Joint Statement – 23 August 2023
National Campaign Demands State Land Disposal of President Ramaphosa
On 23 August 2023, land and housing movements in Cape Town will march towards the President’s house in Rondebosch while those in Johannesburg will march the Sandton Convention Centre demanding urgent action in the form of State Land Disposal, to end the suffering and oppression caused by land dispossession, displacement, a decline in housing provision and insecurity of land tenure.
The issue of land insecurity faced by the most vulnerable in our country requires an urgent and agile response. The State Land Disposal Act allows for a response like that. The Act gives the President of the Republic power to donate, sell, lease or exchange any piece of public land in the country.
For so long people have been waiting on never-ending illusive housing lists while facing the wrath of an unforgiving economy and hostile and ineffective government. Communities have come together with a solution to a problem that affects all.
As communities, we have identified various vacant and underutilised parcels of land and buildings with the hopes of having these donated to us so we have access to land for living. We are also requesting parcels of land we have been living on for decades. We need access to and control over land to invest in and improve our homes, access basic government services, and create safe, liveable neighbourhoods.
For too long people have had to play the role of the state in providing land and housing for themselves. We ask that the state play its role in providing the means necessary for people to realise safe, livable and secure homes for themselves.
We make this request with the knowledge that women and children in this country cannot afford to spend another day, let alone another year without safe and secure housing, for they bear the burden and pain of housing insecurity the most.
Nikelwa Maqula, land and housing activist
As we are 29 years into “Democracy” the current government has done a tremendous job in evading the question of land. Through that, amongst those who bear the brunt the most are the working class, as they dont have the means to insulate themselves from the many social ills that plague our society. Government must stop hoarding land as they are only the custodians of the land. We are calling on the President to use the powers given to him by the State Land Disposal Act to release land to the people who so desperately need it.”
Karen Hendricks – one of the Reclaim the City leaders
We call on the President to use his powers to donate and hand over the land and abandoned state owned buildings to those who have for too long been fighting for access to land and housing. Many women and their families have been subjected to displacement (brutal evictions), homelessness and landlessness across the spatial divide of our Cities.
The vast majority of poor and working class women in our City do not own homes, land or property.
As landless women, the struggle of land and housing is at the heart of true transformation and change. It cannot be that most of us are still fighting to have a home for our families and have to live in squalor, commute long distances to places of work, school, hospitals and so much more even though the connection between women and land is constantly celebrated and highlighted. We have nothing to celebrate this month as the poor and landless women of this City, many of whom are single-women led households or families. We too are the keepers of our homes, our land.
Give us the land, give us our dignity which we have been fighting for.
Wiseman Mpepo – leader of Intlungu yasema tyotyombeni
“On the day of the 23rd of August we are launching a national campaign which addresses the most crucial question on the Security of Tenure for the landless, the occupations and the broader working class communities. This is the beginning of a fight that is challenging the state in fast tracking the land redistribution programme. We are saying to the President: Women who are deprived of access and ownership of land have no reason to celebrate Women’s Month.
We continue to see ourselves as outsiders under this current democratic dispensation. We urgently demand donations of land for people to live without fear of threats and intimidation from the Law enforcement agencies. We request the President to make use of the State Land disposal act within his discretion as the head of state. To ensure the security of tenure is granted to the most vulnerable.
We further appeal that our situation be declared a state of national disaster so that the National government intervenes directly to improve the living conditions of the poor.
Our situation is a state of emergency, and we can’t not afford to wait any longer.”
Kashiefa Achmat – leader of the Housing Assembly
You have declared WAR ON OUR POOR. We are tired of bullets and empty promises. 29 years later, nothing has changed. We want your conscience to lead you to the right decision.
Living a luxurious lifestyle while your people live in so much poverty and homelessness. Women, children, and the elderly are most deeply affected, and living in these insecure and unsafe spaces is our daily reality. Mr President, how do you sleep at night?
Mr President, we only want you to DONATE THE LAND AND VACANT BUILDINGS FOR US TO LIVE A DECENT AND PEACEFUL LIFE. WE DON’T WANT REVENGE, WE WANT SAFE HOMES!!!!”
Abahlali baseMjondolo (KZN, GP)
Barney Malokoena section (WC)
Black Consciousness United (GP)
First Indigenous Nations of Southern Africa (GP)
Housing Assembly (WC)
Gauteng Housing Crisis Committee (GP)
Inner City Federation (GP)
Intlungu YaseMatyotyombeni (WC)
Reclaim the City (WC)
Thembelihle Crisis Committee (GP)
Ndifuna Ukwazi – associated NGO [WC]