PRESS RELEASE: ISN mobilising communities to march in solidarity against evictions, poor services, and insecure tenure

On Tuesday 11 September 2012, informal settlement communities from across Gauteng will march on the Gauteng Premier’s office to hand over a memorandum outlining demands and requests for “informal settlement friendly government”. The Informal Settlement Network (ISN), a social movement that builds the voice of the poor and finds solutions to urban poverty, have mobilised informal settlements in Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Sedibeng, Mogale City, and Tswane. The purpose of the solidarity march is to rally around evictions and insecure tenure, poor water and sanitation service levels, no meaningful engagement, and other governance issues. The solidarity march will start at 9:00 on Mary Fitzgerald square in Newtown, following Bree street and Simmons street to the Premier’s office.

Communities across Gauteng have been subject to violent evictions and poor service delivery. In the month of August the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) launched a “rogue mission” to demolish shacks on open plots and inside abandoned factories in Marlboro South, an industrial area 3km from Sandton. Hundreds of families have been displaced ever since. This was well documented by major press agencies. What happened in Marlboro is a microcosm of the lack of meaningful engagement between government and communities; e.g. Doornkop, Thembelihle, Finetown Proper, Klipspruit, Ramaphosa, and many others share similar experiences of disenfranchisement.

The ISN is a different kind of social movement that builds partnerships with government in a collaborative manner to advance people-centred development and improved service delivery. Communities are not passive bystanders to service delivery but active stakeholders in decision making processes. However, this level of partnership has not been achieved. Although the ISN have set up monthly dialogues with government, a formalised partnership has not been forthcoming in the City of Joburg and Ekurhuleni.

The media is invited to document this mass grassroots initiative in raising the voice and plight of the poor.

Community leader contacts:

Sipho Vanga – ISN Ekuhuleni – 073 721 5374

Mohau Melani – ISN Joburg – 072 890 9022

Charles Gininda– Marlboro community leader – 078 514 4053

Patrick Magebhula – ISN national coordinator – 082 805 4011

Mzwanele Zulu – ISN national coordinator – 082 670 2068