‘We are ready to burn’
THE ONE hundred and fifty residents who have recently built shanties in the latest informal settlement in Jacksonville, behind the Roodepan Police Station, are preparing to stage a massive protest if they are evicted.
Residents of the settlement, named Aceville, said that they were served with notices by Sol Plaatje Municipality, which ordered that they should vacate the area by the end of the week.
“The letter has no letterhead and we are not going anywhere. If we are forcefully removed we will take our protest to the street and shut down Roodepan and Homevalley. The roads will be blocked from the robot leading into Galeshewe and Lerato Park . . . we are ready to burn.”
They also slammed Sol Plaatje Municipality for expecting children, the elderly and disabled residents to go homeless.
They pointed out that the intended eviction would leave children, the elderly and disabled residents homeless.
The first baby to be born in the area, a 1.8 kilogramme baby girl, made an unexpected arrival at the informal settlement last week when she was delivered inside a shanty.
Neighbours assisted in the birth of Tersia-Lee Appie when her mother, Tarryn Appie, went into labour on October 1 at about 10pm, while her father, Benjamin Moss, ruptured the amniotic sac.
Elaine Weels said that Tersia-Lee was the first baby to be born in the informal settlement that was established about three weeks ago.
“Everyone jumped in to help with the birth. How can they (Sol Plaatje Municipality) expect a newborn baby, an 80-year-old grandmother and disabled residents to be homeless?”
Angelique Titus stated that Tarryn had been advised to return home from the hospital after her contractions had started.
“The ambulance arrived after the baby was born. Luckily there were no complications and the baby is healthy.”
The baby’s grandmother, Lydia Appie, indicated that the baby was only expected at the end of the month.
“She came as a surprise so we don’t have enough nappies and clothes. Tersia-Lee is my 21-yearold daughter’s first baby.”
She added that she shared a single bed in the shanty with her five children and the baby.
Sannah Vorster meanwhile is in the process of building a shanty for her 80-year-old mother, who will be sharing her new home in the informal settlement with two young grandchildren.
“She has never owned her own home and is looking forward to living here. It will kill her if she has to leave. She used her pension money to buy the zinc for her home.”
Another resident, James Harris, said that they had cleared the area next to the cemetery, which was a dumping site.
“Women were raped here, while murderers and thieves used to frequent the area. We have taken it upon ourselves to clean the area and put it to good use. We are setting up homes here because we are tired of living in overcrowded conditions.”
Community leader Samuel “Oom Ace” Papier said that he was warned that legal action would be taken against him for assisting the residents.
“These households can’t be evicted if the other shanties in Jacksonville, who were also given eviction notices, are allowed to remain. “The councillor requested me to accommodate a number of people in Aceville, which has been named in my honour.”
Papier stated that anyone in need of land to erect a shanty was welcome to make themselves at home in Aceville.
“We will assist in arranging a plot. The area has been surveyed and just needs to be numbered. There are 150 shanties that were erected so far.”
ANC ward councillor Paul Kok said a community meeting was held yesterday to discuss the informal settlement.
“I am not aware of the eviction notices. The land was occupied without permission from council.”
Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson, Sello Matsie, said that legal action would be taken against Papier for encouraging the community to erect shacks illegally.
“If he persists, we will attach his property as compensation.”
Matsie confirmed that notices to vacate were served on the community, although no court order has been obtained yet.
Meanwhile, the couple that were living in a tent opposite Elizabeth Conradie School on the Cape Town road have vacated the area.
Residents in the area said that the man and woman were last seen living under a tree in the open piece of veld on October 4.
A DA councillor indicated that the couple were evicted from Palm Park and had nowhere else to go.
“Sol Plaatje security advised them that they could not remain there as it would attract other homeless people to the area.”
DA ward councillor Phillip Vorster said that he had not received any complaints from residents in the area regarding the presence of the tent dwellers.
Samuel Papier, a community leader in Jacksonville, welcomes everyone who needs a place to set up home in Aceville.