South African Students Congress

SASCO Statement on Lwandle Community Eviction

4 June 2014

South African Students are perturbed by the events that have led to the eviction of our people at Lwandle informal settlement in Cape Town. This brutal act against the downtrodden masses is true to the pain capitalism continues to inflict daily on the working class. We condemn SANRAL and the City of Cape Town for acting in a manner resembling our shameful past. We also condemn our judiciary for being insensitive to the plight of the people and using a narrow legalistic approach to complex social questions.

We view the removal of the people without proper alternative accommodation as insensitive and grossly undemocratic. People must not easily forget that this country has a particular historic context on the land issue, which remains unresolved and highly emotive. Our people’s land was unceremoniously dispossessed by the white colonialist since 1652. Last year we observed 100 years since the promulgation of the 1913 Native Lands Act, which ensured that our people are further disenfranchised.

Twenty years since the democratic dispensation our people remain landless and still suffer from land evictions like the one we saw at Lwandle. What is expected for our people to do when they come to metropolitan areas seeking employment and have no shelter? These are not some lumpen elements who go out of their way to fuel criminality. These are migrants coming from the jobless periphery of our country who seek to put bread on their family’s tables. They must never be treated like second grade citizens as is the case at the DA run Cape Town Metro and Western Cape Province.

Words cannot describe the pain that we feel as students watching our parents with our siblings being condemned to homelessness. Is it not pain enough that they remain in their majority unemployed, diseased and unskilled. Is it not pain enough that some of our siblings staying in these informal settlements came to try and access our institutions of higher education and training but were rejected. This pains us at a critical period in our academic year when we write our examinations. We thought that even as we do so we should send a word of solidarity with those toiling masses.

SASCO is neither shocked nor surprised at the reaction of the DA run Western Cape government and Cape Town Metro who have displaced blame on the national government. They view this issue as a political football, an opportunity too damn the ANC and earn cheap political scores. They do this because they do not care about the issues that affect black South Africans. This is not the first time our people are evicted so brutally in Cape Town.

We note and welcome the actions already taken by the National Department of Transport and Human Settlements to avert this crisis. We do however warn state institutions and government departments to avoid these embarrassing and distasteful events in future. We are there to serve the poor masses of our country and not to inflict more pain to their already difficult livelihoods. Government must practicalize Batho Pele Principles. Our judiciary must know that the law is there to serve the people not vice versa.

Again we take this opportunity to call upon our ANC government to fast track land redistribution and restitution. We call on the state to ensure that a decisive potion of the infrastructure roll out programs is used to reverse uneven spatial development patterns, drive rural development for job creation in our rural periphery. Our government must never be brutal to the people for it must always strive to be a PEOPLE’S GOVERNMENT.

Issued by the NEC of SASCO

For more information contact

Ntuthuko Makhombothi (President) on 071 875 2209
Luzuko Buku (Secretary General) on 0718793258