Report on Housing Struggles in Schubart Park and Itereleng
Tuesday 6 April 2010 by Dale
Report on Housing Struggles in Schubart Park and Itereleng (APF Tshwane Region)
On February 25th 2009 residents of Schubart Park marched to the Union Buildings to hand over a memorandum amongst issues the concerned the community were the evictions which affected mostly women and children of the community. This emanates from the July 22, 2008 evictions that took place. It came as a surprise because residents were not notified about the eviction plans. What happened in 2008 is that the red ants (private security company used to evict people), police (metro and SAPS) and officials of the Sheriff arrived in the morning of 22 July 2008 to evict the whole 5 blocks of Schubart and Kruger Park in downtown Pretoria.
The committee of the community SKPRC (Schubart Park Residential Committee) organised the community to resist the evictions. The community responded very well and resisted. Unfortunately there were causalities, five people died during the eviction and scores got injured.
The eviction resulted in the march that took place on the 25th of February 2009. In this march about 60% were women. Also we had amongst the participants about 70% of the youth in this community, there is also striking factor unemployment. 50% of the people are unemployed and as the result we find people resorting to drugs and other criminal activities. We also have a 40% of immigrant community and the community is doing well to avoid the xenophobia matter, the leadership also played a pivotal role Interms of standing against xenophobia.
There was another follow-up march on the 22nd August 2009. In this march we had a big turn out as we also involved again other areas to come and offer solidarity. We again had 60% of women attending our march and again the youth came in numbers. But we also had the older generation coming in their numbers to make sure our voices are being heard.
What we achieved through these marches was positive. We had the memorandum that was submitted to the mayor Dr Gwen Ramokgopa. The mayor decided to formulate a steering committee to look into Schubart Park affairs. Though the steering committee fell apart after some time, efforts were made to form a task team which was smaller and Schubart Park had two representatives. These meetings still take place now and we see progress as some of the concerns of the residents are attended to. But not everything is easy as some of the grievances of the community can’t be met because of the resources of the city which are not adequate to meet the needs of the community.
On Itereleng in Tshwane next to Laudium, this community was evicted two times and the organization (APF) assisted them. The community was evicted on the 11th January 2010 on portion 15. The people moved to position 25 which is next to Itereleng itself. The following day on the 12th they were evicted again and were subseuqently advised by the APF to rebuild their shacks on portion 25 as the eviction were illegally done. Since then no further evictions have taken place and the APF is assisting the community in ongoing court challenges involving Lawyers for Human Rights.
The majority of the community which was affected by the evictions are single women with children. About 70% of the evicted comprised of women. About 20% are women over the age of 50yrs and that is a compounding factor because most of them are unemployed and are not receiving any social grants.
As the APF we considered the matter around evictions and took a decision that we should embark on a landmark legal case which will compel the government to make the land available for the informal settlement in the urban areas. We have managed to assemble a legal team which will be working on the case and are working on bringing town planners onto the team as well.
By Mashao Chauke (APF Tshwane Co-ordinator)