Category Archives: Amanda Khoza

Sunday Tribune: ‘We want houses not meat’

'We want houses not meat'


Durban – Durban mayor James Nxumalo’s delivery of meat parcels to the poor in eThekwini backfired on Saturday when angry residents started a fire in protest at his presence.

Nxumalo and his helpers, some riding in a four-ton truck laden with the beef parcels sponsored by a Turkish company, zipped through the city as part of a mayoral outreach programme.

First stop was the Kennedy Road informal settlement, before moving on to Sydenham, Amaoti, KwaMashu, Isipingo, Austerville, Chatsworth, and then ending off the outreach drive at Inchanga, Nxumalo’s home town.

Residents of Kennedy Road barricaded the roads and burned rubbish to vent their anger over the council’s failure to deliver houses.

“I don’t need meat – I need a house,” said Sandile Sebetha.

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Two more shack dwellers killed by state violence in Durban


Two killed in fight over electricity

Two people were killed and seven injured, allegedly by eThekwini Municipality security guards, on Saturday in a fight over electricity.

At about 9am on Saturday a stand-off took place between city officials and residents at the New Germany informal settlement in Reservoir Hills when officials disconnected cables drawing electricity from nearby schools and garages to the informal settlement.

Relatives of Malizo Fakaza and Nhlanhla Mkhize, the men who were killed, are now demanding that the city accept responsibility for their deaths.

Fakaza, who lived in the Kennedy Road informal settlement, was visiting his cousin, Mbali Mdlozini.

He was shot in the head.

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Sunday Tribune: RDP housing list does not exist

For many years shack dwellers in Durban have been bullied and controlled in the name of the ‘housing list’. Activists have been shown as ‘queue jumpers’ trying to move up the list. People have been told to be patient because they are on the list and their turn will come. But for years it has been obvious that the list has been a fiction – something that doesn’t really exist but people who said this were called liars and the third force. Now, finally, after all these years of lying the politicians have admitted that there is no list.

RDP housing list does not exist


Durban – The Sunday Tribune can today reveal that the 400 000 or so people living in squatter settlements in and around Durban have no hope of getting an RDP house, because the system they subscribed to – putting their names down on a council housing allocation list – does not exist.

The ramifications of this could be far-reaching, because most people in informal settlements believe they will eventually be allocated a home after having put their names down on a “RDP housing list”.

However, eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo and the head of the city’s housing committee, Nigel Gumede, said on Friday there never was an RDP housing list – a claim the DA said was a lie.

Jethro Lefevre, ward councillor for Overport/Sydenham, where there is a huge informal settlement issue, and also the DA whip for housing, said Gumede’s assertions were nonsense.

“When council sold off rental housing stock it had absolutely nothing to do with RDP lists. There was a separate RDP housing list, and we have asked for years what has happened to it. This is a web of lies and misinformation designed to conceal who the real recipients of RDP houses have been since 1998.”

But Gumede insisted “there never were RDP housing lists for informal settlements”.
“The lists were for those who qualified for government housing. When we stopped building government houses that list was closed. Since then houses have been given to people in informal settlements on a needs basis, and also sometimes to councillors whose lives are threatened in the areas in which they live.”

When asked if thousands of shack dwellers were informed that there were no waiting lists, he said, “Of course they were told that they are not registered for RDP houses.”

Gumede said there had been misinformation for years about the existence of RDP housing lists. “These people don’t read or communicate or they would know the truth” (that there is no RDP housing), he said.

However, in seeming contradiction to his earlier statement that the RDP lists had never existed, Gumede said: “We visited those places (informal settlements) and gave each house a number, and told the residents that they had to ring-fence the community and not allow it to grow further.

“But when we went back we would find many more houses, without the official numbers we had painted on them, and then our plans to move the original settlers to a new housing project would have to be scrapped.

“Also, we would find there were people who had moved on, or didn’t need a house any more, or had died. These factors meant that housing lists were of no use and had to be scrapped.”

Gumede said the ward councillors would henceforth submit lists of the most needy to council, and these lists had to be “unanimously approved” by all the council members before they would be forwarded to welfare and other officials to conduct a needs assessment, and then to housing officials for formal handover.

Lefevre admitted that the ANC’s housing policy had “looked excellent” on paper.

“The concept could not be faulted. It involved clearing the land on which people were squatting and developing it for human settlements. People were told they would go into a transit camp for a maximum of six months, and then be moved into their new homes, after which the shacks would be demolished.

“What happened instead was wholesale corruption while the housing crisis |spiralled out of control. Last year the provincial housing department gave R3 billion to eThekwini, which should have been enough to build 15 000 houses. So far 60 percent of that amount has been spent, with only 3 000 houses to show for it. We have asked constantly where the balance of the money went,” he said.

S’bu Zikode, president of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the homeless people’s movement, said the city had politicised the housing allocation process.

“We’ve asked the city several times to have a list so that people are properly allocated. They are allocating houses according to political alliances, they prioritise people who are in the ANC,” claimed Zikode.

“There are teachers and policemen who own RDP houses and there are people who are buying RDP houses through officials,” he alleged.

Zikode said there was no transparency. “How will the city monitor fraud when they do not have a list or an allocation strategy?” he asked.

Sunday Tribune: Climate clash as groups hijack city rally

By Yusuf Omar and Amanda Khoza

Climate clash as groups hijack city rally

It was meant to be a rally to highlight civil society’s united demand for action against climate change, but tensions flared as political groups hijacked the Global Day of Action rally through the Durban city centre on Saturday.

Chants of “amandla” (“power” in Zulu) and “amalungelo ethu” (our rights) could be heard inside the International Convention Centre, venue of the COP17 conference as about 5 000 people took to the streets.

While civil society groups, trade unions, faith-based organisations and members of the public rallied against climate change, two political groups used the platform to push their own agendas.

It was a bitter twist to an otherwise peaceful event, which started at about 10am at the bottom of West Street. But shortly after the march began, the ANC Youth League, employed as COP17 volunteers and dressed in green, taunted the Democratic Left Front, a new political movement which carried posters saying “10 more years of Zuma” and sang anti-government songs.

The two groups burnt each other’s posters and fist fights broke out. Riot police had to intervene throughout the march. “The ANCYL are against our march. We are socialists,” said Democratic Left co-ordinator Alan Goatley. “We are a front for many different community organisations and interest groups. We want service delivery. They (the ANCYL) tore our placards and burnt our flags because we chanted anti-government sentiments.”

“I’m in solidarity with everyone here – but not them. They are insulting our president. These are not socialists. They are anarchists hiding as socialists,” said ANCYL KZN official Jomo Sibiya.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi led a group of Clicks workers and union members who demanded a R350 pay rise. Asked what this had to do with climate change, Vavi said: “It’s the right time and place to be discussing this. Jobs and climate change go hand in hand.”

Also part of the crowd was the Right2Know movement, rallying against the Protection of State Information Bill. The National Union of Mineworkers toyi-toyied for more mining jobs, contradicting environmental calls for the end of coal mining. There were also many NGOs and civil society marchers who blew vuvuzelas, calling for climate action.

No one cried at the New Orleans-style funeral procession for “King Coal”, as marchers carried his coffin. Others carried a gigantic inflated black-and-white octopus representing greedy multinational companies.

Durban-born Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace, laughed at how, in 1985, he was arrested during an anti-apartheid march on the same street. He said: “The turnout has been decent but we need much more. This is about the unions, and labour movements, not simply NGOs, because climate change affects everybody. We want the COP17 negotiators to listen to the people, not the polluters. Every year 350 000 people die because of climate change.”

Tasneem Essop, a spokeswoman for WWF International, marched in a black-and-white panda bear T-shirt. “We want to save the Kyoto Protocol. It’s not looking good, but we still have a week. We want the heads of state to be bold.”

However, many delegates say an extension of the protocol, or the signing of a new Durban Protocol, is looking highly unlikely. “COP17 does not represent the voices of the poor. We are here to tell people how we are living in the shacks and how climate change is affecting our lives,” said Bandile Mdlalose, secretary general of Abahlali baseMjondolo, the shack dwellers movement. “Our shacks have been demolished by the floods.”

Outside the ICC, leaders from each organisation made speeches before their statements were handed to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.

Many delegates were in full support. “We are saying a lot of what these protesters are saying. We are in full support because public support is very important,” said a US NGO delegate.

Both UN and ICC security refused to open the gates when the Sunday Tribune asked to leave the premises.

Meanwhile, Sue Bannister, head of the city’s Strategic Projects Unit, said everything had gone “well”. “We’ve had no major problems.” The biggest challenge was caused by the weather.

“Any roof that could leak, did leak. So there were mop-up operations. But those have all been handled,” she said. She didn’t expect problems when state leaders arrived.