some people to one side and other people to the other side. Read the rest of this entry »

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  

The APF supports the Joe Slovo Residents Constitutional Court appeal

25 08 2008
Thursday 21st August 2008


Today, members of the Anti Privatisation Forum (APF) joined hundreds of Joe Slovo and Inner-City Resource Centre residents at the Constitutional Court, where their appeal against High Court Judge Hlophe’s eviction order was heard. The imminent threat of mass eviction (and forcible removal to Delft) is a direct result of the top-down, anti-democratic manner in which the Ministry of Housing (and their principal agents, Thubelisha Homes) have pursued the provision/development of housing for poor communities in Cape Town, with specific reference to the N2 Gateway Housing Project. The continued failure - both in Cape Town and across the country – of government and their designated ‘development’ agents to fulfil their long-repeated promises of affordable, quality formal housing for those living in ‘informal settlements’ is at the root of the Joe Slovo crisis, as it is for millions of others. Read the rest of this entry »

List of Mainstream News on Joe Slovo Constitution Court Ruling

25 08 2008

Below is a list of recent articles about the Joe Slovo Constitutional Court case.

Concourt’s initiatial comments about the case:

News on journey and protest at the Constitutional Court in Joburg:

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: ‘There is no way I’ll go to starve and die in Delft’

25 08 2008
21 August 2008
Anna Majavu
Source: Sowetan

This morning an important case comes before the Constitutional Court, involving 20,000 Cape Town residents whose informal settlement is set to be bulldozed.

State-owned company Thubelisha Homes (now bankrupt), Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and Western Cape housing MEC were granted an eviction order on March 10 this year against occupants of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa.

They argued that the residents must be moved to fibre-cement shacks in a “temporary relocation area” in Delft, about 20km away from the city. They said this was necessary so that they could continue building houses as part of the N2 Gateway housing programme. After the houses were built, they said, they would move the residents back.

The community quickly established though that most residents would be left in Delft, a place many describe as “God-forsaken”, which has no rail service, where crime is rife, schools are overcrowded and medical facilities dire. Delft is also not close to any suburb where people might find work.

Housing ministry spokesman Xolani Xundu agreed that “not everyone will come back” to Langa.

He told Sowetan that 1500 families will get free houses in Langa, and 45 bonded houses will be sold to the public. The bonded houses are unaffordable to 99 percent of the residents who are unemployed. And the community of 5000 families said they did not want 3500 families to be left behind in Delft’s temporary relocation area.

Joe Slovo task team leader Mzwanele Zulu said that all the families could be accommodated if the government built RDP houses or if they worked with the people to come up with a plan that suited everybody.

Xundu said: “People who did not relocate back to Langa would be housed in Delft. They would not be left in the lurch in the temporary relocation area.”

But these claims were contradicted by Ashraf Cassiem of the Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign.

He said that hundreds of people who voluntarily relocated to Delft from Khayelitsha were still languishing in the temporary relocation area seven years later.

Leon Goliath, a civil engineer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, found that the temporary relocation area was “unfit for human habitation”.  Goliath said the roofs of the temporary dwellings did not connect with the walls and the gaps “led to leaks and drafts, which was not good for health … and could be a fire hazard”.

He said that windows and doors did not have frames and residents have been forced to secure them to the walls with concrete.  “These chunks of concrete could fall off and injure someone. Without proper frames, how do you lock and secure your dwelling?” Goliath asked.

He also found traces of asbestos in the fibre-cement material. Read the rest of this entry »

SACSIS: Joe Slovo Residents Protest

25 08 2008

Source: South African Civil Society Information Service

Threatened with mass eviction, the residents of the Joe Slovo settlement in Langa, Cape Town gathered outside of the South African Constitutional Court in Johannesburg on 21 August 2008 to appeal the judgement of High Court Judge Hlophe that would forcibly remove them to Delft, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, to makeway for the completion of the N2 Gateway Housing Project.

The featured clip below (part one), is of an earlier protest at the Cape High Court where residents air their grievances with government’s plans for them. See Part 1 and Part 2 below:

Media: ‘We’ll sleep on court steps’

25 08 2008
19 August 2008
Anna Majavu
Source: Sowetan
More than 100 residents of the Joe Slovo informal settlement in Langa will travel from Cape Town to Johannesburg today to attend the Constitutional Court appeal against the forced removal of 20 000 of their community.

The residents said they were prepared to sleep “on the steps of the Constitutional Court” ahead of the case on Thursday.

The Joe Slovo community has lived next to Cape Town’s N2 highway for about 18 years. Read the rest of this entry »

Facing Mass Eviction, residents of Cape Town’s Joe Slovo settlement gather at SA Constitutional Court 21 August

20 08 2008
***Press Alert*** AEC Communities join residents of the Joe Slovo settlement at SA Constitutional Court 21 August

Threatened with mass eviction, the residents of the Joe Slovo settlement in Langa, Cape Town will be gathering outside of the South African Constitutional Court in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on 21 August at 9am. They are appealing the judgement of High Court Judge Hlophe that would forcibly remove them to Delft, a township on the outskirts of Cape Town, to makeway for the completion of the N2 Gateway Housing Project.

As a national housing project, the N2 Gateway is supposed to provide the residents of informal settlements along the N2, some of the most visible informal settlements in Cape Town, with formal housing. Yet the project’s plans were developed with little community input and when they were announced, provoked strong reaction as they could not accomodate most of the 20,000 residents of Joe Slovo.

When the ministry of housing and their principal agent, Thubelisha Homes, were unwilling to change the project to accomodate all of the residents of Joe Slovo, residents responded by blocking the N2 highway in September 2007. In response, Housing Minister Lindiwe Sisulu sought their removal from this strip of land at the south and east of the Langa township.

Residents challenged the eviction order in court, only to have High Court Judge Hlophe find them illegal occupants of land they have lived on since the early 1990s and determined that they had no reasonable expectation that most of them should be accomodated in the homes to be constructed.

To attend this court case, the residents of Joe Slovo have traveled by train with Delft backyarders who been living on the pavement on Symphony Way for the past six months, opposite the N2 Gateway houses they were evicted from after illegally occupying them in December 2007. They are also joined by the ratepayers of Joe Slovo phase 1 flats, who are currently on a rent boycott to call attention to their high rents and poorly constructed apartments. These communities are also joined by

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign supports these communities impacted by South African government’s failed top-down planning process, epitomized in the N2 Gateway project. In support of the demands of the Joe Slovo residents to have quality and affordable houses built for them where they currently live, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and Abahlali baseMjondolo have also brought representatives from various communities, including Khayelitsha, Delft, Wes Bank, and Mitchell’s Plain. They are also supported by the Landless Peoples Movement.

For more information, contact:
Ashraf Cassiem, Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign 
Mzwanele Zulu, Joe Slovo Task Team - 
S’bu Zikode, Abahlali baseMjondolo -
Maureen Mnisi, Landless Peoples Movement -