Jim se Bos in debt to ‘Abe’



August 29, 2016
Jim se Bos in debt to ‘Abe’

SQUATTER: Tshoniswa Kowani, 63 CREDIT: Ayanda Ndamane

A resident says she has a lot of respect for their landlord “who is fighting for their human rights”.

Jim se Bos was named after one of its first inhabitants during the 1980s.

Today, Jim’s wife Tshoniswa Kowani, 63, is one of about 3 000 squatters still living in the area.

Tshoniswa says Jim, who was a driver for a company called Cape Lands during the 1980s, moved onto the vacant land in 1984 “during the time of the dompas laws”, and at that time they were only about 10 squatters.

Sadly, Jim was murdered in another informal settlement in Philippi in 1991.

Tshoniswa says they didn’t have any children together, although she has four of her own.

She decided to stay on in Jim se Bos, because she had nowhere else to go.

When her children grew up, they moved out of the camp.

Her home burnt down three times since her husband died.

Like many of those who don’t steal electricity, Tshoniswa uses gas stoves and paraffin lights.

“We are here since 1984,” she says.

“When police looked for people, they would say they are going to Jim se Bos, and that is why the place is named after him.”

Tshoniswa says she has a lot of respect for their landlord, Abe Parker, “who is fighting for their human rights”.

Amanda Stuurman, 36, the chairperson of the local committee, says their “hearts bleed” for Abe.

They have a good relationship with him and she says it’s unfair the way the City of Cape Town is “bullying” him.

“He often visits us and tells us what is going on. This isn’t Mr Parker’s problem, it is the City’s problem,” she says.

“They want him to sign for electricity to be placed here but we understand why he is refusing because it would mean he must pay for the services.

“Every time we vote, we get toilets, we want electricity.”

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