INTRODUCTION: In South Africa about one thousand blacks, squatting in townships surrounding Cape Town for over three weeks are still waiting for settlement.
GV Crowds of squatters waving fists at authorities.
GV Families gathered on site.
GV Police keeping watch.
SV Army officials and police doing car check.
GV Squatters on site.
SCU MP Helen Suzman speaking to reporter.
GV Group of squatters with belongings packing up and getting into a car. (3 SHOTS)
SCU Congressman Richard Ottinger speaking to reporter.
GV Squatters and white student supporters on site. (3 SHOTS)
SV Squatters standing around as leaders discuss situation in an informal group. (2 SHOTS)
CU Police watching site PULL BACK GV view of site.
INTERVIEWEE: "And it seems to me now the new technique is going to be to starve those people out, which of course is a fine way for a civilised country to deal with a social problem of this magnitude."
OTTINGER: "We could see from where we were standing that all these many shutters had been turned down so the few people left were naked to the elements with an alternative apparently to go home and starve to death or stay where they are and freeze to death. That's the kind of inhumanity that has us all close to tears and we just don't understand how any civilised government can possibly tolerate, to say nothing of perpetrate."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: In South Africa about one thousand blacks, squatting in townships surrounding Cape Town for over three weeks are still waiting for settlement. They left areas designated as their homelands under South Africa's apartheid policies to try and find work on the Cape Peninsula. So far, all efforts to persuade them to return to their homelands have failed.
SYNOPSIS: The squatters have refused to move, hoping they will eventually be allowed to stay, even though many of their shanty houses have been bulldozed to the ground. Officials have tried every method to persuade them to leave, even free return train tickets have been offered. There have also been allegations of police brutality.
On Wednesday (12 August) tear gas was fired to disperse a crowd near a camp, but police said the trouble did not involve the squatters. MP Helen Suzman spoke to reporter.
The South African government denies it has acted in a hard-hearted or inhumane way saying the squatters were given two weeks notice to vacate their makeshift accommodation. Congressman, Richard Ottinger is part of a visiting U.S. delegation.
The squatters have found other supporters in the Church and the Civil Rights League. Although banned from the area, several Clergy have taken food to these homeless people. A spokesman for the Civil Rights League in Cape Town said the situation where more than 400 people are forced to sleep in the open was akin to the genocide of Nazi Germany.
Police have been removing squatter's shelters for several weeks now and in recent days have stepped up the demolition of sites like this one. After they leave, the residents build fresh shelters.