TODAY WE RECLAIMED SITE B. WE BUILT OUR SHACKS ON THE FORESHORE LAND. This morning, 4 December 2018, we came to reclaim Site B. This was public land that was sold to Growthpoint Properties. The City lost up to R140m on the auction because they undervalued it – a gift of our best land to one of the wealthiest companies on the JSE. Public land should never be sold in a housing crisis. And if it is, then the money should be used for basic services or affordable housing for poor and working class people. We have visited Growthpoint. We have visited officials. We have visited Deputy Mayor Ian Neilson who was in charge. But none of these people were prepared to give us a straight answers. We believe this can only be collusion, negligence or corruption. Our Constitution places land at the heart of transformation of our city and our country. And yet, if our well-located inner city land can be captured in plain sight, then what hope do we have for the rest of our country? Today National Parliament will debate a change to the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation. But the state has failed to use the powers it already has to expropriate and the City, the Province and National Government have failed to utilise the public land they already own for dignified housing. We often ask: “Why do we have so little? Why are we still struggling? Why has so little changed?” It is because an economic system built on corrupt politics, extreme profits and access to property benefits a wealthy mostly white minority. Property power maintains inequality and keeps the majority of our people dispossessed and homeless. If we are going to build an inclusive, equal and just society and economy then we must resist property power and public land must be redistributed. Like Site B, our best public land is captured by a wealthy few. Their homes are made of marble and glass and sit empty most of the year. Our homes are made of wood and zinc on the edge of the city which are often engulfed by deadly fires that injure us and destroy the little we have. Our journey to work every day is unsafe and unreliable on failing trains or taxis where you can get shot. Like Site B, our best public land lies empty and underutilised as empty train yards and military bases, as bowling greens, parking lots and golf courses. We have been living in basements and backyards, and on wetlands and dunes for decades and still, like our parents and grandparents, the government will not grant us the basic right to live on the land, or stop our eviction and displacement to camps. Like Site B, our best public land has running water and infrastructure with private security and well trained detectives even though there is almost no violent crime. Where we live we have temporary toilets that smell and standpipes to share. We live two families in a room or in council houses that crack and leak. The hospitals are packed and the schools are poorly maintained. There are not enough police and they are poorly trained. Here, women are failed when we are raped or beaten up by men. Like Site B, our best public land is poorly managed. There is no urgency or accountability. We remember the past and the homes we have lost. We need land reform, restitution and redistribution. No doubt those in power who work to maintain the status quo will send the anti-land invasion unit to intimidate and threaten us. They are always deployed to protect the right to property, but never deployed to advance our right to housing, our right to dignity, and our right to equality. No doubt they will send the police who will use stun grenades and tear gas like they did in Bo-Kaap. They are always deployed to protect those who should be held accountable, but rarely deployed to protect us. We are tired of marching with banners and placards. We are tired of living in places where we are unseen and ignored. We will build our shacks here in peaceful protest. And we will pack your jails to reclaim this stolen public land at the centre of the city. #UniteBehind a just and equal society! Umhlaba, Wokuhlaba, Wabahlali! Dit is ons reg om in die stad te bly! Land for people, not for Profit! Reclaim this land. Reclaim all public land. Reclaim the City! Reclaim the City, Social Justice Coalition, #UniteBehind Coalition and all supporters and affiliates.