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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
"CROSSROADS - KTC HOLOCAUST"