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    The Organisation of a Land Occupation: A Case Study of Marikana, Cape Town

    Rayner Teo / TXXRAY002

    A dissertation submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Social Science in Sociology

    Faculty of the Humanities

    University of Cape Town

    2015

    COMPULSORY DECLARATION

    This work has not been previously submitted in whole, or in part, for the award of any degree. It is my own work. Each significant contribution to, and quotation in, this dissertation from the work, or works, of other people has been attributed, and has been cited and referenced.

    28 August 2015

    Signature Date

  • The copyright of this thesis vests in the author. No quotation from it or information derived from it is to be published without full acknowledgement of the source. The thesis is to be used for private study or non-commercial research purposes only.

    Published by the University of Cape Town (UCT) in terms of the non-exclusive license granted to UCT by the author.

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    Acknowledgements

    Professor Jeremy Seekings "cognitively liberated" (McAdam 1985) me to spend time in South Africa, and provided advice and penetrating insight throughout the project from proposal to completion. My thanks are also due to the Department of Sociology and the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town, and Equal Education. Dumi Hlwele and Marius Coqui provided invaluable administrative support. Thobani Ncapai facilitated this project every step of the way, and it would never have happened without him.

    My time in South Africa would not have been possible without the generous financial support of the Fox International Fellowship awarded by the MacMillan Center of Yale University, for which theyin particular Mr. Foxhave my utmost gratitude. Financial support for implementing the household survey was also provided by the Centre for Social Science Research at the University of Cape Town.

    I owe so much to the friends in Cape Town who kept me sane and safe along the journey, asked penetrating questions, and provided distraction and love: Edward Chu, Francisco Diez, Sam Hamer, Dani Madrid Morales, Gabriel Nahmias and Chelsea Lee. My mother bore my unexpected absence from home with fortitude.

    But my greatest debt is to my interviewees, from municipal government, from the South African Police Services, community activists, and most of all the people of Marikana informal settlement, Cape Town, whose hospitality and concern for my safety and wellbeing was truly moving. I hope I have documented enough of their lives and work that they can be an example to others in South Africa.

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    Abstract

    Land invasions are a nationwide concern in South Africa. Though the academic literature and the media both assert that land invasions are highly-organised activities, "organisation" can cover (or conflate) a wide range of phenomena. What is the nature of "organisation" in a land invasion and the resulting informal settlement?

    Drawing on mainstream social movement theory, I present and interpret evidence for how Marikana informal settlement in Cape Town took shape in August 2014. The land invasion emerged and succeeded not because of formal organisation (or indeed the tactics of an unknown collective actorthe "Third Force" hypothesis), but because of the political opportunity structure that the settlers faced, which they were only partially aware of; the networks and information that they were able to tap; and the identities and cultural frames that defined individual Marikana settlers and guided their actions. The fact that the majority of Marikana settlers were not connected to any mobilisation attemptnor indeed knew anyone in Marikana before they arrivedshows that neither formal organisation nor informal activist networks are sufficient to explain Marikana's explosive growth. Rather, what enabled the invasion was the passive network (Bayat 1997a) of people sharing common, overlapping identities and recognising a common interest between each other, who came together in a space of opportunity.

    I then turn to evidence of organisational activity as the land invasion developed into an informal settlement. Marikana residents organised structures of grassroots governance at various levels, engaging externally while stratifying internally. External players and the eviction process were crucial in forging the bottom-up governance structures that emerged. While these structures almost immediately began to resemble the repertoire of organisational routines which was familiar to the residents, some of the practices they adopted were more in line with the neighbourhood's status as a new informal settlement under consolidation. However, community leaders came and went, while episodes of infighting and conflict broke out sporadically as committees lost legitimacy and faced accusations of corruption, illustrating the dynamic and uncertain nature of the new informal settlement. The trend of increasing formalisation and bureaucratisation was not a linear progression. Finally, an episode of protest followed by violent clashes with a neighbouring community marked the culmination of a tactical trajectory of attempts to engage with the state.

    This study develops and problematises the notion that land invasions are "organised," andin the particular case of new informal settlementshelps to close the gap in knowledge about leadership and grassroots organising in South African social movements that others (Runciman 2011; Drivdal 2014, 2021) have identified. And since millions of South Africans still live in inadequate housing, there is scope for agents on all sidesfrom policymakers to social movement participantsto reach a more systematic and productive understanding of how to deal with the inevitable formation of new informal settlements.

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    Contents

    Front matter Acknowledgements ................................................................................................................ ii Abstract ................................................................................................................................ iii Contents ................................................................................................................................ iv

    Chapter 1 Introduction ............................................................................................................... 1 Research questions ................................................................................................................. 3 Data, methods, and challenges ............................................................................................... 8 A gap in the literature .......................................................................................................... 12 Structure of the dissertation ................................................................................................. 15

    Chapter 2 Profile: Who were the Marikana settlers? ............................................................... 18 Background and demographics ............................................................................................ 18 Demographics of Marikana .................................................................................................. 21 Access to services ................................................................................................................ 24 Household size and structure ............................................................................................... 25 Vulnerable populations and social grant receipt .................................................................. 28 Previous house ..................................................................................................................... 29 Coming to Marikana ............................................................................................................ 30

    Personal accounts ............................................................................................................. 30 Survey data....................................................................................................................... 33

    Networks and information diffusion .................................................................................... 36 Organising in Marikana ....................................................................................................... 38 Socio-political attitudes ....................................................................................................... 40

    Gender .............................................................................................................................. 40 Xenophobia ...................................................................................................................... 42 Participation and protest .................................................................................................. 47

    Conclusion ........................................................................................................................... 51 Chapter 3 Emergence: The founding of Marikana .................................................................. 54

    Theories of social movements and collective action ........................................................... 56 A chronology of Marikana ................................................................................................... 60 An antecedent in Mthawelanga: November 2012 ................................................................ 62 The first founding of M