The Long Walk to Human Dignity

CAPE TOWN, 21 March 2010 – This weekend people across the country mark Human Rights Day. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre on 21 March 1960. Deep sorrow and joy enter our thoughts when we pay tribute to those who died for the rights we enjoy today. The 69 people brutally massacred and the hundreds injured at Sharpeville peacefully demanding the scrapping of the Pass Laws. These laws were arguably the colonial and Apartheid state’s cruelest acts which denied freedom of movement and dignity to the majority of Black people.

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Queue for Sanitation, Safety & Dignity!

How often do you fear for your safety when using a toilet?

For many, going to the toilet or accessing clean drinking water might seem like the most fundamental of service provisions and rights, but it is routinely denied to half a million people living in the City of Cape Town’s informal settlements.

Residents currently have to share one toilet amongst thirteen households (despite the law regulating five per household), and toilets are often dysfunctional, poorly maintained, unhygienic, unsafe and very sparsely located.

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Makhaza toilets

CAPE TOWN, 26 January 2010 – Today the SJC visited Makhaza Section in Khayelitsha to investigate claims that toilets had been built towards the end of last year without walls or roofs. The City government claim that this was done with the understanding that community members would build a suitable enclosure at a later date. All the residents we spoke to were not aware of this arrangement.

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Xenophobic Violence in De Doorns

CAPE TOWN – Widespread xenophobic attacks broke out in De Doorns – a small grape/wine farming town just beyond Worcester – over the weekend, and peaked early Tuesday morning. Reports of displaced people ranged from 500 at the outset to 2800 at its peak. Police claim that over twenty people have since been arrested (the majority for assault and public violence, but four for looting), and that there has been no significant subsequent violence since Tuesday. A SJC team visited the area yesterday to assess the extent of the displacement, and responses by local and provincial authorities. Below is a brief report of the situation as it stood late Thursday afternoon.

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Still No Bail for the Kennedy Road 13 as the Attack on our Movement Continues

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
CAPE TOWN – The Kennedy Road 13 returned to the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Monday 26 October to hear the verdict on their application for bail. Once again the ANC mob had been bussed in and there was a further escalation of threats against us. New people were targeted and threatened with death. Even at the Durban Magistrate’s Court, in full public view, we are not safe and our basic democratic rights to speak and associate freely are being denied.

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SJC Condemns Central Arms Deal Corruption Broker Schabir Shaik’s Early Release on Parole

CAPE TOWN – The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) is strongly opposed to the premature release of fraud and corruption convict Schabir Shaik on what is alleged to be medical and humanitarian grounds. This classification of parole is only granted when a prisoner is thought to be in the final stage of a terminal illness, and will soon die. While we respect and encourage this right to parole in principle, neither the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), the Minister, nor the Shaik family or their representatives have provided independent medical opinion that he is in fact terminally ill, or the specific medical reasons for his release. This is a justifiable request as the circumstances of his incarceration, including the high profile nature of the case that focussed on the abuse of State power and the use of influential people to affect such abuse, have significant and unusual implications for the rule of law in South Africa.

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