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Soweto: Celebrating Our Court Victory - Reflecting on our Struggle
southern africa | miscellaneous | non-anarchist press Thursday November 12, 2009 15:26 by Landless People's Movement - LPM
All are welcome to join us this Sunday 15 November at 10am in Soweto, Protea South, Peace Makers Ground. We will be celebrating and reflecting on the meaning of our court victory.
Background: In 2004 we, the LPM, began a relentless battle to defend ourselves from evictions in Protea South, an informal settlement in Soweto. We organised several marches and pickets over the past several years, and we submitted memorandums to the Premier and MEC of Housing but these officials refused to address our demands. We were ignored by our local council and, in some instances, the police resorted to repressive tactics, and even torture, to undermine our struggle.
In 2008, we embarked on a legal route to assist in our struggle. On the 4th August 2009, we finally won a victory as the Johannesburg High Court stipulated that the government will not move us out of our land in Protea South against our will. We were promised water, VIP toilets, and street lights, and electricity in our shacks. This victory gives us faith that if we push forward, we will prevail. We cannot be pushed around by a local government that we view as being bribed through their salaries, merely to implement decisions made at another level. The councilor feels it has more power to do anything that they want, but we prevailed in the end.
On the one hand, our court victory testifies to our capacity to resist the imposition of the top-down development plans of the government. On the other, we have not been released from the fundamental oppressive systems of power. Indeed, we continue to be brutalised and discriminated against by the police. The willing-buyer willing-seller approach to land distribution by definition marginalises poor people and this approach has not been overturned in favour of a socialist approach that enables all people to access and make use of the land. Our victory must therefore also be used as a platform to reflect on our past struggles and the strategies we employ to improve our lives and the lives of all poor people across South Africa.
For more information or to provide solidarity or support, please contact:
Maureen, LPM Chairperson 082 337 4514