Tears and anger over District Six invasion

20 Jun

Tears and anger over District Six invasion

d6 invasions


Daphne Lambert-Moses, who said she was evicted three times under apartheid, vowed to take a group into the housing development on Wednesday. Picture: Tracey Adams

Cape Town – As the illegal District Six housing occupation entered its fifth day on Wednesday, the street outside the complex where about 50 people have taken over seven flats became a site of heated debate and emotion for apartheid evictees from the area.

The group occupied vacant flats in Aspelling Street on Saturday.

On Monday, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and the District Six Beneficiary and Redevelopment Trust secured an interim high court order for the occupiers to leave, but the order has not been enforced.

The matter is set to be brought before the high court again on Thursday.

Pensioners from Cape Flats neighbourhoods, many who identified themselves as beneficiaries registered with the trust, gathered in Aspelling Street to debate the occupation.


Some beneficiaries jeered the occupiers, calling them “queue jumpers” and “scoundrels”. Others pledged solidarity with them, and vowed to join them amid complaints of a botched handover process.

Some of the units being occupied have been finished, yet unoccupied, since 2011.

“Fifteen years of being told to wait, to fill out forms, to attend meetings, and then more forms. If they occupy these flats, we should join them. Because we are fed up,” said Yasmiena Ismail, 55.

Also coming out in support of the occupiers was Daphne Lambert-Moses, 72, who said that she had been evicted three times under apartheid – from Sea Point, Mowbray and District Six. Her family had owned three properties in District Six, she said.

A stand-off with security saw her being blocked at the housing development’s gates as she vowed to take a group of people in to join the occupation.

After an emotional outburst about the indignity and injustice that her family suffered at the hands of the apartheid state, she broke down and wept uncontrollably.

Other former District Six inhabitants, Ismail’s friends, had an opposing view. Zubeida Fortuin, 62, called the occupiers illegitimate and branded them queue jumpers.

Tania Kleinhans, the occupiers’ representative and co-founder of the Institute for the Restoration of the Aborigines of SA (Irasa), complained that some of the observers had accused the Khoisan of having no legitimate claim to land in District Six.

The invaders justify their claim to the units by citing their ancestry from the Cape’s first Khoisan inhabitants.

These “aboriginal rights to land” underpin a notice of motion issued by Kleinhans and will likely be key in the occupiers’ high court argument against eviction.

Kleinhans has employed the assistance of Legal Aid, which is expected to ask for a postponement in court on Thursday. Kleinhans said international aboriginal rights lawyers were also being petitioned to assist the occupiers.


Cape Argus

Jeanihess Blog South Africa


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