[imc-sa] ELDERLY COUPLE FIGHT EVICTION FROM 47-YEAR HOME - Landless People's Movement Gauteng Press Alert!
maureen_mnisi at yahoo.com
Wed Mar 2 04:18:34 PST 2005
LANDLESS PEOPLES MOVEMENT (GAUTENG)
ELDERLY COUPLE FIGHT EVICTION FROM 47-YEAR HOME
The Landless Peoples Movement (LPM) Gauteng, together with our comrades in the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) today began the third day of our solidarity vigil at the Senoane (Soweto) home of Comrade Richard Gumbi (79), his wife Comrade Dolly Gumbi (71), and the three children and nine school-age grandchildren who they are supporting on their combined pension income of R1400 per month.
The LPM Gauteng calls on all poor and landless people in the province, and all organizations that claim to support the land struggle, to join us in defending the Gumbi family against the outrageous efforts of the supposed owners of the Gumbis home of 47 years, the scoundrels at Peoples Bank, and their supporters in the SA Police Services, to evict this poor and landless family from their home. The LPM Gauteng finds it impossible to understand how a family that was given a home during the brutal years of apartheid would be forced to return to wandering the citys informal settlements to search for a piece of ground to build a shack in the New South Africa.
The Gumbi family has already long served its time in the difficult conditions of informal settlement life, having moved from a shack in eMoroka section AZ to their present home at 1668 Senoane in 1957, where they were granted a PTO (permission to occupy) permit under the apartheid regime. In 1987, when Mr Gumbi was still employed, he took out a small loan from what was then Perm Bank to build an additional two rooms and a garage. The bank took money from his salary every month directly from the company that employed him, until one day in 1990 when a certain Mr Dikokla arrived to announce that he now owned their home, even though the bank had never contacted the Gumbis to inform them of their intention to sell their home. Efforts to establish the truth or otherwise of this claim through Servcon proved futile, although one neighbour reports having noticed strangers photographing the Gumbi home one day, and seeing the photo of the house in the newspaper afterwards.
When Mr Dikokla tried to evict the Gumbi family in 1990, and sent the Sherriff to take dump their belongings in the street, the entire community, led by the then civic association, rose to protect and defend their home. Since then, the Gumbi family has successfully resisted their eviction. But in December 2004, the Gumbis received a court order telling them to move from their home to make way for a new owner a Mr Gule.
The Gumbis do not know Mr Gule at all, and hired a lawyer to represent them. Unfortunately the lawyer forced them into an agreement to pay R700/month to Mr Gule, which they soon could not afford, as it is half of their household income, leaving them with only R700 to feed 14 people each month.
In the past few months, our 79-year-old comrade Mr Gumbi has been arrested and jailed several times by the police, after Mr Gule opened a tresspass charge against him. How can a 79-year-old man be locked up for trespassing in his home of 47 years?
The LPM Gauteng condemns this behaviour on the part of the police, the bank that allegedly sold the house out from under him without his knowledge, and the alleged new owner of the house, and demands a full investigation into the circumstances that have led to this elderly couple facing homelessness in the New South Africa from a home they were given permission to occupy during the worst years of apartheid.
The LPM Gauteng demands an immediate moratorium on all forced removals and evictions of the countrys 28-million poor and landless people in rural and urban areas. The LPM Gauteng demands that the government call an immediate ceasfire in its War on Shacks. The LPM Gauteng also demands that the government conduct a full and wide-ranging investigation into all past and present corruption and irregularities in the allocation, sale and management of public and low-cost bond housing.
The LPM Gauteng urges all media and other organisations interested in the resolution of the countrys land crisis to support the struggle of the Gumbi family against their imminent eviction.
ISSUED BY: The Landless Peoples Movement Gauteng on Wednesday, 2 March 2005
FOR MORE INFO: Contact LPM Gauteng Chairperson Maureen Mnisi on 084-468-9121.
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