19 April 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
The eThekwini Municipality continues to demolish people’s houses illegally
The illegal demolishing of people’s houses still continues in the eThekwini Municipality. As we speak people in Marianridge are destitute and have nowhere to live after the eThekwini Municipality illegally demolished the homes in which they had lived for more than three years.
When the community members asked the security guards for an order from the court they were met with rubber bullets. Some were physically attacked by the officers. A seven months pregnant woman whose home was demolished was severely beaten by security guards. She is currently in hospital. When the leadership of the movement arrived at the place the security guards were still there and continued to demolish the houses. It was clear that people were still living in these houses. The houses that were demolished had beds and fridges and so on.
According to the ward councillors from wards 13 and 15 the land has been earmarked for housing development for the coloured community. This is how the politicians divide people. Some years ago the politicians tried to prevent Indian people and African people from struggling together in Motala Heights which is nearby. Some said that Motala Heights is for Indians and that new houses in Nazareth are for Africans. In Kennedy Road our movement was attacked by politicians for including people from the Eastern Cape in the community, in the struggle and in the leadership of the movement. In Cato Crest it was said that government houses should not be for people from the Eastern Cape and that people from the Eastern Cape must ‘go back where they came from’. There are many other examples of these attempts to dominate the oppressed by trying to divide us. Our movement has a clear position – if you live in a community you are from that community irrespective of where you were born or what language you speak. We always work to unite the oppressed and to build the power of the oppressed against those who seek to divided us.
In Marianridge the Ward councillor, Sifiso Ngcobo, has told the people who have been illegally evicted to go back where they come from. He said that the Sotho must go back to the Basotho Land and the Xhosa people must go back to the Eastern Cape.
We are often told that we are living in a democratic free South Africa where people are free to work and live wherever they want. But that it is not the case here in Kwazulu-Natal. It has become a norm in this province to openly discriminate against people from ‘outside the province’.
The community of Marianridge has decided to take to the street early this morning to voice their anger at their illegal, violent and oppressive treatment by the municipality. The police have responded by shooting at them. They police made no attempt to discover the reasons as to why the people decided to take to the street. One of the police officers was overheard by one of the community member saying that they must shoot at them before the media arrives, so that the protestors are not heard by the public. This form of suppression was used by the apartheid regime. It continues to be used to do. The security guard are on standby as we speak to prevent anyone from trying to rebuild. They open fire to anyone that is trying to rebuild.
The police in the area are on the side of the councillors. The councillors have openly told the community that they will be wasting their time if they open cases with police. The police have confirmed this by telling the people that they will not waste state facilities by opening unnecessary cases. The evictions and assaults were illegal and criminal acts but the police are not enforcing the law, the are enforcing the illegal oppression of the councillors.
We had hoped that when the new administration took office in Durban that the new leaders were, as they promised, going to engage with us. But it seems that we are facing the same gangsterism as we faced from the previous administration. It has become clear that we are only important to the politicians during elections when they want our votes. Our lives do not matter. People are attacked by the very people whom they have voted for.
We live in a state of unfreedom. We are ruled by gangsters who use every means to divide and repress us. The struggle for land and dignity continues. The struggle for freedom continues.
Derek Mayifela – 078 752 4161
Musa Zikhali – 078 686 1492
Thapelo Mohapi – 062 892 5323