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Re-launch of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign

6 December 2010

Re-launch of the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign focuses on a renewed coordinated fight against evictions, water cutoffs, electricity cutoffs and for decent housing for all!

Last week, on Sunday the 28th of December 2010, the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign held its first official Annual General Meeting (AGM) in about 8 years at Nobantu Lower Primary School in Gugulethu.

The previous WC-AEC executive committee had failed in its mandate and and had refused to conduct AGMs each and every year. The result was that the leadership undermined the AEC membership and the democratic process to which the movement had committed. Many communities stopped attending WC-AEC meetings and the movement lost a lot of its members.

This year's AGM was to fix this, re-launch and re-invigorate the movement.
The other main reason for holding the AGM was to address allegations of mismanagement of funds within the movement. Our members were unhappy because there was a lack of transparency among the previous leadership and the AGM meant that our members would be able to confront the previous leadership on these issues.

The Annual General Meeting was very successful with 10 member communities as well as other supporting communities in attendance. It was a lively event with members expressing their struggles and what the movement means to them.
During the AGM, elections were held to elect the new movement executive. The following people were elected:
• Mncedisi Twalo – Chairperson
• Gary Hartzenberg – Vice Chairperson
• Laylah Ryklief – Secretary
• Willy Heyn – Vice Secretary
• Ashley Louw – Treasurer

In line with the WC-AEC tradition, each member community would elect their own coordinator and, at follow-up Western Cape meeting, five regional coordinators would be elected (one to represent each region of the City of Cape Town). These five coordinators along with the above executive will make up the 2011 WC-AEC coordinating committee.

The following communities comprise of the current member communities of the WC-AEC (not including additional affiliate communities of the AEC):
• Blikkiesdorp Informal Committee
Delft Integrated Network
• The Eastridge Anti-Eviction Campaign
• The Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign
• Hanover Park Resident's Committee
• The Mandela Park Backyarders
• New Crossroads Anti-Eviction Campaign
Newfields Village Anti-Eviction Campaign
• Nyanga East Anti-Eviction Campaign
Symphony Way Anti-Eviction Campaign
• Woodridge Anti-Eviction Campaign
• Zille-Raine Heights Community

The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign has resolved the following as part of its mission and principles:
• The AEC is founded on democratic and inclusive principles and values.
• The purpose of the AEC is to protect and defend the dignity of the poor.
• The goal of the AEC is to advance adequate service delivery and social justice.
• The AEC must be inclusive of all poor people and therefore is not and will never be affiliated, connected to or supportive of any political party or election oriented organisation.
• The AEC as a social movement is and will remain independent from all politicians, NGOs, funders, academics, well-wishers and any other person who does not come from one of our poor and vulnerable communities. We will agree to work with some well-meaning NGOs, academics and well-wishers but this will not compromise our strict independence as a movement.
Other resolutions from the AGM include:
• The WC-AEC rejects the pamphlet handed out by certain members of our previous executive that claimed that the Annual General Meeting was illegitimate. The AGM resolved that their meeting is in line with the AEC constitution, is long overdue, and is legitimate.
• The AGM resolved to call on the previous executive to account to the AEC in a follow-up coordinators meeting. All members found to by the coordinating committee to be guilty of mismanagement of funds will be held fully accountable.
• The Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and the name of the WC-AEC is owned and will be from now on driven by the communities themselves and no individual or group of individuals can lay claim to the movement or its name. It cannot be copyrighted or patented by any individual, group of individuals or NGO.

Way Forward
The WC-AEC would like to declare its support for all communities in South Africa that are under attack by government and political parties. In particular, we would like to express our solidarity with the community of Hangberg in Hout Bay, Ramaphosa in Johannesberg and Kennedy Road in eThekwini.
The WC-AEC will do its best to support anyone arrested for their political activism and who face legal persecution by the state. The AGM resolved to support and look for legal funds for the four women from the Mandela Park Backyarders who were recently arrested on suspicion of trespassing in government houses but whom were actually found walking on the street in their own neighbourhood.

The WC-AEC will make sure that government, politicians and development professionals do not use the poor for their own self-interest. Especially during election-time, the poor suddenly become important. The movement knows, however, that the poor are important all the time, not just during elections.
The WC-AEC will attempt to stop all evictions, water cutoffs, electricity cutoffs and fight for housing for all poor and vulnerable people in the Western Cape and throughout South Africa.

We fight for human dignity!
Aluta Continua! Power to the poor people!


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