The Anti Privatisation Forum (APF) supports the Joe Slovo Residents Constitutional Court appeal against mass eviction

Thursday 21 August 2008 by Dale


STATEMENT - 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.

While poor communities across our country continue to face a housing and basic services crisis, government continues to act as if there is no crisis. When those communities, like Joe Slovo, raise their voices and directly confront and challenge the government, they are treated like undesirables and criminals. On the other hand, big business and private housing developers are privileged (witness the recent retreat of government on the expropriations legislation in the face of protests from big capital) and given carte blanche as the effective privatisation of land for housing proceeds unabated. The accumulated result of the past ten years of such neo-liberal policy implementation is a national housing crisis and a government that is out of touch with the people it so arrogantly claims to care for and represent. The Joe Slovo Constitutional Court appeal is yet another bell weather as to whether or not all who live in this country enjoy, in practical terms, equal rights under the Constitution.

Just yesterday (20th August), the residents of Lotus Garden in Pretoria marched to the City of Tshwane over land that is earmarked for the development of RDP houses in Lotus Gardens Extension 2. This follows many rejected attempts by the residents to get the City of Tshwane to respond to their housing needs. Not so long ago, there were unlawful evictions instituted by the City of Tshwane in removing the poor residents of Schubart and Kruger Park from their flats (which resulted in the tragic death of several people from a fire in one of the buildings). Instead of working with, and listening to, residents, whether in Schuburt Park or Joe Slovo, government chooses to oppose and fight. What kind of democracy is this?

As long as the government’s housing and land policies continue to be framed by a macro-economic policy that marginalises the poor, and which relies on the private sector as the ultimate driver and beneficiary of such policies, the present crisis is only going to get worse. The APF joins the residents of Joe Slovo and many other communities, in the collective struggle against evictions and for equal rights and decent housing for all.

Contact: Silumko Radebe @ 0721737268 or 0113338334

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