Friday, July 7, 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
Brutal Evictions and Road Blockades are Continuing
As we explained in our statement yesterday we marched, in our thousands, on the Mayor of the eThekwini Municipality and the KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance on 26 June. However the Mayor and the MEC refused to present themselves to the thousands of people who marched on the City Hall.
The memoranda that we handed over gave them seven days to respond to our demands. We made it clear that if there was no response we would engage in further protest action. The seven days passed with no response. This the politic of contempt.
Yesterday, in response to this contempt, our members blockaded roads across the city. These blockades were organised in defence of our dignity, our land, our homes, our right to the city and our future. Comrades from iTshelimnyama, eKukhanyeni (Dassenhoek), Matlock, Bhambayi and George Hill took the lead. The response from the police was violent and brutal. Fourteen activists were hospitalized and four were arrested.
At the same time the Municipality, under the leadership of the Mayor of Lies, Zandile Gumede, resumed its illegal and violent attacks on our settlements. There were vicious evictions in Wiggins Road and in Mayville in Cato Manor from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. At 10:00 pm the Land Invasions Unit burnt shacks. Around 72 families were left homeless by this criminal attack. This use of fire to attack our land occupations and communities is now new – the Metro Police have been burning people’s belongings during evictions for some time now.
Today the protests, in the form of road blockades, continued. The N2 and the Mangosuthu Highway were both blockaded along with a number of smaller roads. Comrades in Wiggins Road, Mayville, Cato Crest, Shallcross, eNsimbini and Bhambayi were in the forefront of the protest action.
A bus was burnt in Cato Crest. There were no injuries. It is not yet clear to us how the bus was burnt as all roads leading to what the police call the ‘protest zones’ were closed and the Metro Police were present in the area when the bus was burnt. Some comrades think that the police burnt the bus themselves to justify further repression against us.
If the Mayor of Lies refuses to engage with us the protests will continue. If the Mayor of Lies continues to send out armed men to wage illegal, brutal and sometimes fatal attacks on our communities with the aim of dispossessing us of the land that we have occupied the protests will continue. If the Mayor of Lies continues to send out armed men to attack our protests, sometimes at the cost of our lives, instead of coming to talk to us, the protests will continue.
We wish to make it clear to the world that these attacks on our land occupations are illegal and that we are dealing with a criminal and violent municipality that has gone rogue. We are committed to peaceful protest and all our members will be held to that commitment. We condemn violence from all quarters – including the police, the Land Invasions Unit, Municipal security guards, and the thugs and assassins working for the ruling party.
Our dignity is not negotiable.
Blessing Nyuswa 084 695 3205
Thapelo Mohapi 062 892 532
S’bu Zikode 083 547 0474