Wednesday, November 22, 2006
MORE FAMILIES LEFT HOMELESS BY ETHEKWINI MUNICIPALITY
More than 35 families from the Juba Place settlement in Reservoir Hills are preparing to go to court after the eThekwini Municipality smashed up their homes, in the rain, over the weekend. Shack owners were coerced at short notice into accepting relocation to what people call 'formal jondolos' in Nazareth. These houses have no electricity and have toilets which don't work. Most people did not want to be moved away from work and schools and feel unwelcome and nervous in Nazareth where local people had expected the houses. The Municipality moved people out of Juba Place at gun point and now has to protect them from local people in Nazareth at gun point. Meanwhile shack renters in Juba Place were simply left homeless. So much for the constitution..
This is similar to what happened in the Motala Heights settlement a couple of weeks ago. There the chair of the Motala Heights Development Committee, Bheki Ngcobo, was pepper sprayed and beaten when he tried to hand over a lawyers' letter to the police indicating that their actions were illegal. It now turns out that the Municipality had no written consent from shack dwellers and no court order when it demolished shacks in Motala Heights. The City's 'slum clearance' policy, like its policies on street traders and street children, can only be implemented by systematic illegality and state violence.
In recent weeks it has been clear that the eThekwini is rapidly stepping up its attacks on street traders, street children and shack dwellers in its attempt to become a 'world class city'. Mnikelo Ndabankulu observed that "the only thing world class about the way we get treated by the Municipality is the way the police hit us – I was dizzy for two days after I was hit for wearing a red shirt".
The Municipality has promised to return to Juba Place tomorrow to smash the remaining shacks. Abahlali will be there.
For comment and further information contact:
Juba Place, Thandi Khambule 0769135059
Motala Heights, Bheki Ngcobo 0761174473
Abahlali, PRO, Mnikelo Ndabankulu 0735656241
Further information, including background, photographs and updates on the situation etc please visit:
http://www.abahlali.org ( http://www.abahlali.org/ )