A Plea for Support from Cape Town Communities Facing Violent Evictions in South Africa

An activist from Cape Town writes about South African families facing violent, government-led home invasions and evictions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thapelo Mohapi  |  Thu Jul 09 2020
South African officials meet community after violent evictions in eThembeni, Cape Town.

I want to start by thanking the people of Ireland for the support you showed South Africans during the South African freedom struggle. When you saw the brutality of the Apartheid regime you took action and it made a difference. Your trade unions mobilised in support. Your political representatives took action. Your communities boycotted the oppressive South African government and businesses and took to the streets. These acts of international solidarity, big and small, were replicated by people all over the world and all in a time before social media could be used to raise pressure.

Today in South Africa the government is attacking us again. The African National Congress is unrecognisable from the freedom movement that Nelson Mandela led. His dream and our dream of a free South Africa has become a nightmare. The ANC and the Democratic Alliance which replaced the white racist National Party are evicting families from their homes across the country. We are facing multiple crises – housing, health, water, power, a pandemic and mass evictions of people from homes they have built from tin and wood where the government has failed to build for us.

I know that this news must come as a shock to supporters of the South African freedom struggle and the Anti-Apartheid movement, but you only have to look to see what is happening. As activists on the ground in the poorest communities in South Africa we are documenting and sharing on social media the actions of our government, law enforcement and private security companies.

Poor people are shot and killed with impunity. Their crime is being poor and needing a roof over their heads. We continue to live in mud like pigs. It is winter now in South Africa and many people have died trying to keep warm by making fires that burn our structures. They are shooting at us, beating us, destroying our homes, starving us and trying to break us. And they are doing this without any of it making the news in Europe.

It is shameful that the government that you have supported in the past to fight against the evil of Apartheid is today oppressing the poor.

We are resisting these violent evictions and supporting people by providing food and materials to rebuild their homes and counselling support for the trauma they have endured. It is shameful that the government that you have supported in the past to fight against the evil of Apartheid is today oppressing the poor.

You can support our struggle by sharing our story on social media and tagging in the Mayor of Cape Town, Dan Plato - @CityofCT - and South African President and leader of the African National Congress, Cyril Ramaphosa - @CyrilRamaphosa. Please ask them to take action to end evictions and police brutality.

You can lobby your trade unions and political representatives to raise the issue with the Mayor of Cape Town and the South African President. We are counting on your help.

Thapelo Mohapi started his activism in the Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers) movement in Durban and is now a political organiser in Cape Town with Ndifuna Ukwazi where he is currently working in support of families facing violent, government-led home invasions and evictions during the Covid -19 pandemic.