[Hpn] Squatters' Shacks Destroyed in SAfrica: Homeless Desperate for Land in SAfrica

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@hotmail.com
Thu, 12 Jul 2001 11:28:35 -0400


Below is a forward of an article regarding the ongoing struggles of people 
who are poor, landless and homeless in South Africa. At the bottom of the 
article is a link for a recent article as well.

Following the forwarded article are Web addresses for related Web sites from 
which to seek additional information.

Morgan <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont

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-------Forwarded article-------

Thursday July 12 9:53 AM ET
Squatters' Shacks Destroyed in SAfrica
<http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010712/wl/south_africa_land_2.html>

By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press Writer

BREDELL, South Africa (AP) - About 100 workers with crowbars began tearing 
down shacks Thursday on a tract of land near Johannesburg, which had been 
illegally occupied by squatters.

Several thousand poor South Africans had erected a camp of corrugated tin 
shacks at Bredell, about 12 miles northeast of Johannesburg on land that is 
owned by the government, a state utility and a private company, saying they 
were tired of waiting for the government to give them a place to live.

The government won a court order Tuesday allowing them to evict the 
squatters after 48 hours, and most packed up their belongings and left. 
However, a few hundred continued to defy the order to move Thursday, saying 
they had no place else to go.

The teams of workers, who were watched over by scores of heavily armed 
policemen, met with no resistance as they ran through the camp quickly 
prying apart the wood and tin shacks and ripping up tarps, leaving the 
material where it lay.

Some workers wore riot helmets and carried shields.

Martha Mabunda sat on a can amid the wreckage of what a few minutes before 
had been her home, guarding her family's meager possessions - clothes, 
kitchen utensils and a television piled up on a metal bed frame.

She said she had come from a nearby township with her husband, sister and 
baby, and that they had paid more than $60 for the site, transport costs and 
building materials.

``Now we have no money to go back,'' she said. ``I'm angry, because I want 
to live here. I have no home.''

A few hundred squatter protested about 500 yards away from where the 
demolition was taking place.

``This is quite unacceptable. If this is how in this country we're going to 
resolve problems, then where is South Africa going?'' said Siphiwe Ngomane, 
a field worker with the National Land Committee, a group lobbying for the 
rights of the landless.

Earlier Thursday, church leaders met with government officials in a bid to 
find alternative accommodation for the squatters before they were forcibly 
removed, but no solution was reached.

The dispute began two weeks ago, when members of the opposition Pan 
Africanist Congress began collecting $3 each from thousands of poor people 
and giving them small parcels of the land.

The government immediately condemned the PAC as political opportunists and 
said they had no legal right to sell land that was not theirs.

PAC officials said the poor people of South Africa had a right to land and 
the money they collected was for a fund to provide utilities to the area.

Motsoko Pheko, the party's deputy president, who was on the scene Thursday, 
said squatters were being advised not to provoke the police or resist the 
eviction violently.

``All we are saying here is please give these people a place where they can 
go,'' he said. ``We are not here to break any law, we are not here to 
provoke anybody. It's life and death here ... people are hungry here, people 
are homeless here, people are landless here.''

Last week, police arrested 110 people for trespassing on the land.

Last month, the government said it had built 1.1 million low-cost homes, 
providing more than 5 million people with shelter, water and sanitation, 
since it gained power in the country's first all-race elections in 1994. 
However, 7.5 million South Africans still lack proper homes.

Some analysts said the government responded so harshly to combat fears South 
Africa would be viewed as another Zimbabwe, where ruling party militants 
have occupied thousands of white-owned farms amid a breakdown of law and 
order.


Earlier Stories
Homeless Desperate for Land in SAfrica (July 11) 
<http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/ap/20010711/wl/south_africa_land_1.html>

---End of forwarded article---

~~~Related Web sites -- FYI:

National Land Committee:

http://www.nlc.co.za/


Pan Africanist Congress:

http://www.paca.org.za/


African National Congress (ANC):

http://www.anc.org.za/

-- The majority party in South Africa's Government


Unwembi's Resource of South African Government Information:

http://www.polity.org.za/

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**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**

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-------End of forward-------

Morgan <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA



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