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

8 12 2008
(1) Gathering in Symphony Way

(1) Gathering in Symphony Way

(2) Looking for the houses

(2) Looking for the houses

Read the rest of this entry »

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

Kliptown: Occupation of Empty Houses

9 11 2008

Press Statement
6th November 2008


The residents of Kliptown (Soweto) under the banner of the Kliptown Concerned Residents are currently occupying the empty Pimville golf course townhouses. This decision was taken earlier in a mass meeting at the community center, where residents voiced their anger over poor service delivery and housing. The hundred year old informal settlement has been consistently ignored by the African National Congress government since it took power in 1994. Although Kliptown residents have undertaken many actions to highlight their plight, the government has chosen to play political games with the poor residents. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Shelter for the poor in landmark eviction ruling

14 10 2008
by Stuart Wilson
Source: Business Day

THE days of quick and easy money for property investors in the inner city may be over. The Johannesburg High Court recently handed down judgment in the case of Blue Moonlight Properties 39 versus the occupiers of Saratoga Avenue and another.

Judge Thokozile Masipa held that the High Court could not consider an application for the eviction of 80 desperately poor people living in disused warehouses and workshops in Saratoga Avenue, Berea. It could decide on the application only after the city of Johannesburg had reported to the court what it would do to rehouse the occupiers and when such action would be taken. Read the rest of this entry »

Backyard dwellers take their defiance campaign to social services

23 09 2008
Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Alert
23 September, 2008 at 13h10
Gugulethu — Backyard dwellers from Gugulethu, Nyanga and Langa have now decided to occupy the social services building in Gugulethu to protest against the city’s refusal to release empty land for landless residents of the area and also to highlight the government’s refusal to provide basic flood relief for backyard dwellers in the area.
The scene is tense and backyard dwellers of all ages remain defiant.  Residents have already march to the MEC for Housing, attempted to occupy empty land three times, and march to the Mayor as well. 
Say residents: we know that we deserve services, that wedeserve land, that we deserve housing. We vow to stay in the building distrupting services until the government agrees to support our demands
We will not go down without a fight!
Amandla Ngawethu!
For more information, contact

Media: Backyard dwellers moved at gunpoint

22 09 2008
By Mandisi Tyulu
22 September 2008
Source: Bush Radio

About 300 backyard dwellers have returned to the open piece of land on Lansdowne Road, next to the Fezeka municipal buildings and are going to start building their shacks there.

The community has twice tried to occupy this land, yesterday and last weekend, and the dwellers were on both times driven away at gunpoint by the police and metro cops.

Anti Eviction Campaign co-coordinator Mncedisi Twalo says this is very unjust as they have with them their “red cards” showing that they joined the housing waiting list many years ago, and besides, they have been promised this piece of land as backyarders by many different politicians especially just before elections.

“The community has vowed to go to the land every day and try to erect their shacks, until they succeed in getting the right to live on the land permanently”.

Guguletu AEC marched today on Helen Zille’s office

9 09 2008

September 9, 2008
Gugulethu AEC Press Statement

CAPE TOWN - The Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign marched on Helen Zille’s office at noon today.

We are angered that backyard dwellers in Gugulethu continue to live in overcrowded, inhumane conditions. Despite the fact that we have carried out an exhaustive audit of Gugulethu backyard residents who have been on the waiting list for housing for more than 20 years, we have yet to be offered housing.

We live in backyards, with up to 8 families in one backyard. We always get flooded out every time it rains but the city and province do not provide us with any relief because they seem to see us as private tenants.

We are demanding the same food parcels, blankets and building materials that are supplied to residents in informal settlements.

We also want back the building materials that the metro police stole from us on the weekend. This was when we identified an empty piece of land and tried to move on to it. We have every right to do this because the government has failed for 20 years to provide us with houses.

for more information contact Mncedisi Twalo on

Rubbish dumped in MEC’s garden

8 09 2008
By Aziz Hartley
September 08 2008 at 10:39AM
Source: Cape Times

Housing MEC Whitey Jacobs faced the ire of some Gugulethu, Nyanga and Langa backyard dwellers who marched to his house in Gugulethu and dumped their refuse in his garden.

The backyarders kept a promise they made in August when they invaded a piece of land off Lansdowne Road on Saturday, but Metro Police arrived and blocked their progress.

Incensed, the 300 people walked a kilometre to Jacobs’s house, emptied rubbish bins in his garden and demanded he address their housing concerns.

“People decided to go to the MEC’s house in Malunga Park near the Gugulethu police station. We collected rubbish bins on the way and waited for the MEC as we wanted to show him we mean business. He came with bodyguards and lots of police. He appeared upset when we told him how long people waited for houses,” said Mncedisi Twalo, Gugulethu chairperson of the Anti-eviction Campaign. Read the rest of this entry »

Pictures and Video: Backyard dwellers march on MEC’s home

8 09 2008

Backyard Dwellers of Gugulethu, Nyanga, New Crossroads and Langa occupy empty land just of Landsdowne Rd in Gugulethu

6 09 2008

Update on this weekend’s attempted land occupation:

While attempting to occupy vacant land in Gugulethu (see original statement below), residents were interrupted by over 50 police officers who, at gun point, illegally stole residents’ building materials and threatened to attack residents if they resisted.  Angry about the situation, residents decided to march on Housing MEC Whitey Jacob’s home in the upscale Malunga Park area of Gugulethu.

In order to get the attention of Jacobs who, like his predecessor, has not been listening to the grievances of Cape Town’s poor, residents decided to clean up the trash from a near-by informal settlement and place it in front of the MEC’s home.  After Jacob’s arrived in his brand-new volvo SUV with his body-guard and four police vehicles at his side, he was presented with this attached memorandum.

Once Jacobs agreed to engage with residents at their weekly meetings, residents decided to clean up all the trash as a good-will gesture.  But angry residents warned the MEC that if he continues with the anti-poor policies and the authoritarian approach of his predecessor, more mass action will take place.

For your interest, here are some pictures of the march and peaceful protest at the MEC’s home and a short video with some Toyi-Toying.


On a more humorous note:

The MEC asked the Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign for the physical address of the Gugulethu branch of movement.  Residents replied that the address is the Gugulethu Sports Complex where they hold their weekly mass meetings.  Confused, the MEC replied that as an organisation, the AEC must have an office of some kind.  But residnets were adamant: We are not an organisation, we are a social movement.  We exist only because residents attend our actions. We don’t have an office. Our meeting places is the Sports Complex, and if you want to correspond with us, you must come to our mass meetings held there every Sunday.  Because the MEC has no understanding of working with the people instead of on their behalf, he is oblivious on how to engage with residents of Gugulethu.  Hopefully, at our meeting next sunday, we can teach him a thing or two about democracy.


Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
Saturday September 6, 2008 at 12:30

Gugulethu – After attempting to highlight pervasive corruption in the allocation of housing by occupying empty flats in a Langa housing development last month, Backyard Dwellers are now taking action against the City and the Province by occupying empty land in Gugulethu.

While all different levels of government continue to refuse to allocate well-located land to shackdwellers, backyarders and other poor people, government officials see no problem releasing land for new Shoprite developments, malls, golf-courses, and other big-business oriented “urban renewal projects”. Officials continue to claim that there is no open land in Cape Town. Yet this city has one of the highest rates of urban sprawl and has more open land than most big cities in the Global South.

Even though the South African government doesn’t seem to understand this hypocrisy, backyard dwellers (some of whom have been on the waiting list for over 20 years) no longer have the patience stay cramped up in peoples backyards any longer. This is why Anti-Eviction Backyard Dwellers from Gugulethu, Nyanga, New Crossroads and Langa have decided to take matters into their own hands.

The AEC Backyard Dwellers are currently setting up their new informal homes in Gugulethu just off of Landsdowne Rd. The ELF# for the piece of land is RR448. Press and well-wishers are invited to come to the scene immediately to support the residents in their action to secure a livelihood for themselves and their families.

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign would also like to use this action to welcome Mr Whitey Jacobs, the MEC for Housing in the Western Province, to his new job. We hope that he will have the political courage and humility to listen to the words of Cape Town’s poor and oppressed rather than follow the demands of his bosses and the private sector.

The poor must claim their right to drive the so-called Peoples Housing Process.

Power to the poor people!

For more information and for directions, please contact Mncedisi Twalo at