Anti-eviction in South Africa
Country: South Africa | Partner: Anti-Eviction Campaign
- To prevent the evictions of poor people from their land and campaign against the privatisation of essential services
- To build a network of communities across the Western Cape region that campaign for housing rights and access to basic services
- To provide quality, community-based education to the poor, with a focus on the connections between local issues and national and global trends
- The AEC's community organising has resulted in a moratorium on evictions from council housing
- The AEC Legal Coordinating Committee has helped members of poor communities access critical social services which they were previously denied
- Through AEC's work tens of thousands of evictions have been prevented. For example, in the run up to the World Cup 20,000 people were threatened with eviction in one community. Following AEC's support and legal intervention, all the residents have been allowed to stay in their homes.
- South Africa is often ranked as the second most unequal country in the world
- 30 percent of people living in Cape Town live in inadequate housing and poor environments
- In the lead-up to the 2010 World Cup, evictions increased near World Cup sites and tourist facilities.
- Evictees are sent to transit camps, where they face appalling conditions and are far from cities and work opportunities
War on Want supports the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC), a South African organisation working to ensure the provision of vital public services to poor communities. AEC is a grassroots movement in the Western Cape region fighting evictions, service delivery cut offs and the political and economic conditions which keep communities poor.
Although the apartheid system was dismantled over a decade ago, many of the country's economic inequalities remain in the form of privatised utilities and lack of available housing. In Cape Town, the largest city in the Western Cape, over hundreds of thousands ofpeople are currently on the waiting list for public housing. Among those in poor communities who have homes, thousands face the threat of eviction and the majority live without basic services such as water and electricity.
The AEC was founded in 2001 to respond to an increase in evictions, homelessness and drastic cuts in essential services in poor communities. The AEC serves to inform and mobilise communities to fight back and effectively petition government for adequate public housing, accountable public servants and a halt to the privatisation of basic services. AEC supports communities through organising in communities, providing legal support and advice and through education and training. To create a unified movement across the region, the AEC highlights the shared problems these communities face – and the ways in which they can collaborate to eliminate them.
During the run up to the World Cup, evictions increased around World Cup sites, with evictees being dumped in transit camps far from cities. AEC worked closely with these communities, preventing many evictions and continuing to support those dumped in deplorable transit camps to hold authorities to account and demand the provision of houses and services.
War on Want supports the AEC in providing a political voice to the poor communities of the Western Cape and to combat economic and social inequality in South Africa.
|War on Want gratefully acknowledges funding for this partner from Comic Relief.|