APF

ANC Council targets the poor and foreigners in drive for "world class" city!

Thursday 12 December 2002 by APF

The APF Inner City Anti-Eviction Campaign, alongside residents of the inner city, will hold a march on Saturday 14th December (from 9am) from Alec Gorshel Park in Hillbrow (between Joel & Barnato roads) to the office of the MEC for Housing in downtown Johannesburg. Last night at the Johannesburg City Hall, ANC Mayor of Johannesburg, Amos Masondo, along with members of his Executive Council, held a so-called "meeting with the people" to propagate plans for making Johannesburg a "world class city". What this meeting, which was attended by less than 100 people, clearly revealed is that Masondo and his Council have completely lost touch with the very people they claim to serve.

The APF Inner City Anti-Eviction Campaign, alongside residents of the inner city, will hold a march on Saturday 14th December (from 9am) from Alec Gorshel Park in Hillbrow (between Joel & Barnato roads) to the office of the MEC for Housing in downtown Johannesburg

Last night at the Johannesburg City Hall, ANC Mayor of Johannesburg, Amos Masondo, along with members of his Executive Council, held a so-called “meeting with the people” to propagate plans for making Johannesburg a “world class city”. What this meeting, which was attended by less than 100 people, clearly revealed is that Masondo and his Council have completely lost touch with the very people they claim to serve.

Against the backdrop of the Council’s ongoing campaign of barbaric evictions of poor people across the inner city, Masondo and his minions laid the dominant blame for the city’s social and economic problems at the door of the poor and foreigners. In an outrageous justification for the evictions taking place, it was stated that people who earn less than R3000 per month “cannot afford to live in the inner city”. Evidently, Masondo and his Council want to make Johannesburg a city in their own image - only inhabited by those few who are privileged enough to find themselves on the ‘right’ side of the line of economic apartheid that now dominates the ‘new’ South Africa under the ANC government.

Masondo trotted out the tired old mantra about how the ANC Council is “fighting to improve the lives of our people”. But he had no answer when asked how this can be the case when the same Council is throwing poor people onto the streets, planning to turn condemned buildings into expensive housing and business units, denying the basic human rights of water and electricity to the inner city poor and making business deals for the ‘regeneration of the inner city’ with the very property owners (otherwise known as slumlords) and finance capitalists who are responsible for turning Johannesburg into a hell-hole for the poor who live in it.

Masondo only put his foot further into his mouth when he equated the preponderance of inner city slumlordism, the drug-trade and crime with the presence of foreigners. When challenged to renounce such xenophobic statements, Masondo dug his hole deeper by defending his reactionary viewpoints through more references to the problems of “illegal immigrants”. Obviously, for Masondo and the Council, one’s nationality and/or ethnic origin (like the approach of their apartheid predecessors) is central in determining human socio-economic hierarchies and categorising social relations.

Masondo and the Council are so determined to carry out their ‘world class’ project for Johannesburg that they celebrate their contempt and ignorance of the needs and voices of the majority of residents of the city they run. The APF is equally willing to expose, and fight against, their hypocrisy and betrayal. We demand a public apology by Masondo to the residents of Johannesburg for public statements that have no place in our society. The APF will continue to assist and mobilise the poor majority of the inner city, irrespective of race, nationality or ethnic origin, to resist evictions, cut-offs and brutalisation as well as to struggle for a Johannesburg that belongs to all those who live here.

For more information contact: Dale McKinley on 072 429-4086; or Claire on 082 332-9874


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