Posted by: The Organ Harvester on Jul 23, 2010
Yesterday's burning of 69 shacks and personal property in what is called "Cemetery Estate" near the multi-million Woodhill Estate is one of the greatest abuses of power that have taken place since the inception of the South African Constitution. What is more worrying is the fact that statutory provisions seemed to have been ignored as families were served with an eviction notice 24 hours before they were due to vacate the land.
Fact, the land belongs to the Tswane Metro, but the law clearly states that where the land is occupied the responsible municipal body may only move these occupiers if the Municipality can provide land and shelter for them to move to which will not change their access to work. So in other words we can't dump people somewhere out of sight where they can't access their jobs or be in a position to look for work. Unfortunately only after an order from the High Court, ordering the Tswane Metro to erect tents on the same plot of land where the residents were ordered to be removed from.
I know this concept of looking after everyone in South Africa is not everyone's cup of tea. We work hard, we pay for the things we want and why should "foreigners" be allowed to occupy the land so close to valuable property. But we must start accepting that our fate as middle income South Africa is intrinsically linked to what happens to the marginalised in our society. We cannot and should not reduce human beings to Rands and cents. Bearing in mind that it is winter where were these people supposed to go? The Metro have promised to erect tents by this morning so what happened to those families last night?
Here is the question I would like to ask? Does money determine whether or not we should be entitled to basic human rights? South Africa's Constitution guarantees protection to all people within the Republic, so how was it possible that the rights of those people living as squatters and working in the homes of people who supported a move to have them evicted yesterday had to look in horror as their homes were ripped down and torched? How is it possible that State resources were used to remove people illegally. Having an order to evict is one thing but where was the rest of the implementation of the law.
We should all be concerned. Because as Arthur Chaskalson once said, only when we are willing to guarantee the safety and rights of the most marginalised in our society can we as ordinary citizens feel safe that our rights are protected.
For more information on the Pretoria Metro's Nazi behaviour yesterday you can read this:
We are more than the things we own and we can all make a difference in uplifting those around us and create a society that a future can be built on.