Conceptualising resistance to service cut-offs and household evictions : the Mandela Park Anti-eviction Campaign

Plaatjies, Isaac Hector (Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2008-03)

Thesis (MPA)--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The economic policy of the South African government referred to as the Growth Employment and Redistribution Strategy (GEAR) has had a crippling impact on millions of poor and lowincome families in South Africa since its adoption in 1996. The benefits to the minority have not compensated for the increased inequality, uncertainty and poverty that others have experienced (McDonald & Pape, 2002:24). South Africa became the first African state to develop and implement a structural adjustment programme by voluntarily seeking the assistance of the World Bank and the IMF (Bond, 2000a:35). The government’s own statistics reveal that unemployment, which was already high, reached catastrophic levels since 1996 and the poor became significantly poorer (Beuchler, 2002:04). Together with their community leadership, poor people increasingly managed to articulate the link between the increased poverty and hardships they experience and the state’s macro-economic policies. More than a decade into democracy, Mandela Park finds itself under armed assault by the State. Several community members have sacrificed their lives while fighting revolutionary struggles to ensure access to basic services and to remain in the places apartheid confined them. None of them ever thought that the hopes and dreams they harboured while fighting for democracy would be so brutally suppressed by the very government for which they sacrificed their lives. Community organizations such as the Mandela Park Anti-Eviction Campaign (MPAEC) make significant contributions to community empowerment by mobilizing and articulating the voices of the poor and the vulnerable groups in the society to resist the State’s hegemony with regards to service cut-offs and household evictions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die ekonomiese beleid van die Suid Afrikaanse regering wat bekend staan as GEAR het n kreupelende uitwerking op miljoene arme en lae-inkomste gesinne in Suid Afrika gehad veral sedert die program in 1996 deur die regering aanvaar is. Die voordele aan ‘n enkele minderheid het nie vergoed vir die toenemde ongelykhede, onsekerhede en armoede wat andere ondervind het nie (McDonald & Pape, 2002:24). Suid Afrika het die eerste Afrika staat geword om n strukturele aanpassingsprogram te ontwikkel en te implementeer deur vrywilliglik die hulp van die Wêreld Bank en die Internasionale Monitêre Fonds te soek (Bond, 2000a:35). Soos die regering se eie statistieke aandui, het werkloosheid wat alreeds hoog is, katastrofiese vlakke bereik terwyl die land se armes merkwaardig armer geword het (Beuchler, 2002:04).Arm mense het tesame met hul gemeenskapleiers toenemend daarin geslaag om die verband tussen hul groeinde armoede en swaarhede, en die regering se makro-ekonomiese beleid te identifiseer. Nou, na meer as ‘n dekade in demokrasie, bevind Mandela Park inwoners hulself onder gewapende aanval deur die staat. Gemeenskapslede het revolusionêre gevegte gestry en hul lewens op die spel geplaas om toegang tot basiese dienste te verseker en te bly in die plekke waar apartheid hulle gevestig het. Niemand het ooit kon dink dat die hoop en drome wat hulle gekoester het terwyl hulle teen apartheid geveg het, so wreed onderdruk sou word deur dieselde regering waarvoor hulle hul lewens opgeoffer het nie. Gemeenskapsorganisasies soos die MPAEC in Mandela Park het ‘n betekenisvolle bydrae gemaak tot die bemagtiging van daardie gemeenskap deur die mobilisasie en artikulasie van die stemme van die arm en kwesbare groepe in die samelewing om weerstand te bied teen die Staat se hegemonie ten opsigte van die beeindiging van dienste en die uitsetting van gesinne uit hul huise.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/21698
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