27 January 2013
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press statement
Protesters Threatened in KwaNdengezi
Abahlali KwaNdengezi are currently engaging in a protest against corrupt and authoritarian development. Abahlali KwaNdengezi have had no choice but to defend their homes, their graves, their culture and of course their dignity against the eThekwini Municipality’s failed housing project in their area. They are currently protesting against a corrupt housing project that is being imposed on people from above without consultation or respect. Once again we see that failing political leadership creates hatred and violence in our communities.
Abahlali baseMjondolo in Ward 12 and the leadership of the movement have done all it can to engage councillor Mduduzi Ngcobo (Nqola), the Office of the Speaker in the eThekwini municipality and the office of Nigel Gumede (Human Settlements and Infrastructure) on the crisis in KwaNdengezi. However they have all failed to respond to our warnings about the crisis in the area.
On the 31 August last year the community had to protest against the City’s stealing of residents’ yards in the name of development and in some instances allegedly selling the RDP houses that they built on people’s yards, and over their graves, to people who are not from the community. The memorandum that was handed over was, like many others, thrown in the bin and has never been responded to. Many people’s homes were destroyed and replaced by houses built for those who are not even known by the families and the community. The politicians are misusing this housing project to get wealth and power for themselves at the expense of the community.
What choices are we left with when political leadership is in such crises that councillors, like Nqola did threaten to shoot residents in the broad day light? A case of intimidation by the local councillor was reported to the police in September 2012 (Case 197/09/2012). But it was never investigated until today just like the case of intimidation by Nigel Gumede that was reported to the police in 2011 after he made an open threat against S’bu Zikode. The crisis of political leadership means that the political leadership are leaders unto themselves and a law unto themselves. They have wandered far from the people and are now exploiting the people instead of serving the people. The politicians are ensuring that ‘development’ is there for their own interests and not to meet the urgent needs of the people.The police are there to protect the politicians and not to serve the people equally and fairly.
We request the media to rush to KwaNdengezi in Pitoli section to witness the hijacking of people’s right to housing. We request the media to see for themselves how the City creates war in our communities in the name of delivery.
Moments ago isosha lomkonto wesizwe [ex-MK soldier] uNhlanhla Mkhize threatened the protesters and pointed them with a gun. The community was marching and also saying slogans against corruption. Mkhize then came out of the house and pulled a gun. It became clear that he is doing this because he is one of those who bought a house.
We demand that this project be stopped, fully investigated and that all future development in the area be undertaken in an open and democratic manner.
For more information on the crisis in KwaNdengezi please see: http://www.abahlali.org/taxonomy/term/3434
For further information please contact:
Thulile Ndlovu: Abahlali KwaNdengezi Branch on 073 5350219
TJ Ngongoma: Abahlali baseMjondolo on 084 6139772
S’bu Zikode: Abahlali baseMjondolo on 083 5470474