Victory for the people of Hatcliffe Extension?

  Today's "Herald" has a list of around 2, 578 people allocated stands in "Hatcliffe Housing Project" - and apart from about 100 stands to SIRDC, it is the very same people who were the original stand-holders at Hatcliffe Extension new stands! Now they are going to be given back their stands!! Or so we are led to believe - we'll believe it when we see it.

After having all their homes and building materials destroyed -and what will they use to re-build their shelters? And how will they transport all their furniture and belongings and families back to Hatcliffe Extension? And how will they all find out about this, when some have gone to Mozambique, Malawi, Beitbridge, etc - chased "back to their rural areas" by the police?

And what about the 7 weeks of school that the children have already missed? And the people on ARVs and other medication who have been without for 7 weeks already? How many of those have died, or deteriorated drastically? Who is going to find the orphans and tell them?

Will all the aid agencies, organisations and individuals who had invested in Hatcliffe Extension and its residents have the confidence and the wish to return, now that most of their projects and buildings have been destroyed?

It appears that the argument that the people of Hatcliffe Extension held valid lease agreements for their stands has held sway - and also that the area is in fact suitable for high density housing, despite Ignatius Chombo's amazing pronouncements in Parliament on 6 July that Hatcliffe Extension would be re-designed for Police Boarding School teachers' houses and the Open University!

As the people of Hatcliffe Extension absorb the full meaning of this latest development in their lives and decide how to react, we have to thank all those who spoke out and helped them in any way whatsoever - lawyers, churches, national and international NGOs and aid agencies, activists, individuals of whatever persuasion - THANK YOU!! Please keep on speaking out.

NB This is not the end of the saga of Hatcliffe Extension, or even the beginning of the end - just the end of the beginning, we hope - please stay in touch! The struggle will definitely continue.