eMacambini (KZN) residents blockade rode, over 12 arrested, countless shot, 3 people in critical condition

4 12 2008
Abahlali baseMjondolo and Rural Network
Press Alert Thursday 4 December, 2008 at 13h00
*Statement by the eMacambini community to follow tonight or tommorow*

(Previous press alerts below)

On Nov 26, 2008, the eMacambini community marched about 10km to the Mandeni Municipal offices to protest against the proposed R55 Billion Amazulu World Development Project that threatens to evict more than 10,000 families living in the area.  Residents, living on communal land are members of an indigenous and traditional Zulu community.  Residents presented their grievances to Prof. Musa Xulu who received it on behalf of KZN Premier S’bu Ndebele.  Among other demands in the memorandum was that the Premier must respond to their grievances by the 3rd of December (yesterday).  The Premier has failed to respond and acknowledge the grievances of the community.

As a response, the community had blockaded the Northbound side of the N2 freeway early this morning with rocks and burning tyres for more than six hours.  It was a peaceful and nonviolent action by the community meant only to cause political damage and economic inconvenience.

Police then came and shot 13 people with rubber bullets and then proceeded to arrest a large number of residents.  Three people are now in the hospital in critical condition because of the police’s violent actions against residents.  Of the people arrested, only four people are known to be in the local Inyoni Police Station.  The location of the other people who were arrested is not known at this time.

Residents have now resolved to hold a Community Mass Prayer and Mass Meeting this coming Saturday the 6th of December to chart a way forward.

Residents have opened up a crisis office which is being manned by Rev Mavuso from the Rural Network. You can contact Rev. Mavuso in the crisis office at him at:

You can also contact Rev. Thulani at

Please contact the following people from the Anti-Removal Committee (some may have been shot or arrested or may otherwise be unable to answer their phones:

Moffat Chili:
Herbert Mbambo:
Bheki Lushozi:

For background information, visit the Stockpile of information on the eMacambini/AmaZulu World evictions

For the previous press release by the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee, click here

Read the rest of this entry »

Good news, bad news; a carrot and some shotguns

30 10 2008

A few minutes after receiving news that they qualify for a housing subsidy, Symphony Way residents get terrorised by the police - again!

For photos and video, click here.

Delft Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
30 October, 2008

What the City of Cape Town things about the poor

What the City of Cape Town things about the poor

Today, the Pavement Dwellers of Symphony Way finally met with Brian Denton, the deputy director of the Province’s subsidy registration for the Department of Housing. He confirmed that almost all Symphony residents qualify for a housing subsidy. Yet, despite this good news, residents were invaded by the city of Cape Town’s Land Invasions Unit and police who attempted to open a road that they had officially closed in February. They maintain that even though the road will remain closed, residents were not allowed to block the road. Read the rest of this entry »

The tanks roll in…

30 10 2008

For the AEC press release, click here.

Symphony Way terrorised by the police - again!

Our Word is Our Weapon: While the city of Cape Town intimidates residents with shotguns and tank-like vehicles, the people of Symphony Way respond with their words - and a round of applause.

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

Press Alert: Police intimidate/assault Delft-Symphony Pavement Dwellers. American journalist pepper sprayed for taking photos.

29 06 2008
Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Statement
Sunday 29th June, 2008

Delft-Symphony — Last night at 22h00, three police vans pulled up to Symphony Way dressed in riot gear. Without warning, they began pepper spraying people in the settlement and attempted to arrest a 58 year old resident named Auntie Tilla. When it was all over, the road’s pastor had been assaulted, beaten and abducted and five residents had been pepper sprayed multiple times. An American journalist had also been sprayed merely for taking photographs of police officers. The Anti-Eviction Campaign believes this intimidation and violence is uncalled for and condemns such cowardly actions by police. As of today, residents and the American journalist have laid charges of assault against Superintendent Van Wyk and the police under his command. Pavement Dwellers call on police to work with them to protect them from speeding drunk drivers rather than against them.

The incident began in the late afternoon when a drunk (on-duty) police officer from the Delft police department arrived at the Symphony Way pavement settlement and began to harass residents. Auntie Tilla, a loved and respected elder in the community, was bothered by the officer’s actions and attempted to make a citizen’s arrest for public violence and consumption of alcohol while on-duty. However, after bothering residents, the cop jumped into his car and sped away.

An hour later, a caravan of 3 police vans with over 15 officers arrived in front of Auntie Tilla’s shack and began threatening residents and seeking to arrest them. American journalist, Toussaint Losier likened the police operation to “cowboys jumping out of their vans looking for a fight. Without their name-tags on they had the clear intention of intimidating and assaulting residents”. But residents banded together trying to protect Auntie Tilla from being arrested. As a response, Van Wyk ordered police to pepper spray residents.

Brother Alfred Arnolds, a respected pastor who lives on the road with residents, was sprayed, assaulted, beaten by police and then thrown unconscious into one of the vans. He describes the event as follows: “When they came back it was like they were going to shoot some kind of movie. The way they came at Auntie Tilla and Etienne, I had to intervene…As you can see, this government has no sympathy for us. That is why we are living in these conditions”. Arnolds claims that after he awoke at the police station, he was kicked and beaten again, striped of 150 Rand, and then left injured in from of the station.

Toussaint Losier, a student from the university of Chicago as well as a journalist for the Boston Banner, was was taking pictures of the incident when Superintendent Van Wyk came and pushed the camera out of the way threatening: “you can’t take pictures of police officers conducting their operations…[and added] you shouldn’t be supporting the people on Symphony Way”. Knowing he was protected by South Africa’s constitution, Toussaint identified himself as a journalist and took a picture of an officer shoving a resident. Immediately afterwards, a police officer came right up to him and sprayed him directly in the eyes.

Twenty minutes after the police had abducted Pastor Arnolds, residents marched to the Delft police station where where they were ignored and laughed at by detectives and other policemen. Residents then went all the way to Bellville Police Station where they laid the charges of assault against Superintendent Van Wyk and called for the arrest of the special operations gang of Delft police who were under his command at the time.

While residents wait, hoping the law might finally be on their side, Tilla offered others a bit of perspective on the incident: “Why are they making us live like this when there are empty houses right here [across the road]. They think we are animals, but we are not animals. We know our rights!”

In reality, this unwarranted brutality by Delft police officers is merely part of a larger campaign by provincial and city government to vilify, intimidate and control the families who have nowhere else to go. Residents refuse to leave the road until they are given the houses that have been promised to them for decades. They know that if they leave Symphony Way, they will be swept under the rug, forgotten and stuck in a ‘temporary’ shacks for another ten years. But because they choose to protest and not be silent, they are bearing the brunt of this oppressive government and violent police gangs.

For comment, contact Ashraf at . He can connect you to the witnesses and victims of the crime.

Police caravan arrive to assault residents

Delft-Symphony police assault Anti-Eviction pavement dwellers

For more pictures, click here or contact us at

Mercury: Everyone needs a stake in our society

5 03 2008

Across the country, housing has become the single largest cause of conflict between the state and poor communities
by Imraan Buccus

Source: The Mercury
March 05, 2008 Edition 1

Last week shocking images of the police shooting at Cape Town’s poorest citizens were beamed around the world as the people of Delft were attacked. The damage to the city and the country caused by these images that looked like a flashback to the 1980s is incalculable.

South Africa once had a reputation as a haven of respect for human rights. People came from all over the world to learn from us. Those days are over. The atrocious rates of violence against women, xenophobia, threats to academic freedom, press freedom and the independence of the judiciary, not to mention the widespread corruption of the business and political elite, have robbed us of the moral high ground we briefly held after the negotiated transition.

The tragedy is that the disaster in Delft was widely predicted and could so easily have been avoided. Top-down planning with the aim of removing the poor from the city in advance of the 2010 World Cup had become almost farcical. The Western Cape provincial housing department decided to move 6 000 people from the Joe Slovo shack settlement near the airport (where tourists could see them) to Delft, 30km away, where they would be well hidden from tourists. But the people from Joe Slovo refused to accept forced removal to Delft and the people from Delft were furious that the houses built in their community and promised to them would now be forced on people from outside who didn’t want them. The people from Delft, with the full support of the people from Joe Slovo, occupied the houses in Delft.

The police were sent in to evict the occupiers violently. More than 20, including three children, ended up in hospital. But the police violence has hardly resolved the problem. People in Joe Slovo are still refusing the forced relocation and people in Delft are still homeless. All that has been achieved is that the Delft houses are now empty.

Global experience shows that developing countries need to dedicate between 6% and 10% of their national budgets to housing if they want to meet the needs of their people and avoid major social conflict.

The average developing country devotes 5% of its national budget to housing. Here in South Africa we are spending only 1.5% of the national purse on housing.

Every year the housing backlog grows. Moreover the houses that are being built are largely entrenching apartheid spatial segregation. The apartheid system was condemned for building bleak townships on the urban periphery. But post apartheid housing “delivery” continues to build bleak townships on the urban periphery rather than to develop integrated, compact, vibrant cities with open democratic public spaces like parks, sports and cultural facilities, libraries and so on.

It is therefore unsurprising that across the country housing has become the single largest cause of conflict between the state and poor communities. We have not been immune from this here in Durban. In November 2005 and again in September 2007 images of police shooting at shack dwellers in Clare Estate were also beamed around the world. It is common knowledge that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are both investigating human rights abuses in Durban.

A study of developing countries that have had to confront housing crises reveals three basic responses.

The high road begins with a recognition of the problem, followed by serious budgetary commitments and the creation of a genuine planning partnership between government and the poor. This is the route that cities such as Naga in the Philippines and Curitiba in Brazil have taken.

This kind of bottom-up development creates safe and just cities in which the whole population has a stake. It creates the foundation for genuinely inclusive and sustainable development.

The middle road is denial. Denial of a housing crisis is often accompanied by massive expenditure on prestige projects such as stadia, conference centres, waterfronts, international events and so on in the vain hope that these pockets of extravagance will detract from the poverty and misery slowly engulfing the city.

Baltimore and Cape Town are infamous examples of this approach. Investment in prestige projects and events does not trickle down to the poor and this approach inevitably leads to radically segregated cities with wealth and opulence on one side of the razor wire and poverty and desperation on the other. These cities will never be safe cities.

The low road is to stigmatise the poor and their housing solutions (often by calling them slums) as a threat to society and to make poverty a security issue. Harare is of course the most notorious contemporary example of this descent into what ultimately becomes a war against the poor.

In KwaZulu-Natal the passing of the Elimination of Slums Act last year was a clear indication that this is the direction that the provincial government is now looking towards.

In general South Africa seems to be veering between the middle road and the low road. We can only hope that the tragic events in Delft will be a wake-up call to the state and civil society.

If we do not begin to build just and inclusive cities our future will look a lot more like Delft - bleak, desperate and violent.

For years now the organisations of the poor have been warning us about the direction that our country is taking. We need to begin to listen. We need, fundamentally, to rethink the way we do things and we need to do it urgently.

The cost of continuing on the current path will be ruination. It is essential that we begin to build a society in which everyone has a meaningful stake, in which everyone has basic needs met and in which everyone can express views freely.

DA and police remove tents in Anti-Eviction section of Delft, leave their own tents standing

25 02 2008
Urgent Media Update from the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign
Monday 25 February 2008
DELFT, CAPE TOWN - The Democratic Alliance (DA) controlled City of Cape Town along with scores of heavily armed police have just stolen four large tents donated by Islamic Relief to the homeless, evicted people of Delft, who are currently sleeping outside on Symphony Way.
The DA City of Cape Town claims that these tents are a “fire hazard”.
However, just metres away in the DA Councillor Frank Martin controlled section of Symphony Way, the City has actually provided the same kind of tents for the people. Needless to say, these “fire hazards” have been left standing by the DA.
The Anti-Eviction Campaign is deeply angered. These four tents were supposed to be used for the children to play in, and in case of rain.
This is a good example of how all the political parties are totally against the poor. The ANC said last week that it completely supported the eviction of the Delft residents from the houses they had occupied, even though it knew that these vulnerable people had nowhere to return to.
The DA, who supported the occupation, is now using the police to repress the majority of the Delft residents who have rejected their racist, self-promoting DA Councillor. The DA is now trying to starve these residents into submission by blocking food aid to them and exposing their small babies and children to the elements by removing their tents. However, there are no signs that the residents are willing or interested in giving up their peoples’ power to be used as pawns by the DA.
For comment from the scene please call

Police set up 2 illegal roadblocks in Delft to prevent relief from reaching the people

25 02 2008

Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign Press Alert
Monday 25th February 2008 at 2pm

** Media are called urgently to rush to the scene at Delft **

DELFT, CAPE TOWN - The police have set up two roadblocks on each side of Symphony Way, which is the Delft road being occupied by the 1600 people who were evicted from the occupied houses last week. The police are using the roadblocks to refuse media and relief trucks entrance to the area. Islamic Relief was turned away with a big cargo of food, blankets, tenting and nappies that is desperately needed by the people.

The police are telling the media and the relief trucks that the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) are the ones who refuse to let them inside. This is completely untrue, as the AEC has always been on good terms with the media and all of Cape Town’s charities and relief agencies and has in fact been visiting the relief agencies personally over the past week to call for aid for the Delft residents.

Currently Symphony Way is split into two sections, one affiliated to the AEC and one affiliated to DA Councillor Frank Martin. The majority of the people of Delft are extremely disillusioned with Councillor Frank Martin and have moved to the section of the road affiliated to AEC.

Frank Martin who simply incited people to occupy the houses on the racist basis that it would be unfair for those houses to be given to Black people from Joe Slovo. Thereafter he did nothing to support the people who faced an immediate eviction. He did not contribute in any way to the legal struggle and he has also continued with his racism about housing in SA only being given to “blacks” which is completely untrue and is not in any way what AEC believes. Read the rest of this entry »

Urgent Press Release: Delft homeless are now being evicted from their tents!

24 02 2008

Sunday, 24th February, 2008


The provincial Social Welfare Department and the Democratic Alliance’s Dan Plato are threatening Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) because the charity has put up tents for the recently evicted residents of Delft. They are threatening tear down the tents as we speak.

According to Achmat from IRW: “The Social Welfare department of the province went to the police to lay a charge for the erection of illegal structures. They demanded that IRW remove the structures [tents] immediately”.

Achmat also claims he has received a call form Dan Plato threatening Islamic Relief Worldwide that if they do not remove all tents by tonight, the City of Cape Town with the backing of the police will come in unilaterally and remove it themselves.

For comment and specifics on the threat, please call Achmat from IRW on .

The Anti-Eviction Campaign along with IRW requests anyone concerned to come immediately to Symphony Road in Delft where residents are living. By 19h30, the City of Cape Town is planning to remove the tents and render residents vulnerable once again to the harsh elements of the area.

Pictures of Delft evictions and police brutality

22 02 2008

18 February, 2008 - The day before the evictions

19 February, 2008 - Evictins begin; police open fire on residents.