DLF Statement on Mandela Park Evictions and Arrests

Democratic Left Front (Western Cape): Press release on eviction and arrests in Mandela Park, Khayelitsha, 7/2/2011

The Democratic Left Front condemns unreservedly the action of the Western Cape “Democratic Alliance” government and the branch of the Democratic Alliance in Mandela Park, Khayelitsha.

Around 09h30 on Friday 4th February, the Western Cape MEC for Housing Bonginkosi Madikizela, came with police and the Anti-Land Invasions Unit to Mandela Park. They came without warning, without the necessary court documents, and destroyed 9 brick houses and shacks in sections 20-21 of Mandela Park.

The said reason for the demolition was that the land was owned by the government. But this land was unused and unoccupied and there were no plans to do anything with it. It should be the right of homeless and poor residents to uplift themselves by building their own houses on the land. Moreover, many of the houses were occupied and therefore the eviction without a court order was a criminal contravention of the Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act.

Residents naturally protested. In the course of the protest two persons, Mr. Solomon and Mr. Yanga were shot at by local DA branch chairperson, Mr. Mxolisi Molly. Molly also smashed Mr. Solomon over the head with his gun and beat him to a pulp. When police arrived at the scene, Molly was taken into custody and charged with attempted murder (case# 784/02/2011). But two hours later, after the intervention of Madikizela, Molly was released and the charge was changed to assault.

The following day, Saturday, Mandela Park residents sought to lay a complaint for this outrageous behaviour. But instead of re-opening the charges against the DA, or opening a case against Madikizela for the unlawful and criminal destruction of Mandela Park homes, the police arrested four residents of Mandela Park on charges of assault! These residents were released on bail yesterday and will now appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court tomorrow morning (Tuesday) at 10am. They still do not have legal representation.

These action are illegal and an attack on homeless people.

The Democratic Left Front (Western Cape) calls on all progressive organizations throughout Cape Town to support the four Mandela Park residents when they appear in court tomorrow. The DLF supports the decision of Mandela Park residents to fill the court in protest against the actions of the Khayelitsha SAPS, the DA and MEC Madikazela.

The DLF demands:

1. The immediate dropping of charges and release of the four Mandela Park residents.

2. The reinstatement of charges of attempted murder against Mxolisi Molly.

3. The arrest of Bonginkosi Madikazela on charges of violation of the PIE Act.

4. The immediate reconstruction of the demolished houses at the expense of the state.

5. The provision of temporary accommodation for the affected residents.

For comments, contact:

Martin Legassick – 0834176837 mlegassi@iafrica.com

Khaya Xintolo — 0780241683

Loyiso Mfuku – 0737662078 loyisomfuku@hotmail.com>,

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