Hundreds of black South African squatters were still sleeping in the rain on May 15, nine days after police had pulled down their makeshift shelters outside Cape Town.
GV/SV Families of squatters huddled around fire in the open near Cape Town (5 shots)
CU PULL BACK TO GV Families taking shelter under plastic sheeting and blankets (6 shots)
SV Women preparing food (2 shots)
GV/SV Women with babies sitting around fire under blankets at night (4 shots)
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Background: Hundreds of black South African squatters were still sleeping in the rain on May 15, nine days after police had pulled down their makeshift shelters outside Cape Town. With the onset of wintry weather, 150 men, women and children huddled around open fires on the site of their former camp, razed by police on May 6. Since then, the white South African authorities have kept constant watch over the homeless, to prevent them from rebuilding their shattered huts. The squatters have been suing plastic sheeting and blankets to keep rain and wind at bay, but several infants weakened by the cold were taken to hospital. Regular police action against the KTC camp -- named after a local grocery -- recently flared into violence when teargas and rubber bullets were used against resisting squatters, whose possessions were confiscated. The authorities' action was part of a regular campaign to move blacks out of areas designated as white by the government. Black families are not allowed to live in white residential districts, and those who work there have to go back to adjoining townships set aside for blacks. The squatters said they were forced to erect 'shanties' outside Cape Town, because of an acute shortage of housing in the townships. They also feared deportation to nominally independent tribal homelands set aside by the government. The minister of Cooperation and Development Mr Piet Koornhof has announced a new city for blacks would be built about 30 kilometres from Cape Town. In the meantime, doctors have warned that children at the KTC camp were developing respiratory problems and bronchial pneumonia. Recently, Mr Franko Maritz, the chairman of the Western Cape Administration Board which is responsible for the police operation, said that despite his feelings of compassion, the squatters were acting illegally, and must therefore be prevented from building shelters.