The City of Cape Town has taken Reclaim the City to Court! The City wants to secure an urgent interdict to stop our Open House from going ahead and they want to stop Reclaim the City from providing shelter for evictees and families who will be made homeless and have nowhere else to go.
We got the papers on Friday evening. Some members were coming home from work while others were making supper. We had to organise an emergency meeting because the City wanted us to respond by 9am this morning. We have to be in the High Court by 12 this afternoon.
On Sunday we will be having an Open House during Open Streets. We want to invite our neighbours and people from across Cape Town to come visit and learn more about our campaigns, and how we’ve made a life in the occupation, view a photography exhibition and hear stories about our struggles to find a home.
For two weeks we’ve been making banners and flags and hats for the kids so that we can open the day with a procession celebrating our heritage in Woodstock and Salt River.
At Cissie Gool House, Reclaim the City provides the only alternative accommodation for evictees and families facing homelessness.
The City, Province and National Government has not built one new home in well located areas since the end of apartheid. This House is one of the few racially integrated communities in Cape Town.
In their papers they say we don’t need homes. We say we have held this occupation for 18 months. We are elderly people. We are kids in local schools. We are brave families taking extraordinary steps to stay safe and secure.
They say they want to build housing but we just don’t believe them anymore. This building was vacant since 1992. Social Housing has been promised at Salt River Market for ten years and this month it was delayed again. Meanwhile we see the cranes go up and the bulldozers roll in for our neighbours and childhood homes.
We occupied public land because we too have the right to live in well-located areas. We refuse to go relocation camps.
The City wants to shut down our Open House from going ahead because they don’t want residents of the city to come together to understand why we occupied. They don’t want residents of the city to see how they are failing to provide decent housing for evictees and other families struggling to find affordable housing. They don’t want residents of the city to know that they are letting global property giants like Growthpoint steal our best land. They want to shut down our right to freedom of expression, movement and association.
The City uses interdicts every day to police landless people who need homes. They kick in doors, break down our homes and put our furniture on trucks. They use interdicts to evict us.
We invite everybody to see how the City will enforce this interdict at Cissie Gool House using the violence and thuggery they are known for.
The City did this because they thought we would not be able to defend ourselves in Court. We refuse to be threatened instead of engaged and treated with dignity and respect.
We’re the residents of Cissie Gool House. We will oppose this interdict and all other attempts to silence us. We will see the City in Court today, and we will continue this struggle until we reclaim this city for poor and working class people
Members of the media can preview the photo exhibition and speak to leaders at 10:30am at Cissie Gool House, or meet us at 12 at the High Court.
Deena Bosch, Woodstock Chapter Leader: 0833022029
Disha Govender, Ndifuna Ukwazi Law Centre attorney: 0720524122