Police open fire on Cape Town residents resisting eviction

South African police prepare to attack Delft community
South African police prepare to attack Delft community

Following on from previous libcom coverage, South African police opened fire on Delft residents defending their homes from unlawful evictions.

Submitted by Ed on February 20, 2008

The High Court upheld Thubelisha Homes and the state’s eviction order against the community, which the residents decided to appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein.

Last night, about 1000 people, including heavily pregnant women, children, babies and all the activists in the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, occupied the Symphony Road in Delft. The huge group slept on the road all night and are vowing to remain on the road, blocking the area, until the appeal, which will hopefully be today.

As residents and activists began to occupy the road, however, the police opened fire from close range resulting in 20 residents having been injured and rushed to hospital, including the three children. Police brought an estimated 55 dogs into the confrontation as well.

Peoples’ furniture has been almost totally destroyed as police go out of their way to trash it instead of removing it in an orderly fashion. Police are now also trying to drive all the residents off the site away from their furniture. Though Anti-Eviction Campaign co-ordinators have told the police that there is another legal case pending and that they have no authority to evict until the legal process is exhausted, police having been continuing to carry out unlawful evictions against the residents of Delft.

The community has nowhere else to go since all those who occupied the houses in the first place were either backyard dwellers, with no security of tenure in the backyards they were renting, or homeless.

Once the appeal is lodged in the SCA, the group will return to the houses which they consider to be rightfully theirs, having been on the waiting list for 20 years and having been promised this specific group of houses by countless numbers of politicians seeking votes and community's approval for the N2 Gateway project.

For further updates on the story as they happen anyone interested can view the website of the Western Cape Anti-eviction Campaign.


culture jam

16 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by culture jam on February 23, 2008

I visited South Africa last easter. Oppression there is still heavily along racial lines - black children work on building sites for skyscrapers while rich white businessmen live like kings. The black people are shoved into small metal huts whilst the rich live in huge estates.


16 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by truth_speaker on March 5, 2008

Culture Jam, after reading your absurd comment, I just had to sign up to put you straight because I know other people may read it and get the completely wrong idea..

If anything, the apartheid in South Africa is in reverse. White people have far fewer rights than black people now do or any other race for that matter. Just like being a male is for some ridiculous reason now a disadvantage. I wanted to join the airforce when I was younger. You know why it was they wouldn't let me? I was a white male. Nobody is forced into living anywhere anymore. People take what they can - that's just Africa. Have a look at any other African country and tell me how many of them have it better than black people in South Africa. If there is not enough money for housing and properly educating the underprivileged community, it's because the government squanders it on unnecessary rubbish or puts it in their back pockets. You make it sound like white people run that country which now days it complete nonsense. Most white people have left the country because of the discrimination we now face, much like what happened to Zimbabwe. How do you think it is living in a country where everybody wants a piece of you all of your life? Everywhere you go, people expect you to open your wallets and pay them because they're taking the time to beg on the streets or watch your car.

If children are on building sites, that's not white people's fault - that's their parent's fault, for having many children they can't afford. To many African cultures, having children is one way to take the load off their life and make things better for themselves by marrying off their kids or making them work to help support. For another reason it's because they refuse to wear condems when having casual sex, one of the big reasons HIV gets spread around so quickly. These poor HIV kids then grow up with short lifespans needing charity just to survive. It's a completely different culture you don't understand... And it doesn't only happen in South Africa but most of the world.

Most of the highly wealthy white people you see in South Africa (a very small number) are either foreign or have gained their riches through family fortune. How is that any different from the rest of the world in any case? A high percentage of the wealthy businessmen in South Africa are black themselves. Do you think they're about to bend over backwards to help the needy? I left South Africa after feeling like an outsider because almost everything that was decent there, including personal safety and a normal livelihood has gone sour apart from the amazing and beautiful country itself. It's no longer the fit, up-to-date country it once was; it's fallling further behind the rest of the world day by day; and there's one group of people to blame - the absurdly corrupt government who might I add were voted into power by the same people who want everything for free - and that's why, because they made promises and now they won't deliver. If that's not a case of a government elected for an unfit cause, I don't know what is. The ANC are beyond useless and their pea-brained ideas to "help" the country have only brought it to its knees.

So before you make judgments on the country and the people living there maybe you should do some homework and find out why exactly things are that way. Personally I've had e-fu**ng-nuff of people slating me for being a white South African born in the 80's with nothing to do whatsoever with apartheid. Many of the people you see living in those shacks don't want to work because crime is easier and so their children grow up in a similar state with nothing to look up to. They don't have the same sense of what is right or wrong as you or I do and nor do they even care. To change the lives of tens of millions of people who started with nothing in the first case (coming from tribal backgrounds) you need a hell of a lot of money. Where do you think ALL of that money and investment came from? Europe mainly is where. The dutch predominantly invested in making that country what it is, the rest of Africa has come flooding down to try and get a share of it. That has only changed since a decade ago.

So you and others can stop pointing around your finger at everyone you consider to be racist already. We gave up that country in 1998 didn't we now? It's not oppression. Nobody is being "oppressed" anymore other than to some extent white South Africans who are within the law. Forgive my rant, but I get rather heated over this topic when I get the blame for being the "wealthy one" when I'm just a middle class person trying to make an honest living on the skills I've learned like the rest of you.

I am in no way endorsing what the police had done in this article other than following out orders for the government. However, you must understand that very few people have any faith in the police these days, who have proved themselves to be corrupt, untrustworthy, lazy and in some cases purely there for the opportunity of being able to do what they like and get a way with it while being hailed as a protector. It's hard to tell by judging from news reports that may be misleading (not that I'm saying this is). One must remember that news can sometimes be twisted either by the media or the witnesses to make a story and spark people's interest, before the truth comes out to make more news. However, shooting children and trashing these people's possessions is in any case, completely inexcusable and quite shocking and shows the brutality of the police force and their tactics to prove who's boss. I'd like to see them use the same tactics to catch gangsters and I'd also like to find out who gave the order to open fire.