Friday, 19 September 2014
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
Abahlali baseMjondolo Consultative Meeting with the Ingonyama Trust
In KwaNdengezi and in eTafuleni people living in traditional homes with land for livestock and gardens are being forced out of their homes and are losing their land as RDP houses are built on their lands. For these people development means being forced out of a big house that they have built themselves into a tiny government house and it means that they are losing their land and the money and the food that they get from their land. New people are being brought into the RDP houses by the councillors and their ward committees. As usual the houses are given to their family members and to members of the ruling party. As usual there is no consultation with the community. The municipality only consults with the councillors and their ward committees. This land has always fallen under the amaKhosi but the Municipality is now claiming that it falls under them.
As a movement we support land to be allocated for housing and we support the building of new housing. But we stand for decent housing designed with communities and including community halls, clinics, libraries, gardens and parks and not rows and rows of broken down dog kennels. We cannot support the kind of development that dispossesses and further impoverishes one group of already impoverished people to give other impoverished people houses. There is a lot of unused land that can be expropriated to build houses.
In KwaNdengezi the councillor has, like a number of other coucillors in other areas, responded to our attempts to engage on this issue with serious armed intimidation. Those who say that the councillor system is a system of democracy are failing to understand that many people in Durban experience the councillors, ward committees and BECs as a system of oppression.
The Ingonyama Trust was established in 1994 by an Act of Parliament-Act No 3 of 1994 with His Majesty the King as the sole Trustee. The Trust is the largest landowner in the province of KwaZulu-Natal with a total extent of 2, 815,235 hectares. Our movement is engaging on a serious program of securing and reclaiming our land. It is clear that our struggle for land will require an engagement with the Trust as well as the State.
Yesterday delegates from our movement met with officials from the Ingonyama Trust to discuss this matter and other matters pertaining to land. We are pleased that at this meeting we were treated with respect. We thank the Trust for their willingness to engage us respectfully. The officials from the Trust were shocked to hear about what is happening in places like KwaNdengezi and eTafuleni.
The meeting has given us a better understanding of the work of the Trust and a better understanding of various tenure rights particularly those applicable in Traditional Lands. We discussed the various kinds of tenure, including Indigenous Rights-Primary, Permission to Occupy-Secondary and Leases-Secondary in detail. The meeting gave us a better understanding of how “title deeds” are supposed to be issued. This will help us fight against the corruption of fake title deeds that is taking place in our communities.
As a movement that is committed to putting the social value of land before its commercial value, that strives to build democratic structures for community self-organization, that is committed to participatory development and that rejects discrimination based on gender, place of origin and language we often have serious differences with different kinds of powerful forces.
We always try to protect our autonomy and to retain our own power. But we always prefer to negotiate rather than to be in conflict with the government, NGOs and amaKhosi when this is possible. We appreciate the spirit of yesterday’s meeting. It was very informative and the information will enable us to ask the right questions to be able to hold municipalities accountable on issues of land and housing in those settlements where the councillors are taking the land from the amaKhosi with the result that people are losing land and housing in the name of development.
MaMkhize Nxumalo – 078 4332719
Zandile Nsibande – 074 7675706
Thulile Ndlovu – 073 535 0219
Ndabo Mzimela – 079 355 6758