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CROSSROADS - KTC HOLOCAUST

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									A week-long campaign of arson and assault left some 30 000 people homeless and destitute.            courtesy Financial Mail



 CROSSROADS - KTC HOLOCAUST
 The history of the Crossroads and
 KTC squatter communitie&on the             Who benefits?
 fringes of the city of Cape Town is        The struggle t o retain
 one of sustained and dogged de-
 termination by urban people to             a place
get the right to live and work
                                                  or ten years Crossroads and
 where they choose, in spite of in-
flux legislation and a battery of           F     KTC, 15 kms east of central
                                             Cape Town, have been home to in-            Margaret
government ploys to forcefully
 remove them.                               creasing thousands of black squat-           Nash
                                             ters, some legal, others 'illegal' in      Emergency relief operations were
    These communities had almost             terms of the 1945 Black Urban           commenced by Shawco, Red Cross
 won when suddenly during one                Areas Act.                              and other agencies. First donations
 week in May a reign of terror                                                       included R20 000 from the US
                                                In four short weeks that situation
sparked by armed         'vigilantes'left                                            Human Rights commission, thus
                                            changed dramatically. On May 17—
some 33 dead, 30 000 homeless                                                        identifying the refugees as victims of
                                             Pentecost Sunday — unholy flames
 and 3 000 homes in ashes.                                                           apartheid rather than natural disas-
                                            and an ominous pall of smoke began
    As a sequel, squatter leaders           to engulf the newer satellite camps      ter. State aid was confined to provid-
 from the settlements are cur-              adjacent to Old Crossroads. To the       ing tents, rations and medical aid at
 rently preparing to sue the Minis-         distress and devastation of the target   Khayelitsha, the resettlement area
 ter of Law and Order, Louis le             groups, and the shock and horror of      so adamantly rejected by most Cape
 Grange, for damages that could             the wider community — including          Town blacks.
 run into millions. Senior Counsel          the Eminent Persons Group (EPG)
representing the leaders said in                                                       A three week uneasy truce and
                                            visiting Cape Town at the time —         low level pattern of communal vio-
Court in August that there were             armed witdoeke (vigilantes) from
strong indications that the army                                                     lence was broken on June 9 when
                                            Old Crossroads and site C                witdoeke turned their attacks on to
and police 'flagrantly flouted' a           Kayelitsha pursued a week long
provisional order issued in May                                                      the KTC squatter camp adjacent to
                                            campaign of arson, assault and ter-      New Crossroads and Guguletu.
to restrain police and vigilantes           ror that left many dead (including
from attacks on KTC. More than                                                       Once more the balance of power,
                                            women and children burned alive in       particularly of firearms, was with the
40 affidavits alleging          Security    shacks), tens of thousands homeless
Force participation had been filed          and destitute, and their former place
in the Cape Town               Supreme      of residence a wasteland of devasta-      Note; This report was written!
Court.                                      tion, soon to be fenced off and           within the constraints imposed by|
                                            guarded by the authorities.               state of emergency regulations.
MARGARET NASH reports.
10 THE BLACK SASH — August 1986
attackers and within days the dwel-          houses promised, 1731 built, plus          workers can provide the volume
lings of another 30-40 000 people            site and service scheme). Com-             and passenger revenue for the
had been razed or dismantled and             munity Services, formerly West-            R62 million railway spur being
removed. All this took place despite         ern Cape Development Board,                provided over the next 18 months.
a court interdict to stop a number of        has upheld their claim. The Urban      6 The promoters of orderly urbani-
parties allegedly involved in the de-        Foundation has withdrawn from              sation —the new reform policy re-
struction of the Crossroads satellite        the Crossroads upgrade scheme,             placing the now disgraced dompas
camps.                                       so the state is currently spending         and influx control — have de-
   Since the state of emergency the          R2 million on infrastructure de-           monstrated to blacks and the
entire area of Crossroads, Nyanga,           velopment at Crossroads, R10              white right wing that they can and
New      Crossroads,     KTC      and        million at Khayelitsha and an un-         will ruthlessly combat any 'black
Guguletu, inhabited by 200 000 or            known amount at KTC, and appe-             flood' to the metropolitan areas.
more people, has been sealed off.            aling to the business community to        Apart from massive powers under
According to official reports it has         help with the government's 'new           current state of emergency regula-
been subjected to intensive security         urbanisation strategy'.                   tions and new internal security
operations including house to house                                                    amendments they have a host of
                                           2 The authorities do not face the           other legal instruments in the Acts
searches for firearms and suspects.          same organised opposition as pre-         dealing with slums, prevention of
   Early in July refugees in township        viously. In place of cohesive resis-      illegal squatting, black local au-
schools were obliged to evacuate             tant squatter groups who refused          thorities and community develop-
and find shelter in township                 the 18 month permits with sites at        ment, entry and employment of
churches, already overcrowded                Khayelitsha and were holding out          aliens, and the new universal 'ra-
matchbox houses or with Boland re-           for full urban and political rights,     cially non-discriminatory' identifi-
latives. Churches in white and col-          there are tens of thousands of dis-       cation document recommended
oured group areas housing refugees           persed, disorganised and im-              by the S A Police in the Presi-
were served with eviction notices            poverished refugees desperately           dent's Council Report on Orderly
under the Black Urban Areas Act al-          struggling to survive.                    Urbanisation (pp 169,201).
ready repealed by Parliament.              3 The security forces no longer have     What of costs and culpability? When
Those that stood firm were                   the hazard presented by masses of      the history of this period comes to be
threatened with court action but pre-        tightly packed shacks into which       written who knows how the toll of
dictably, charges were dropped.              stone throwers and gunmen could        suffering, trauma, polarisation, em-
                                             easily disappear and where arms        bitterment and intensified resistance
   Calls for declaration of the area as                                             arising from the Crossroads - KTC
a disaster area, for judicial investiga-     and explosives could be cached.
                                                                                    holocaust will be assessed? Mean-
tion of the pogrom and for state as-       4 The       'squatter-managers'     of   time there is some hope that the Sup-
sistance, especially in restoring the        Khayelitsha site and service areas     reme Court trial due to commence
sites to refugees, have fallen on deaf       expect to recruit more clients         on August 8 will identify, indict and
ears. 'Go to Khayelitsha' is the offi-        (R25.50 per site is payable by new    call to account those who perpet-
cial refrain, despite the actual shor-        arrivals, plus variable monthly       rated this crime against humanity.
tage of serviced sites and the fact           levies).
that the 3 000 refugees there are still    5 The official        developers of
accommodated in large tents, four             Khayelitsha look for an increased
families per tent.                            population who as commuter            July 29, '86
   With the help of Bishop Desmond
Tutu peace talks have been held but
so far to little avail. The Sacla clinic
at Old Crossroads, an early victim of
the tensions, has been taken over by       Barbara Levick
the SADF and local authorities.            — a member from Port Alfred sends        40 years. Her accurate memory
Staff are currently redeploying their      this tribute                             made her invaluable in tracing de-
resources—much needed in view of                                                    tails of members.
the aggravated health situation in            n the death of Barbara Levick at         Her retirement brought only a
the townships (winter cold, TB
reaching epidemic proportions).
                                           I  Grahamstown on May 1 the Black
                                           Sash has lost a staunch member who
                                                                                    broadening of interests. She helped
                                                                                    the CR Sisters with their library for
Meantime voluntary relief efforts          never failed to turn out whenever        coloured children; she stood with a
continue and there is no solution in       she was asked for any service.           collecting-box nearly every Saturday
sight.                                        Barbie, as she was affectionately     for her many good causes, she main-
                                           known, was born in the Transvaal         tained her interest in the Braille lib-
W h o benefits?                            and spent most of her childhood in       rary by keeping in constant repair
An obscene question yet one that           Germiston where her mother was a         the canvas bags then used for posting
must be asked. Certain parties do          friend of Jean Sinclair's family.        bulky Braille volumes.
stand to gain:                             When her father retired from his            There are not many people with as
                                           post with Hume Pipes, they settled       strong a sense of service as Barbara
1 A core group of some 20 000              in Grahamstown.
  people led by Mr Johnson                                                          Levick and she will be missed by a
  Ngxobongwana, 'mayor' of Old                It was then that Barbie began her     large circle of friends, relatives and a
  Crossroads, claims the whole area        work in the SA Library for the           number of societies in Grahams-
  as theirs in terms of the 1979           Blind, where she remained for over       town, not only the Sash.
   Koornhof     settlement    (2575

                                                                                       THE BLACK SASH — A u g u s t 1986   11

								
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