Protest at Government Failure to Assist Shack Dwellers After the Storm

1 December 2012
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Protest at Government Failure to Assist Shack Dwellers After the Storm

The huge storm that hit Durban last night has left several communities reeling. People's homes have been flooded and some have been washed away.

As always shack dwellers we are more vulnerable to these disasters than most other people. For years we have been trying to engage the eThekwini Municipality around both their failure to take adequate measures to protect shack dwellers from disasters like fire and floods and to offer proper support to shack dwellers after disasters. But the municipality only gives its time for the people for political issues and not ever for issues of development.

The Kennedy Road settlement is one of the places that has been badly affected by this storm. When Nigel Gumede and others came to the settlements after we were attacked there he promised that the people would be housed by February 2010. They remain in their shacks. All they have received are the usual lies.

Things are also very bad in the Quarry Road settlement. This settlement has a river one side and a steep road running down towards it on the others side. Each and every time there is rain the Quarry Road residents fear to sleep at night because of not the knowing whether or not their houses will be washed away. Councillor Bhekisani Ngcobo in Ward 25 has said that he will make plans for the community to be safe but today they are sweeping water from their homes.

In KwaMashu residents are suffering the same. Councillor Lucky Mdlalose in ward 41 has not intervened to offer them assistance. The vales were full of water, houses started to drown, even cars were almost washed away. This has been happening for several times. What has really angered the community this time is that the councillor came to the community after the storm but he would not go inside to see the disaster for himself. He said that he is not going to come inside the settlement to see the homes which are damaged because it a mess. The residents feel that councillor does not have support and care for his ward so they have blocked the road. They are now they are demanding that the Municipality intervene to this matter.

Other communities that have been badly affected by the storm are KwaNdengezi and Shannon Drive.

We can't keep living like this. When we are not burning we are being flooded. We need land and housing in the cities. We need proper drainage, toilets and electricity. We need the right to be able to represent ourselves in all matters affecting our communities. We need a municipality that works for the people, for all the people, and not for the politicians who only want our votes. We will not accept being forced to live without safety or dignity.

For more information please contact:

Sindi Maluleka, Kennedy Road: 073 2344281
Jabulile, Kwa Mashu: 074 542 5939
Thuli, KwaNdengezi: 073 535 0219
Bandile Mdlalose, AbM General Secretary: 071 424 2815
Mnikelo Ndabankulu, AbM Spokesperson: 081 263 3462