Today, Monday 27 July 2020, the Singabalapha community at 414 Main Road in Observatory will be in the Cape High Court in its bid to finalise an interdict to prevent the City of Cape Town from harassing and evicting us. We have been living at 414 Main Road since October last year and the City has over the past few months sent Law Enforcement to harass us, threaten us with eviction and make life even more difficult for us during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Illegal evictions during lockdown
Instead of helping Cape Town’s poor, the City has been at odds with many people and organisations which are trying to improve their own living conditions.
During the Covid-19 lockdown, The City has, through agencies such as their so-called "Law Enforcement", continually harassed and evicted land reoccupations and informal settlements all around Cape Town. Among these we can mention the following: Hangberg, eMpolweni/eThembeni (Khayelitsha), Du Noon, Mfuleni, Driftsands, Vryground and many others. Law Enforcement has been acting in contravention of C-19 regulations banning evictions and in contempt the Constitution which olds that no one can be evicted without an order of the court.
After evicting us in October, the CPOA demolished the Arcadia Building which stood at 414 Main Road in order to sell half the land to developers and build a new building on the other half. We ended up moving onto the grass area in front of the building and contructed our homes there.
In April, the city tried to force us to "relocate" to the concentration camp it has built in Strandfontein. The same camp which has now been closed after much condemnation by progressive organisations and homeless inmates of the camp alike. The City of Cape Town is racist in its approach and does not even acknowledge its wrongdoings. How can we trust a government that is too arrogant to even admit its mistakes?
Despite our homes making up the Singabalapha Informal Settlement, the City sent its Law Enforcement to fine us R300-R1,000 for imaginary bylaws contraventions that do not even apply to informal settlements. The City has used very similar harassment tactics against homeless people in recent years. Only last year, this harassment tactic was found to be illegal in the Gelderblom v City of Cape Town case.
The City of Cape Town has been receiving a lot of bad press and condemnation from progressive organisations and poor/working class residents who are the subject of its actions. But the people who run this city do not seem concerned with any of this. They continue pushing their agenda of overcrowded segregated settlements far away from the inner city and wealthy suburbs.
Singabalapha, by occupying housing and land in the suburbs, is a model for what is the government calls “Integrated Human Settlements”. It is clear that this City is always pushing the poor to the peripheries. It would rather go to the court and waste lots of money instead of working to build housing for the poor in the inner city. City of Cape Town is fighting tooth and nail so that no poor Black people will be accommodated in the CBD and the wealthy suburbs. They pushing this agenda through JP Smith’s Law Enforcement, an organisation that the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, has described as "criminals in uniform".
Issued by Singabalapha Community