Cape Town: Police wade in on Joe Slovo shackdwellers blockade

Report by Cape Town Anti-War Coalition
Published: 11/09/07

all photos by Martin Legassick

8:30 am Monday 10 Sept
12:41 pm Monday 10 Sept
1 pm Monday 10 Sept
8:19 am Monday 10 Sept commentary

Joe Slovo Shackdwellers Task Team Press Statement

8:30am
Monday 10th September 2007

Joe Slovo Shackdwellers Statement on N2 Highway Blockade

LANGA, CAPE TOWN - More than one thousand residents from Joe Slovo informal settlement on the N2 highway near the Cape Town airport, have blockaded the highway since 4:30am this morning.

The residents are protesting their imminent forced removal to the wasteland of Delft, over 30kms away. They have held the highway for almost 5 hours and are refusing to move.

“We are angry. We want RDP house in Joe Slovo. We want the Department of Housing to stop moving our people to Delft. We refuse to be moved there. It is far from our workplaces and also from places where we look for work. Those of us who are not getting paid undecent salaries are spending every day looking for work. We can’t and won’t move. The government took this decision without consulting us and now they must change it,” said Mzwanele from the Joe Slovo Task Team.

More than 30 Joe Slovo residents have been seriously injured by police who shot them with rubber bullets at very close range. These residents have been taken to the Bonteheuwel Day Hospital.

Currently, police helicopters are flying overhead. The residents have refuse to move off the highway and traffic into Cape Town is totally blocked.

The residents are facing off against about 150 police who are standing just opposite on the other side of the highway. They say they are waiting for the Minister of Housing Lindiwe Sisulu to come down and respond to their memorandum. The residents have also been told that Dan Plato, City Director of Housing is coming to meet them.

For comment call Mzwanele from the Joe Slovo Task Team on 076 3852369


Another update from Joe Slovo - Police casspirs opening fire on shacks

Cape Town Anti War Coalition

Mon, September 10, 2007 12:41 pm
LANGA, CAPE TOWN

The community is off the highway but they have occupied a piece of land in Joe Slovo and are refusing to move until the arrested residents have been released. There are currently 6 police hippos threatening this peaceful demonstration.

Just about one hour ago, the police gave the protestors 20 seconds to disperse and then opened fire randomly.

News from an eyewitness who was in Joe Slovo informal settlement since 3am this morning is that when people first started occupying the N2 highway at about 3:30am this morning, the police arrived swiftly. They set up a cordon along the N2 and then started firing indiscriminately into Joe Slovo settlement.

The casspirs then drove inside Joe Slovo and again opened fire on the shacks. The entire Joe Slovo is made up of shacks. Inside the shacks were many people who could not take part in the protest, like mothers with babies, the old and infirm. They would have been targeted by these bullets.

For comment call Mzwanele from the Joe Slovo Task Team on 076 3852369


Press update on the situation in Joe Slovo, N2 highway blockade

Cape Town Anti War Coalition

Monday September 10th 2007 1pm

The situation in Joe Slovo informal settlement alongside the N2 highway in Cape Town is absolutely terrible.

A heavily armed police force shot many more people at close range with rubber bullets (which are only supposed to be shot from a distance of more than 50 metres).

They shot women and children and people are seriously injured. The police have instructed the hospitals not to admit any Joe Slovo residents.

The police have now forced the residents off the highway. The City and National Housing politicians failed to come to Joe Slovo to accept the memorandum.

Dozens of residents have been arrested and the police are refusing to say where they have taken these residents even though some are injured. Some are in Langa police station and nobody knows where the others are.

Other community activists from Anti-Eviction Campaign have rushed to the scene.


“They are fighting against us because we are the poor” said Mncedisi Twala of the Gugulethu Backyard Dwellers Association.

For comment call Mzwanele from the Joe Slovo Task Team on 076 3852369


Anti-War statement on N2 highway blockade by 1000 shackdwellers

Cape Town Anti War Coalition
Mon, September 10, 2007 8:19 am

The people of Joe Slovo settlement in Langa, Cape Town are currently blockading the N2 highway next to the camp. Over 1000 residents have taken this drastic step after many months of false and broken promises by the state. The residents marched on 21 sept last year (2006) to provincial housing minister, Dyantye, they were met with no response; several fruitless meetings were held with him but the essential dispute remained: the people want development to be people-driven, not top-down, capitalist basis. The people want adequate RDP houses, not bond houses. The people of Joe Slovo want to stay in Langa, ie close to employment and school opportunities, not to be dumped on the outskirts of the city in Delft;

The residents marched to national minister of housing on 3 Aug this year and even though they promsed to respond to the residents within 7 days, they only issued a statement to the press and did not even meet the people.

The people of Joe Slovo are part of the millions in the country who are realising that the post-1994 democracy is a bosses’- and by implication an anti-working class -democracy.

Their immediate demand is that the members of parliament come to the N2 where they are and to address their concerns. If we lived in a real democracy, there should be a window-period where the masses can exercise their right of recall over all mp’s, who are not delivering on the demands of the masses. All the people ask is that the MP’s cross the road to Langa, and not be concerned over opportunistic ‘cross’titutes’ who put self interest above the interest of the people.

It is ironic that the people of Joe Slovo settlement are merely demanding the implimentation of erstwhile Housing Minister, Joe Slovo’s promises to the people, only to be met by rubber bullets and arrests.

The demand remains: adequate housing for all, close to the centre of the cities; no to forced removal to slums on the outskirts of the city!

for further information at the scene:

Mzwanele ph 0763852369 ends/........... [10. 09. 07]09h00