[Debate] (Fwd) Protests: masses v Manuel, Warwick police battle, Malekane funeral, Slovo judgement, post-xeno in CT?, Rhodes class struggle, Alex petit-bourgeoisie v capital, Niger democrats v regime, Peruvians v mine
pbond at mail.ngo.za
Tue Jun 16 06:49:27 BST 2009
Cosatu, SACP and business denounce Manuel
June 16, 2009 Edition 1
COSATU and the SA Communist Party have lashed out at National Planning
Commission head Trevor Manuel for suggesting unions were relying too
heavily on strike action to push for social change.
Manuel made the comments at last week's World Economic Forum meeting in
Cape Town, where he also criticised business. That earned him a rebuke
from the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which said his
comment that "cowards in business" were not providing the necessary
counterweight to unions' power was "unwarranted".
The row escalated yesterday as Cosatu and the SACP both weighed in
against Manuel for having accused unions of abusing their right to call
strikes over broad socio-economic issues under section 77 of the Labour
The SACP said it found his remarks "deeply offensive, insensitive and
against government's commitment to the creation of decent work as the
core pillar of economic policy".
Cosatu said Manuel's comments were "at variance with ANC policy".
Their attack comes after Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan was
publicly chastised by party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe for
suggesting that financially ailing state-owned enterprises could not be
supported indefinitely by bailouts and might have to be sold.
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said that Manuel's comments were "if
anything even at more variance with ANC policy" than Hogan's.
Craven said ANC policy was firmly in support of trade union and workers'
rights under the labour laws. "So why has he (Manuel) not therefore been
similarly castigated for expounding policies that have never been agreed
to by the party?"
He said Cosatu urged both Manuel and Hogan to "publicly withdraw their
remarks, and to return to the job they were deployed to do - implement
the rapid socio-economic development of South Africa for the benefit of
all its citizens, blacks in general and Africans in particular".
Craven said section 77 provided for resolving disputes over
socio-economic issues such as electricity tariff hikes or privatisation
through negotiations at Nedlac. "Only after a failure to agree has been
registered by Nedlac can the unions stage protest action."
SACP spokesman Malesela Maleka said Manuel was using "post-Polokwane
alliance relations to try and silence working class organisations".Daily
Five hurt as rubber bullets fired
Market traders, police clash
June 16, 2009 Edition 1
FIVE people sustained minor injuries yesterday when traders at the Early
Morning Market in Durban's Warwick Junction clashed with metro police
officers as tensions between the traders and the city continued to simmer.
The traders claimed they were attacked without provocation, while the
metro police said they had been forced to fire rubber bullets to contain
traders trying to force their way into the market.
The eThekwini Municipality was accused of defying a court order
permitting traders access to the market.
While the city said that only traders without permits were not allowed
entry yesterday, the traders claimed that permit holders had also been
barred from the market site.
On Saturday, the traders applied for a court order preventing the city
from closing the market or denying entry to all traders. Their lawyers
argued that the city had been accepting rent for the stalls even from
people who did not have licences and questioned why they were being
barred from trading there.
The order was granted by Durban High Court Judge King Ndlovu and would
be valid until this Friday. However, it was in dispute whether the order
applied to all traders or just to those with trading permits and, while
the market would be open tomorrow, the matter remained unresolved.
The city's Business Support Unit head, Phillip Sithole, said the city
had not been in contempt of court in acting yesterday because the order
granted to the traders only applied to those with permits.
Metro police spokeswoman Joyce Khuzwayo said officers had been forced to
use rubber bullets when the traders tried to force their way into the
market without producing trading permits. She said three people had been
arrested on public violence charges.
"The traders without licences outnumbered those with permits and tried
to force their way in. They were a stronger force and we were forced us
to use rubber bullets," she said.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha said five people had sustained minor
injuries and were taken to Addington Hospital.
Roy Chetty, of Durban, said he had been walking past the market when he
saw the police cordon off the area. He said traders with licences had
moved into the market's parking area on the officers' orders when they
were "viciously attacked" without provocation.
"It happened quickly. The traders weren't being violent. The police
jumped over the boundary wall and started shooting. People were shot in
the face and some in the back," Chetty said.
The conflict between the city and traders is over a proposed
multimillion-rand development of Warwick Junction, which would include a
shopping mall. The traders are opposed to relocating to make way for the
mall, which they argue would destroy their livelihoods.
eThekwini council in trouble with the law
15 June 2009, 14:56
The eThekwini municipality has been accused of defying a court order
after it locked traders out of the Early Morning Market on Monday
despite the Durban High Court ruling that they can trade.
Chaos broke out when metro police officers fired rubber bullets to
disperse hundreds of people who wanted to break the market gate after
the municipality prevented traders without valid permits from entering.
Two traders were injured by rubber bullets and were taken to hospital.
Senior Superintendent Joyce Khuzwayo said:"The municipality has made it
clear that it wants to sort out the issue of people who do not have
permits. The traders then decided to adopt the 'injury to one is injury
to all' strategy."
The city locked out hundreds of traders after it emerged that many were
trading without permits. The court at the weekend ruled that traders be
granted occupation and possession of their stalls.
"As far as we know, the court stated that we should be allowed to trade
but the council has sent police to shoot at us. The city is defying the
court order and that is very sad," said traders" spokesperson Roy Chetty.
Khuzwayo said the municipality was sorting out the issue of permits by
arranging another venue for traders.
"Traders are being removed from the market to make way for the
multi-million rand development of Warwick Junction which will include a
mall," she said.
She said it was important for the municipality to ensure that all
traders had permits so that they would be provided with an alternative
place to do business. - Sapa
‘Comrades’ give cops a scare
15 June 2009
STRUGGLE ON: Jacob Malakane, who was buried at the weekend, was
allegedly shot dead by the police during a riot in Lydenburg. Residents
carried his casket high during the funeral proceedings.
THE police literally ran away from a huge crowd chanting slogans during
the funeral of Jacob Malakane, who was allegedly shot dead by the police
during a protest march last week.
A large contingent of police was on duty outside the Mashishing police
station near Lydenburg, watching thousands of mourners who packed the
local community hall on Saturday morning.
The “comrades” gathered near the hall chanting the slogan: “Siyabangena!
Siyabangena! (We are penetrating them)” as the huge crowd approached the
police near the station.
Uniformed police started scattering into the police station yard to
avoid a violent confrontation with the angry crowd.
In the hall Malakane was hailed as a hero who died for the truth and
speaker after speaker accused the police of brutality for using live
ammunition to disperse a protest march more than a week ago.
Malakane family spokesman Marcus Mashego said the family wanted the
policeman who killed Malakane brought to book.
“We all know who killed our brother,” Mashego said. “He is a policeman
and owed this man money, so he took advantage of the situation to shoot
Malakane’s death came as the community marched against the Thaba Chweu
municipality after the alleged disappearance of R3,2million from the
municipality’s main account.
Bushbuckridge executive mayor Milton Morema donated R10000 to the
Malakane family in his condolence call on Thursday.
The deficiency of reality in the Joe Slovo judgment
15 June 2009
The highest Court in South Africa has decided the fate of the 20 000 Joe
Slovo informal settlement residents to be evicted to Delft to make way
for the N2 Gateway housing project, in what is a disappointing and
frustrating judgment that orders their eviction, albeit on the proviso
that engagement occurs and that certain mitigating measures are undertaken.
Two years spent battling the possibility of this mass eviction has
ultimately resulted in a naïve patch-up job by the Constitutional Court,
whose actions have allowed the government to make appallingly
triumphalist statements like “a better life beckons for the people of
Joe Slovo informal settlement. The Court has pronounced its judgment,
and the biggest winners are the families who will soon put the misery of
shack dwelling behind them.” What shameless spin and utter nonsense.
What follows can be described as a personal ‘insider’ reaction to the
judgment and why it is disturbing, given what many already know to be
the sad reality of the N2 Gateway project and what I have learnt over
the last two years being involved in the case. In many respects I am
most likely preaching to the converted. It was written in response to a
preliminary reading of the judgment and does not constitute a rigorous
academic or legal analysis of it. Indeed, I doubt anyone has yet to
fully digest all 220 pages of the judgment and in the next few weeks and
months it remains to be seen how the engagement process between the
parties will play itself out. There is surely much incisive analysis and
commentary still to come.
What I argue below is that despite the Court’s ordering of meaningful
engagement and the provision of alternative accommodation for all Joe
Slovo residents, the reality is that the N2 Gateway project was never
conceived or implemented in a reasonable manner, and the mass eviction
sought in its name is thus unreasonable. There are manifold reasons for
this and I will touch on the socio-economic impact of eviction to Delft;
government’s persistent misunderstanding of informal settlement
upgrading; the numerous flaws with the N2 Gateway project as described
by its provincial project manager and recently exposed by an
Auditor-General’s report; the choice of Delft as a site of temporary
relocation and the reality of life in Delft TRAs; problems with the
deeply political bent of the project; and what N2 Gateway looks like at
Joe Slovo at present. Finally, the deeply problematic belief (which the
Court has seemingly adopted) will be discussed, which implies that
simply because there is a ‘good’ end (in this case the delivery of some
low-cost housing), there is justification for top-down, bureaucratic and
unacceptable means that render many people worse off.
The Joe Slovo case and judgment(s)
Sitting in the Constitutional Court and listening to Justice O’Regan
read out the order, one got the sense of a Court completely naive and
out of touch with reality, failing at its duty to adjudicate on
socio-economic rights compromised by bad implementation of wrongly
interpreted government policy. The Court refused to condemn the eviction
of Joe Slovo residents to Delft, which will result in an uncertain
future for them in so-called ‘temporal housing’ (basically, government
shacks) managed by that defunct and debatable “national public entity”
called Thubelisha Homes. Lest we forget that this agency is now
The Court, unwittingly or not, has effectively allowed government to get
away with a national project that was misconceived from the start,
described by many as merely a grandiose ‘vanity project’; implemented
with no consultation or bottom-up planning; and which is contrary to the
spirit and letter of national housing law and policy and the
Constitution. This, despite it being the pilot project for the Breaking
New Ground (BNG) housing plan.
This failure is sadly true for every one of the five judgments, despite
agonising individual attempts by Yacoob, Moseneke, Ngcobo, Sachs and
O’Regan to defend their devastating ‘consensus’ to grant the eviction
order. The order is highly problematic, regardless of the mitigating
efforts made by the Court to render the eviction more “humane”, by
ordering ongoing meaningful engagement, setting standards for the
alternative accommodation at Delft and stipulating the 70% allocation
for current and former Joe Slovo residents.
There is perhaps an element of sympathy with the Court’s predicament -
this was obviously not a straightforward case for them to adjudicate.
The legal strategy of the applicants was to argue this highly complex
case on the most winnable legal points, which also happened to be rather
technical, arguing that the residents had tacit consent to occupy the
land, were thus lawful occupiers and were entitled to adequate notice
before their eviction, which never occurred. Therefore, there are no
grounds to evict. Given the nature of the case and that of the Court,
this tactic was not necessarily wrong. However, it has unfortunately
resulted in over 220 pages of a judgment which still condones a mass
eviction (including 25 pages spent by Justice Yacoob agonisingly
unpacking the nature of ‘consent’).
It should be stated at this point that the above comments in no way
serve to bolster recent criticisms made by Judge Hlophe (who initially
ordered the eviction of the residents in the Cape High Court with no
regard for their predicament or provision of mitigating measures). He
attacked the Constitutional Court for their long judgments and the
“complex and scholarly” manner in which they write them, stating that
the Court has a responsibility to write simple and accessible judgments
which can be understood by ordinary people. While this is undoubtedly an
enduring problem with the judiciary and needs to be addressed urgently,
it is rather a cheap shot from Hlophe. Most likely Joe Slovo residents
did not really care that when their eviction was ordered by him it was
done in a short, “simple and accessible” judgment. Content that favours
“ordinary people” is surely as important as the form it takes.
During the hearing, the Court expressed some distaste at the technical
line of argument followed, in a case they viewed as so clearly being
about more complex issues of justice and equity. The amici curiae
submission by the Community Law Centre (CLC) and Centre on Housing
Rights and Evictions (COHRE) attempted to counter this ‘deficiency of
reality’ by providing the Court with insight into how the N2 Gateway
project runs contrary to international best practice and South African
housing law and policy, explaining why the temporary relocation areas
(TRAs) in Delft do not constitute adequate alternative accommodation for
Joe Slovo residents considering their lived reality, and stressing the
lack of meaningful engagement throughout the project.
However, this information came to the Court as ‘an aside’ in a sense,
and they clearly did not it into account sufficiently. Likewise,
information known by those actively working on the project, like the
provincial project manager I will mention below and that which has
emerged from the Auditor-General’s report, was never going to make it to
the Court. Thus its ability to properly or fully decide whether an
eviction would be “just and equitable”, given the realities of how and
why the socio-economic rights of Joe Slovo residents are affected by
misinterpreted government policy and its thoroughly flawed
implementation, was constrained by its focus on addressing, and
rebutting on the whole, the technical arguments presented.
And yet there are many reasons why the Court should not have granted the
eviction order. While conducting research for the amici submission on
the socio-economic impact of the removal to Delft, as well as how and
why the N2 Gateway project looks the way it does, I came to several
Socio-economic impact of eviction to Delft
Firstly, it is clear that the lives of Joe Slovo residents will be
severely disrupted if they are forced to move to Delft. This conclusion
is not simply an academic one, but emerges from hundreds of affidavits
submitted to the Court, which provide testimonies of Joe Slovo residents
facing eviction to Delft. Even Thubelisha acknowledges this much
(although they assert, misleadingly, that this will be merely a
temporary disruption). At Joe Slovo, residents are close to Langa,
Pinelands, Epping and other economic hubs where jobs and food can be
easily sourced. Children attend school within walking distance, young
adults attend night classes which they are able to make in the evenings
due to proximity, and gogos attend churches they have frequented for 15
years. The settlement is close to Cape Town CBD, and there is a cheap
train network operating, making commuting brute early and late at night
to and from work easier for people. There is no train network in Delft,
transport is expensive and the TRA settlement is more than 15 kms
further from the City.
Due to their poverty, residents lead fragile existences and therefore a
strong community and social networks are extremely important to mitigate
its effects. A telling quote from a resident sums this up well: “Delft
is a new place, and we do not have a community there. I have visited
Delft. Houses are built from asbestos and are brittle. My things will
not be safe inside. It is fine for rich people to live in a place
without a community, because they can afford expensive security. We
cannot. We need our community to be safe.”
Thubelisha’s assertions that the move to Delft will be merely a
“temporary hardship” for Joe Slovo residents have been misleading and
shameful, and will be discussed further below.
Government misunderstanding of informal settlements
This leads me onto how and why the N2 Gateway project looks the way it
does. Firstly, from the above, it is clear that the project never took
the actual lived realities of Joe Slovo residents or their needs and
desires into account in the process. The decision to do a massive
relocation rather than in situ upgrading on the site was never
adequately explained by government (further, neither was the decision
not to build more densified housing typologies at Joe Slovo).
One likely reason seems to be that government, despite its progressive
informal settlement upgrading programme (Chapter 13 of the Housing Code)
included in BNG in 2005, has consistently misinterpreted ‘slum
eradication’ to mean demolishing informal settlements. According to
Marie Huchzermeyer, professor at the Wits School of Architecture and
Planning and informal settlement policy expert, the national Housing
Act, Code and BNG policy, as well as international best practice, all
speak to indirect measures that need to be taken to improve the lives of
shackdwellers, and which will ultimately result in the eradication of
the need for informal settlements and thus actual informal settlements
themselves. Government continues to misinterpret this goal as being
about eliminating the symptoms of the problem, rather than addressing
its causes. Informal settlements are a reasonable and legitimate
response to apartheid geography and a major housing backlog in South
Africa. If this had been taken into account by the project, and a real
dedication shown to the true spirit of informal settlement upgrading,
the N2 Gateway project would have undoubtedly looked very different.
N2 Gateway - a flawed project by all accounts
Second on this point, from the outset there was no real consultation
with Joe Slovo residents, and the project was condemned at the time by
non-governmental organisations working in the settlement, who later
pulled out of the project citing lack of bottom-up planning and
engagement. During research conducted on the N2 Gateway project by the
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) in November 2008, I spoke
to the N2 Gateway project manager at the Western Cape provincial
department of housing.
He slammed the project and revealed that there has been no proper
communication between Thubelisha and the provincial department; that
Thubelisha is poorly managed and largely incompetent; that there has
been no community participation in the project; that the situation at
Delft is dire; that there have been endless problems with contractors at
the Delft site; and, finally, that there is an acute lack of an
efficient and transparent TRA allocation process which has led to major
corruption and the bizarre situation of beneficiaries not being found
for newly built houses and them standing empty once completed. According
to him, when houses were finished in Delft 7-9 and they needed to hand
over the units, there was no list of beneficiaries from Thubelisha and
they had to “just find and put people in.” People had not been signed up
fast enough in the TRAs to be put through the provincial Housing Subsidy
System (HSS) in order to be allocated a house.
In April 2009, a damning report on the special audit conducted by the
Auditor-General for the National Department of Housing emerged (it was
written in June 2008), which found serious problems with the N2 Gateway
project and its implementation. Among these:
• Lack of adequate planning and lack of approval of a business plan
before construction started;
• “Fruitless and wasteful expenditure” occurred since reasonable care
was not exercised during the planning phase;
• Identification and securing of sufficient land was not finalised prior
• Adequate geotechnical surveys not conducted before construction;
• No clear roles and responsibilities defined between the different
spheres of government;
• Selection of beneficiaries not finalised prior to the commencement of
• Affordable housing was not provided for the target market identified:
“The national Housing Code, the Breaking New Ground plan and the draft
business plan were not consistent with regard to the qualifying criteria
for proposed beneficiaries, especially in respect of the monthly
household income requirement. It was also noted that the criteria
communicated to the different communities were not consistent.”
• Overambitious time-frames adopted. As of 31 May 2007 (two years after
project commenced) only 5% units of the revised planned units had been
completed, while 21% of the total budget had been utilised;
• Initial project manager was appointed despite being ranked number 6 in
the evaluation committee’s evaluation, not preparing costing in
compliance with the terms and conditions of the request for proposal,
lacking sufficient in-house and specialist expertise to perform various
project management functions, and was furthermore paid project
management fees exceeding the norm and which were not performance based;
• Thubelisha was appointed without following a proper procurement process.
It was clear from my meeting with the gatvol provincial official (and
now supported now by the Auditor-General’s report) that the entire N2
Gateway ‘housing delivery’ exercise has been, and continues to be,
extremely technocratic and top-down. He explained this to me aptly as
there being ‘no matching up, no bottom up’ and it was clearly visible
when we discussed what would happen if the Joe Slovo eviction order was
granted and he frantically shuffled around maps and numbers on his desk.
According to him, there is simply no more space left in Delft.
Delft was a last resort
It is important to note that the decision to move residents to Delft was
never a preordained or beneficial one for residents, as government has
spun it to the media. According to a report by the Development Action
Group (DAG), Delft was a last resort for establishing temporary
accommodation, following several months of lengthy and unsuccessful
negotiations to find suitable land for relocation. The decision came
after no less than 17 other sites closer to Joe Slovo were considered,
in the first instance to relocate those affected by the fire at Joe
Slovo in 2005, and later for those envisioned to be removed to make way
for Phase 1 of N2 Gateway.
The reason these 17 sites were rejected in 2005, including the preferred
sites in Epping and Langa, was due largely to objection by Langa and
Athlone residents, and organisations like the Epping Industrialists
Association and Pinelands Residents and Ratepayers Association, amongst
others. Unsuitability of land and other reasons, which mainly included
anticipated community opposition, were also cited for rejecting certain
sites. Eventually, the only feasible site was the former hostel site on
the edge of Langa and a planned cemetery site on the edge of the
built-up area in Delft. Thus, Delft TRA was born.
Life in Delft TRAs
A March 2007 survey conducted by DAG entitled Living on the Edge: A
Study of the Delft Temporary Relocation Area concluded that 63% of
respondents were unhappy about living in the TRA, mainly due to being on
the periphery of the city and the resulting high transport costs, as
well as dissatisfaction with the TRA structures summed up by one
resident as “being very cold during winter, very small and, above all,
they are not safe.” Further, people talked about their social and
economic networks being severely disrupted; service provision lacking
(poor maintenance of ablution blocks, lack of electricity, dissatisfied
with access to water and washing facilities, refuse removal);
overcrowding; tension with existing backyarders in Delft; loss of jobs
as a result of the move (due to high cost of transport, lateness for
work) and less opportunity to look for informal work; the need to spend
money and time on their so-called ‘temporary shelter’; and unhappiness
with levels of crime in Delft.
In its recommendations, DAG cited the importance of location and the
enormous impact it has on households’ income and expenditure and on
their social networks. It stressed that the impact of relocation needs
to be analysed carefully before decisions are made as it can leave
people worse off, even if some of their living conditions are improved
as a result. Apart from the socio-economic impact of the move on
households, the survey also highlighted the potential burden on the
government to provide a larger social safety net and to mitigate the
social problems caused by the relocation to a peripheral area like
Delft. Indeed, the mitigation measures handed down by the Constitutional
Court, particularly their ordering “the provision of transport
facilities to the affected residents from the temporary residential
accommodation units to amenities, including schools, health facilities
and places of work”, speak to this.
The survey points to how the burden on the state to provide a social
safety net often increases due to relocation, particularly as “living in
relative isolation in areas such as Delft can give rise to an increase
in the occurrence and variety of social problems, which in turn can
create high levels of social instability. This instability is already
evident in greater Delft, and although government carries the cost in
its expenditure on, for example, crime prevention, the social cost is
also borne by the households who live in these areas.”
There has always been the fear that Delft TRAs would become permanent
accommodation for those removed from Joe Slovo to Delft and who do not
qualify for housing subsidies. Gerald Adlard, who administered the N2
Gateway project for the Western Cape provincial department of housing in
2006, stated in his affidavit for the applicants that it is precisely
for these particular people that an upgrading project, such as could
have been provided at Joe Slovo, should have occurred. He further stated
that “TRAs are meant to provide emergency housing for disasters, such as
fires and floods, not accommodation for the poor so that the land that
they occupied can be provided for the better-off.”
And what about those who relocated from Joe Slovo over three years ago
to Delft? Many are still living in dire conditions in shacks in the
Tsunami TRA, watching houses being built across the road and waiting for
one to be eventually allocated to them.
Politicking vs. progressive realisation of housing
Another important point that should not be sidelined is that of the
deeply political bent of the project. N2 Gateway came to its zenith
during the period when the DA controlled the City and the ANC controlled
the Western Cape province. The project has been as much about political
campaigning and mud-slinging as it has been about low-cost housing delivery.
The fact is that there are thousands of people living in backyard shacks
in and around Delft who qualify for government houses, and who have been
living in the surrounds as long as Joe Slovo residents have been at Joe
Slovo. Allocation of houses should have been based on meeting a housing
demand and need that existed on the ground, not playing around with
percentages that favoured particular political constituencies or showed
up rival political parties. There continue to be families living along
Symphony Way in Delft who were evicted from N2 Gateway houses that they
occupied in protest of the project and its flawed allocation process.
They refuse to move to TRAs for many of the same reasons Joe Slovo
residents do not want to move there, and now face eviction by the City.
It is common knowledge that the DA pulled out of, and has repeatedly
slammed, the N2 Gateway project in the past. It is going to be very
interesting to see how the former ANC-led provincial government, who
played largely a monitoring and allocation role in the project, and who
recently became DA, are going to respond to the judgment.
The end cannot justify the means
Indeed, Joe Slovo residents’ only ‘mistake’ has been to access
well-located land in the city and build shacks there, in the context of
a massive housing backlog and the continued legacy of apartheid spatial
planning. The irony (unfortunately more common and malevolent than the
Court appreciates) is that this mass eviction is part of a low-cost
housing development being implemented by government, ostensibly to
provide poor people with housing. This cannot and should not serve as
simple justification for its manifold failures. If a golf estate was to
be built on Joe Slovo informal settlement would the Court have even
entertained the thought of a mass eviction? Highly unlikely.
N2 Gateway to date at Joe Slovo – a farce
The reality is that Phase 1 of N2 Gateway has resulted in very poorly
constructed rental units built at Joe Slovo, which have turned out to be
unaffordable to the low-income bracket. According to the
Auditor-General’s report, “although the average income of households in
the region was approximately R1 200 per month according to the earlier
versions of the business plan and communities had raised their concern
regarding affordability, the actual tenant profile indicated that the
income of 99,6% of the current tenants ranged from R1 500 to R7 500 per
month.” Since mid-2007, Phase 1 tenants have been on a rent boycott as
they claim no one is willing to address their concerns over unacceptable
rent increases and poor living conditions in the flats. The
Auditor-General’s report also revealed that despite the R40 000 per unit
overrun, there were problems with the units including cracks, doors not
fitted properly, uncovered drainpipes and blocked drains. Apparently,
the certificate of completion for the building contract was erroneously
Phase 2 consists of ‘affordable bond’ houses, which are distinctly
unaffordable to Joe Slovo residents, as well as what Thubelisha refers
to as a “show village” of subsidised BNG houses. Standing in Joe Slovo
settlement, looking next-door at what has been built already as part of
N2 Gateway, the only logical conclusion would be: “hold on, there is no
way this is project is going to benefit me and I am far better off here
in my shack than living in extended limbo in a shack in Delft.”
One of the Court’s mitigating measures, which stipulated that 70% of BNG
houses to be built at Joe Slovo must be allocated to current or former
Joe Slovo residents, cynically leaves one phrase ringing in my head –
70% of nothing, is nothing. Indeed, even if the 1500 BNG houses were
built on the site (and Thubelisha has two weeks to inform the Court if
this is still the case), this would only mean that 1050 would be
allocated to Joe Slovo residents. There are over 4000 households
currently living at Joe Slovo.
It remains to be seen how the engagement process, as outlined in the
order, will play itself out and if the parties can engage productively
and come to an agreement. Given the reality of the project and the
Court’s exhaustive mitigating provisions, it appears unlikely that the
eviction can go ahead as envisioned. However, while this inability to
effect the eviction order would probably be a blessing for Joe Slovo
residents (not least because the inability will be expressed by them in
the ‘meaningful engagement’ process), it does not vindicate the Court’s
judgment(s), which remains technical, cowardly and naïve in the face of
Kate Tissington is a researcher at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies
(CALS) at Wits University. She writes in her personal capacity.
Traders apologise to Somalis after police mediate talks
June 16, 2009 Edition 1
LOCAL traders who sent warning letters to Somali shopkeepers telling
them they had to get out of Gugulethu in Cape Town by the end of the
week have apologised for their intimidating behaviour.
And they now say the Somalis are welcome to stay in the area.
An interim committee of foreign and local traders from Gugulethu has
also been set up to defuse any tensions that may yet arise between the
This was decided during a meeting between local and Somali traders, and
the police last night.
When the meeting ended, a number of local and Somali traders smiled and
They said they were happy with the outcome of the meeting. Police had
called the meeting, closed to the media, at the weekend after the
warning letters were distributed.
Speaking after more than three hours of discussions with the traders,
Gugulethu police spokesman Elliot Sinyangana said the meeting, at times
heated, had been successful.
"Those who sent out the letters were here. You could see the anger in
their eyes when they spoke. But after hearing from the Somalis, they
have apologised for the letters. They also promised to refrain from any
"They said they had felt pressured into sending the letters, but now
they see what they have done and feel sorry for it," he said.
Sinyangana said an interim committee, consisting of five local traders
and five Somali ones, had been set up and members would discuss and deal
with any grievances brought by the shopkeepers.
He said police as well as the Anti-Eviction Campaign would also step in
if the traders needed guidance or help.
The committee would meet today and give the traders feedback on Thursday
during another meeting.
Earlier, when discussions were still being held, Mahad Omar Abdi,
representing the Somali traders, said local shopkeepers had wanted the
Somali traders in the area to increase the prices of their products.
"But if they force us to regulate our prices, it's not fair to the
locals. What about the poor man on the street who can't afford much, and
what about the domestic worker who just doesn't have the extra cash?
"We would be enriching ourselves at their expense," he said.
Abdi said he felt locals had sent the letters to intimidate Somali
traders because they felt they could "get away with it".
By the end of the meeting a Somali trader, who did not want to be named
as he said he still felt uncertain about his safety, said local traders
had understood that their Somali counterparts did not want to sell goods
at identical prices to the locals.
"They seem to understand now. Things are looking much better," he said.
caryn.dolley at inl.co.za
Row over plan to boost pay of 370
RHODES University’ s plans to use R10 million to boost the salaries of
370 support staff has angered the National Education, Health and Allied
Workers Union (Nehawu).
Responding to a list of grievances handed over to Vice-Chancellor Dr
Saleem Badat on May 29, the university promised the thorny issue would
be tackled at a council meeting next week.
Calling for the lion’s share of the money to be given to the lowest
graded workers – including catering and support staff who earn from
R4464 a month – the Nehawu memorandum warned further “frustrations”
could lead to “disturbances” during exam preparations.
University officials, who were initially given five days to respond to
the union demands, last week said they needed more time to tackle the
Human Resources head Sarah Fischer, who was accused of having “no
respect” for union members, last Thursday told a press conference the
institution was at the top end of the national remuneration scale for
lower graded workers.
She said fewer than 20 catering staff out of 1300 people permanently
employed at Rhodes earned R4464 a month – excluding overtime – and that
the 500 Nehawu members’ wage levels were “above” similar positions
“There have been some recent appointments at this level (1) in the past
10 days – this is included in the 20 above ,” a later statement from
The breakdown of the lowest paid catering workers clocking 45 hours a
week is: R2584 per month, R210 travel, R550 housing plus R307 food in
kind, pension, and an optional medical aid – which equated to R4464 per
Of the 1300 people on the university payroll, 1000 are support staff
with the 500 Nehawu members graded 1 to 5 and the other 500 grades 6+.
The remaining 300 are academic posts.
“The council will meet on 18 June to table all views and then decide on
a way forward,” Fischer said.
Last year academic staff salaries were given a once-off R7 million boost
– on top of an annual 10 percent increase given to all 1300 employees.
The R10m for support staff was to be shared among non-academic staff –
which included everybody from “kitchen attendants and cleaners to the
vice-chancellor”, but was not for the lower graded workers.
A statement from university communications manager Lebogang Hashatse
said although salaries for lower level workers like cleaners “were
competitive”, the higher levels in IT, human resources, finance
professionals and managers were not.
“It is also at these higher levels that Rhodes has struggled to attract
The Nehawu protest was supported by the National Tertiary Education
Staff Union, which has 340 members made up of 198 support staff and 142
Other demands included speeding up the remuneration process, resolving
long leave benefits for grade one to five staffers, and a call for
Fischer to step down.
“It should be noted that Mrs Fischer has acted on behalf of management
when presenting the remuneration adjustment proposals to staff and that
while there may be differences in views, it is important that all are
treated with dignity and respect,” Hashatse’s statement said.
Although the lowest graded non-support staff earn anything from R4464
upwards a month, Vice-Chancellor Dr Saleem Badat pulls R1.5 million a
year – of which he donates R200 000 to a bursary fund.
University Nehawu chairperson Thobile Tommy declined to comment. - BY
DAVID MACGREGOR, Port Alfred Bureau
Alex Chamber begins mall protests
The first of a series of boycotts against the new Pan Africa Mall in
Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, will start on Thursday, the Greater
Alexandra Chamber of Commerce and Industry has said.
Alexandra's Pan Africa Mall
Spokesperson of the chamber's youth wing, John Makgoka, said the body
would embark on a protest this week to discourage consumers from
shopping at the mall until it was “fully-owned” by locals.
“The people of Alexandra will fight for what belongs to them. We will
cripple the tenants until they leave,” said Makgoka.
Makgoka said too few people from Alexandra had benefitted from the mall
through employment and that it was “owned by people from outside”.
“Alexandra has many capable young businessmen and women who should be
running businesses from the mall.
"Less than 15% of the staff at the mall are from Alex.
“People of Alexandra must also occupy more space as tenants.
"We will discourage residents from buying ... until this has been reversed.”
But the Greater Alexandra Development Forum (GADF) denied the chamber's
allegations, saying the claims were “irresponsible” and “tantamount to
“We also want to reaffirm that over 1,000 job opportunities were created
during the construction phase.
“Currently over 300 people have been employed by tenants at the mall, of
which the majority are from Alex,” GADF said.
Niger protesters march against constitutional change
Written by Reuters
Monday, 15 June 2009
Tens of thousands of people marched through Niger's capital Niamey
yesterday to protest against President Mamadou Tandja's plans to hold a
constitutional referendum aimed at extending his rule.
Tandja is due to step down when his second term in office ends later
this year but has called for an Aug. 4 referendum which could hand him
another three years running the nation that soon hopes to become the
world's No. 2 uranium exporter.
The rally was interrupted by the death of veteran politician Amadou
Moumouni Djermakoye, who had served as foreign minister several times
and was a member of the ruling majority, but who had joined protests
against Tandja's plans.
Djermakoye, president of the Nigerien Alliance for Democracy and
Progress (ANDP), part of the ruling coalition, was taken ill in the
intense heat and died later in hospital. He was known to have been
suffering from a heart condition.
The West African country's constitutional court on Friday annulled a
presidential decree calling for the referendum, saying it was illegal,
but opposition leaders decided to go ahead with their protest.
"The court's decision is a victory but we should not lower our guard,"
said Mahamadou Issoufou, head of the opposition Nigerien Party for
Democracy and Socialism (PNDS), which has been spearheading the campaign
against the referendum.
"With the court ruling, any order given to go ahead with the referendum
will be illegal. President Tandja must submit to this," Issoufou said in
a speech to the crowd, speaking before Djermakoye's death was announced.
Two lawyers interviewed on state television late on Saturday criticised
the ruling by the constitutional court and questioned its validity.
"This is a difficult situation because the court's decision in our view
constitutes a threat to the continuity of the state," said lawyer
Tandja's plans have sparked protests and drawn criticism from foreign
donors and regional bodies, which said they were a step backwards and
threatened sanctions against Niger.
The president says he needs the time to introduce a fully-presidential
system of government that will give the presidency more power and end
current blockages in governance.
He also says people want him to complete large infrastructure projects,
including a hydro-electric dam, an oil refinery and French energy giant
Areva's 1.2 billion euro ($1.70 billion) Imouraren uranium mine.
The United States, however, has strongly warned against the plan, saying
it would be a set-back for democracy, while West Africa's ECOWAS
regional political body has threatened to impose economic sanctions if
Niger behaves undemocratically.
Peru protesters shut road to Buenaventura mine
LIMA - Protesters have shut access to Buenaventura's Orcopampa gold mine
in Peru and its production is affected, the company said on Monday.
Buenaventura said the protest organized by people in communities near
the mine was about labor and environmental demands.
The protest was held even as Peru's largest mining federation called off
a nationwide strike set to start Monday.
The nationwide strike plans were scrapped after Congress voted on
retirement rules and promised to debate a profit-sharing bill.
The mine churned out 285 000 oz of gold last year.
Peru, a major metals exporter, is the world's sixth-largest gold producer.
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