Category Archives: Emacambini

Update on eMacambini Negotiations

Statement from Concerned Members of the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee: Update on Development Talks in eMacambini

A Macambini delegation of four people met with MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu to negotiate about development. The talks were held in Durban last week. The MEC was to report back about his findings, after meeting two possible developers: Rhuwaad and Sport City International. Sport City International is the developer preferred by the community. But Mabuyakhulu told the community that Sport City International is no longer interested in the project, so Rhuwaad is the only developer. But the people of eMacambini are saying “No to Rhuwaad!” This is because of the general corrupt relationship between Rhuwaad and the Provincial Government. But Mabuyahkulu said he will set another appointment to look at the land that the people are prepared to offer and the development will continue on their own terms! Some of the leaders in the community are unhappy about talks, as they happen outside of the eMacambini vicinity. They also are unhappy that talks continue while there are still ongoing court cases taking place because of these unfaithful stakeholders. How can we continue to negotiate about the development project while we are still in court because of Rhuwaad and the Provincial Government?

We wish to remain anonymous in order not to be pressurised by the traditional leadership.

Witness: Mannya makes explosive claims against Ndebele

http://www.witness.co.za/index.php?showcontent&global[_id]=25786

Mannya makes explosive claims against Ndebele
29 Jul 2009
Nalini Naidoo

SUSPENDED head of the KZN Agriculture Department, advocate Modidima Mannya, who faces dismissal after being found guilty of 16 charges in a disciplinary hearing, has thrown down the gauntlet to former premier S’bu Ndebele.

Yesterday he made public a letter he sent to Ndebele in February containing explosive allegations. These include a claim that prime coastal land earmarked for the Macambini/Dubai tourism project was to be sold for $1 to the developers. The project, which led to widespread protests along the N2, was said to involve the removal of over 8 000 families.

Mannya is challenging his dismissal in court, claiming that the disciplinary charges against him were “trumped up” to punish him for refusing to obey alleged “unlawful and illegal instructions.

He says: “I am writing this letter basically to appeal to your conscience for you to step down as minister.”

Ndebele is the national Transport minister, but was premier at the time the letter was written.

On the Macambini/Dubai project, which was mired in controversy, Mannya writes:

“Whilst in a meeting we were presented with a draft agreement. I raised a number of objections. Let me repeat some of the objections I raised in Dubai:

“•Provision was made for the provincial government to spend $30 000 (R300 000 000) per annum for the marketing of the project. I would never understand the logic of this. However, you would be aware of the provisions of section 67 of the Public Finance Management Act. A provincial government may not bind itself to any future financial commitment, denominated in foreign currency.

“•Provision was made for the land to be sold at $1. I am certain that you know that the land in question is tribal land and cannot be alienated. You also know that government is not the owner of the land. I do not understand why we could sell land we did not own.

•Provision was made for government to clear all settlements, graves etc. Mr Minister, I would kill, if need be, to protect my ancestral graves. Until then, I thought of you as someone who respects and understand our culture, heritage and the sensitivity of our cultural practices.

“Outside of this draft agreement, I was particularly required to give an undertaking that an environmental impact authorisation will be granted. This is not only illegal, but also illogical. An authorisation can only be issued once there is an application and it meets all the requirements.

“For your interest, when I further objected to this blatant corruption, I was told who was to be bribed and how much each bribe would be. Mr Minister, this whole thing is ethically, morally and legally reprehensible. I understand why you sub-contracted your responsibility to Mbanjwa to ensure my persecution.”

On the over-expenditure in the Agriculture Department under former head Jabulani Mjwara, the letter reads: “What still has to emerge is who else knew and was part of discussions which resulted in that over-expenditure. When this comes out, we will know and understand why, despite serious allegations of financial misconduct were levelled against him, you authorised a re-determination of his contract. Of course he later had to go to court to get his money.”

The letter goes on to raise several other allegations and can be read in full at www.witness.co.za

Logan Maistry, spokesman for Ndebele, said yesterday: “Advocate Mannya left the Eastern Cape provincial government under a cloud of controversy. He was suspended by former premier Sibusisio Ndebele in KwaZulu-Natal. He is now being dismissed by KZN Premier Zweli Mkhize. This in itself speaks volumes. All further queries should be directed to the KZN provincial government.”

The Witness: We are all the Public

http://www.witness.co.za/index.php?showcontent&global[_id]=25336

We are ALL the public
20 Jul 2009
Richard Pithouse

ACROSS the country the most vulnerable people in our society are being subjected to brazenly unlawful and often violent action at the hands of the state. Homeless people, refugees, sex workers, street traders and shack dwellers are all being taught, in the most literal sense of the term, to know their place. But state illegality is not only aimed at the segregation of physical space, it is also about ensuring that the people on the margins of society know their political place.

This is why protests are often illegally banned and attacked. Protesters are routinely arrested on the charge of public violence when there has been no damage to property or person. As grassroots movements have often noted, there is a clear implication that some people have been defined as being outside of the public and that their demands for inclusion are automatically considered to be an assault on the public.

The lived reality of our society is that every citizen has a right to access some of the basic means to sustain life — social grants, a little water and some health care. But if you are not a worker or consumer in the formal realm you must know your place. That place is outside of both the physical and political spaces that are reserved for the acceptable and legitimate public.

It is true that our Constitution is better than most. But because it costs money to access the courts, the Constitution offers no systemic protection against state criminality. It is also true that our civil society is more vibrant than most. But because it is largely committed to technocratic interventions that carry no material force, civil society is equally unable to offer systemic protection against the state. The left in the Congress Alliance has strengthened its position in government, but we have not yet seen any willingness on its part to take a real stand against the active, armed and often violent attempts at social exclusion by the state.

We need to do some serious thinking about the failures of our democracy.

In recent years there has been a fairly vigorous discussion in our elite public sphere about the way in which the democratic potential of key institutions like the SABC, parliamentary committees and some of our universities has been curtailed. Although this discussion is important, it has often failed to take sufficient account of the unstable but nevertheless clear set of alliances between the authoritarianisms of elite nationalism and corporate power. In fact, it has not been unusual for critics of the former to see the latter as the world-class alternative to the local deviation of the former. This is profoundly mistaken.

Elite nationalism, in and outside of the state, constantly strives to present its narrow interests as those of the nation as a whole. It is not unusual for it to deploy the radical language of resistance to advance interests that are clearly parasitic on society as a whole. Although it evokes a political discourse, it is a discourse in which a small part of the nation is taken to represent the whole, with the result that it functions to close down the space for popular political engagement.

When ordinary people try to stake their claim or to hold their ground in the nation, it’s not unusual for them to be very quickly defined out of the community of people that legitimately make up the public. For Wayne Minnaar, spokesperson of the Johannesburg Metro Police, people who have been driven to live on the streets of Johannesburg should be arrested and herded into prison because they are not “clean”. For Michael Sutcliffe, the manager of the eThekwini Municipality, the administration of which has a long and brutal history of illegal evictions, forced removals and bans on protests, as well as police violence against peaceful protests, most of the traders at the city’s oldest market must be evicted in favour of a corporate mall because they are now suddenly illegal. Tokyo Sexwale recently warned housing activists that the government would distinguish between organisations “acting legitimately” and those “acting under other flags” for whom the police would display “zero tolerance”.

Corporate authoritarianism works, with equal vigour, to justify its continual expansion to new areas of social life in the name of a claim to efficiency and competence that will, by enabling economic growth, competitiveness and development, be in the general interest. This is a self-serving fiction. Once again the interests of a privileged part are being confused with those of the whole. When public housing, peasant farming or education are brought under corporate control, the reality is greater exploitation, greater exclusion and an increasingly rapid movement towards a society split into two fundamentally unequal and physically segregated worlds.

Corporate authoritarianism is organised via the deeply anti-political and therefore anti-democratic system of managerialism. When managerial despotism is extended outside of the corporation it often uses the language of science, with all the authority inherent in that language, to take decision making out of the hands of the public and to place it under the control of experts. It is not just the poor who are excluded from active participation in society and its institutions, as corporate logic is extended to new areas of society. When university professors suddenly find that they must account to line managers who will audit their subordination to a performance management system, the ancient ideal of a university as an institution constituted by a community of scholars has been quietly clubbed to death by human resources experts.

When applied to development, the logic of corporate authoritarianism invests despotic power in the hands of experts who know very little about the lived realities of the people whose lives they seek to plan. When apartheid denied shack dwellers services in cities and then forcibly removed them to transit camps in the middle of nowhere, this was denounced as a crime. Now development experts declare the same processes as best practice. No ordinary person is deemed to have a right to challenge their expertise and so opposition can only be read as perverse, as a matter for the police.

The death of protesters at the hands of the police is not uncommon and the real scandal is that these deaths do not result in any scandal in elite publics. They are just a footnote to the daily news. Some people, like the girl from Kwazakhele shot in the head during a protest for houses, water, electricity and toilets on July 1, just don’t count.

The predatory nature of the alliance of nationalist and corporate elites has perhaps become most extreme in eMacambini on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal where many thousands of people face eviction from their land so that a Dubai developer can build a giant theme park. A recent newspaper article on the proposed AmaZulu World theme park declared that although there is community opposition to the development it has the strong support of the influential KZN Growth Coalition, a public-private partnership between business and the state.

In this formulation, the people of eMacambini, those who have most to lose from the alliance between corporate and political elites, are not the public.

The assumption that the people are not the public is one against which we must rebel if we are all to count and our democracy is to be a living force in our society. We are all, sex workers and accountants, the public.

eMacambini: ‘Solution will be found, says MEC’

So if business and political elites, with their mutual dependence, are a ‘public-private partnership’ where does that leave the (neither public nor private) people of eMacambini as Mabuyakulu continues to evict in his new portfolio?

http://www.dailynews.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=5069173

Solution will be found, says MEC

July 06, 2009 Edition 3

Barbara Cole

FINDING a solution to the controversial proposed AmaZulu World leisure and entertainment development on the North Coast was one of the provincial government’s high-est priorities, MEC Mike Mabuyakhulu has said.

And with a climate of trust between the various parties, he was sure a solution could be found, Mabuyakhulu, the new MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, said in an interview.

“We want to find a win-win situation. I’m an optimist. There is always hope and we believe we can facilitate an amicable solution.”

Consultations with the various stakeholders and affected parties would begin soon, possibly before the end of the month, he said.

The proposed R55 billion phased development would centre around a Disney-type theme park and also envisages hotels, a sports village, a marina, a residential area for several hundred thousand people, golf courses, schooling, including a university, and a nature reserve. It is the brainchild of Ruwaad, a Dubai-based investment company.

It would bring more than 200 000 jobs to the poverty-stricken Mandeni area, 40km from the new international airport at La Mercy.

The project has the backing of the influential KZN Growth Coalition (a public-private partnership between business leaders and politicians), and as a “must see” attraction is expected to boost tourism by 40 percent.

If it goes ahead as initially envisaged, it will eventually be Africa’s biggest single project.

But, while some voices in the local eMacambini community believe it represents an opportunity, there are many others who are opposed to it, because they say that 8 500 people will have to be uprooted to make way for the project.

Some residents blockaded the N2 and R102 routes in December to protest against the failure of the premier’s office to respond to a memorandum of grievances about the project.

The community itself is backing another project by another Dubai company.

Recently however, the local leader, Khayelihle Mathaba, said that his people were open to all developers, including Ruwaad, as long as they did not displace people.

Mabuyakhulu said the government, and he in particular, as the person responsible for economic development and tourism, “would like to pursue this investment”.

But, in doing so, “we would like to consult all the affected parties and stakeholders to find common ground and a win-win situation”.

The concerns of community leaders had to be taken into account, and also weighed up in relation to other considerations.

Mabuyakhulu, who previously held the tourism portfolio in 2002, said he had returned to the job at a difficult time, with the country in recession.

But even in difficult times, tourism remained a growth sector and there were still good opportunities for the KwaZulu-Natal tourism industry, particularly in view of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Asked about attacks on tourists, he revealed that a programme to be launched later this year would counter possible criminal acts.

It would involve the “huge mobilisation” of tourism buddies – including petrol attendants and security guards – and would kick in for 2010 and beyond.

The buddies, who would be clearly identified, would be placed in strategic holiday spots to give guidance to tourists, Mabuyakhulu said.

“This will be launched at the appropriate time.

“It will ensure there is a reservoir of South Africans who really understand the value of tourism, not only to be courteous to tourists, but also to make them comfortable. They will be linked to police stations.

“We are currently in discussions with a number of possible partners,” he said.

M&G: Listen to the shack-dwellers

http://www.mg.co.za/article/2009-06-24-listen-to-the-shackdwellers

Tens of thousands of shack-dwellers in South Africa are doomed to be evicted to transit camps.

by Kerry Chance, Marie Huchzermeyer and Mark Hunter

Last week the Constitutional Court gave the green light for the eviction of 20 000 people from Cape Town’s Joe Slovo settlement to make way for the N2 Gateway Project. Most residents are to be relocated to the Delft temporary relocation area (TRA).

In 2005, 2 400 families from Langa, Cape Town, were relocated to a camp called Tsunami. In Johannesburg, 6 400 families in Protea South, Soweto, fought a plan to move them to a decant camp in 2007. In Durban, 52 families in Siyanda, KwaMashu, were evicted in December last year and moved to a transit camp to make way for a new freeway.

Transit camps, as they were known during apartheid, were used in the Fifties for the screening, segregation and repatriation of unwanted black urbanites. And in the ambiguous late apartheid years, progressive lawyers used transit camp legislation to prevent the removal of people to distant sites and service areas.

Today, recent court cases have raised the question: do transit camps qualify as “adequate alternative accommodation” as required by post-apartheid law?

For proponents in government, transit camps are “formal” and temporary, an acceptable stopgap in the process of delivering permanent houses. For households refusing relocation, transit camps are unacceptable even by the standards of informal dwellings and even if temporary — which many are patently not.
Transit camp shelters ordinarily are one-room boxes of 25m² with tin roofs. Some are built in rows, with a single sheet of tin separating one family from another.

Often, the camps are without electricity. Some have outdoor communal taps, toilets or cold showers in tin or plastic structures. Toilets are massed together in rows.

Camps typically are encircled with fencing or barbed wire. Private security or police are stationed at lockable entry gates. Not only is access controlled, rules apply to camp life. Until two months ago, the Delft TRA had an armoured truck at its single entrance and was locked at particular hours. In the Protea South camp, spaza shops and other businesses will be banned.

Often transit camps are a long way from the shacks in which residents have lived for many years. In the Tsunami camp, some have lost their jobs as a result of relocation. Transport costs are higher; shops less accessible. Those with electricity in their shacks have had to revert to candles and paraffin stoves, both expensive and hazardous.

The erosion of social networks means occupants are in greater fear of their safety — especially women when using communal toilets after dark. Children in Tsunami, not accommodated in local classrooms, were bussed 25km to school. In the Sol Plaatje camp in Johannesburg, those on HIV/Aids medication struggle to get access to treatment.

Some transit camps have taken on the status of permanent settlements. Happy Valley in Cape Town, originally built from government-issued poles and black sails, has been in existence for 12 years. Occupants who have been in the Tsunami camp for four years will be moved to the Delft TRA. In Symphony Way, 127 families will challenge their eviction to the Delft TRA in the Cape High Court in September.

From Langa to eMacambini to Siyanda, residents protesting against relocation — whether for reasons of livelihood, location or autonomy — have been portrayed as thwarting development. They have been illegally arrested, shot at with rubber bullets and seriously injured by the police.

A sustainable approach starts from the perspective of urban livelihoods, such as that of the shack-dwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, in KwaZulu-Natal.

While formal housing is the desired option, the umjondolo (shack settlement) is not bad simply because it is informal, but because it often lack services such as toilets. Its location also matters. A life is not improved by relocation from a shack to a distant “formal” structure.

National housing policy recognises this by prioritising in situ upgrading. But to rid KwaZulu-Natal of shack settlements by 2010, the province passed a Slum Elimination Act in 2007. Dubbed the “Polokwane Mandate”, all provinces are expected to enact similar legislation. In this Act, transit camps are central to the elimination of slums.

In little over a year football tourists will visit eThekwini and other World Cup cities. They will be encouraged to visit museums to view the horrors of forced removals and transit camps under apartheid. Ironically, to get to the Cato Manor museum they may have to drive passed bulldozed shacks and present-day transit camps.

Authorities must understand the lives of shack-dwellers themselves. When residents say they prefer a shack to a transit camp this must be taken seriously. It is not a vote in favour of shacks, but a stronger vote against the alternative.

Kerry Chance, Marie Huchzermeyer and Mark Hunter are based at the universities of Chicago, Witwatersrand and Toronto respectively

Urgent Statement from Several Members of the Macambini Development Committee and the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Urgent Statement from Several Members of the Macambini Development Committee and the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee

We are concerned about recent statements made by Inkosi Kayelihle Wiseman Mathaba in the media. He was quoted as saying that he is now supporting the project by Ruwaad Holdings in Dubai to build the ‘AmaZulu World’ themepark that will result in the forced removal of 10 000 families from their ancestral land.

He is not speaking for the community. He cannot represent the views of the Macambini masses on this question as they were not consulted. Therefore we, and the people that we have been elected to represent, distance ourselves from his pronouncements.

Our position remains consistent. We will not accept any form of ‘development’ if it results in evictions. We cannot accept any development where the masses pay the price for the enrichment of the few. However we are open to proposals for development that will create wealth for the whole community without resulting in evictions. It still seems to us that the proposed development by Sport City International will be able to achieve this. It is much smaller but much more humane.

Construction on ‘AmaZulu World’ was supposed to begin in December last year. It did not as a direct result of our struggle. We will not accept any development that results in any evictions and we will, therefore, never accept the ‘development’ proposed by Ruwaad Holdings. Neither the former Premier (S’bu Ndebele), the King or the Inkosi have the right to give the people’s birthright to Ruwaad Holdings. The Macambini people will determine their own future.

At the moment we wish to remain anonymous in order not to be pressurised by the Inkosi. However we will issue a further communication soon.

Click here for background information on the struggle against forced removal in eMacambini.

Mercury: Who really benefits from big corporate deals?

http://www.themercury.co.za/index.php?fArticleId=4988934

Who really benefits from big corporate deals?
Elites always try to tell society that their interests are everyone’s interests, but self-interested corporate propaganda is not neutral analysis

May 20, 2009 Edition 1

Imraan Buccus

MUCH has been said in the past few days about the last-minute bid to prevent Vodacom from listing on the JSE this past Sunday.

On Monday South Africans were greeted with the news that the courts had rejected the attempts at preventing the listing, and the Vodacom listing on the JSE would now go ahead. South Africans – well, mainly the wealthy ones – breathed a sigh of relief.

Cosatu and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa had lodged an urgent interdict to stop the listing of Vodacom, following Telkom’s sale of 15 percent of Vodacom to the UK’s Vodaphone for R22.5 billion, thus increasing Vodaphone’s stake in Vodacom to 65 percent.

Now Cosatu is threatening to mobilise its members to join rival networks as an indication of the trade union’s unhappiness with Vodacom.

So, why the fiasco, and in whose interest is the foreign investment by Vodaphone, one may ask?

Well, over the weekend a leading Sunday newspaper led with a story arguing that “South Africa’s reputation as a business-friendly economy is in jeopardy”, and “the message is that SA does not offer a predictable, stable business environment”.

Losses

For far too long in South Africa and in other parts of the world, we have been forced to view events that affect all of us, more so those who live on the margins of society, from the perspective of elites. What the media hasn’t hammered home is the fact that this deal would lead to massive job losses in a country that is already facing an “unemployment bloodbath”.

The argument doing the rounds is that the government had assured the international business world that it would be business as usual under the new regime. What people have not been focusing on is the fact that those at the base of social strata have voted the new regime into power, believing that there would be hope for the poor as the leader of the ruling party somehow embodies the hopes and aspirations of the poor.

Also, the new government has developed at least five focal priority areas, with a prominent one being job creation.

Elites always try to tell society that their interests are everyone’s interests. But this is quite clearly not the case.

Take the case of the AmaZulu World theme park planned for eMacambini here in KwaZulu-Natal. This abomination will, if it goes ahead, result in the eviction of 10 000 families. Of course, those elites who stand to benefit from this “foreign direct investment” will present it as being in the national interest.

While it might be in their interest, it would obviously be a total disaster for the 10 000 families that risk eviction.

If we are going to develop into a society that can have a rational and open conversation about development and social justice, it is essential that that we stop presenting self-interested corporate propaganda as neutral analysis.

When foreign direct investment creates decent jobs and develops the productive capacity of the country, it is to be welcomed. But when it is simply about enriching local elites in exchange for the right to plunder our resources, it must be opposed by all right-thinking people.

Solution

The idea that the solution to our problems is always “investors and tourists” is an idea that, in essence, says that rich foreigners will solve our problems.

It is an idea that says that we should do whatever we can to make our country and economy attractive to rich foreigners looking for profit.

Corporations seek profit, not social justice. They account to their shareholders, not to the poor or the working class in the countries where they do business. In fact, very often their profit-seeking is also a risk to ordinary middle class people.

The idea that the pursuit of profit by elites is somehow in the interests of society as a whole was very powerful after the Cold War. But that idea collapsed in the wake of the financial crisis that saw squatter camps return to American cities for the first time since the 1930s. It is an idea that is as dead as the idea that Soviet-style state communism is in the interests of the people.

If our public conversations and our media are going to grapple with the complexities of reality, it is time to recognise self-interested corporate propaganda for what it is. It is time to recognise the self-evident fact that a people-friendly economy is not exactly the same as a business-friendly economy.

Sowetan: Khayelihle Mathaba arrested

http://www.sowetan.co.za/News/Article.aspx?id=986864

IFP man arrested at poll point
24 April 2009
Mhlaba Memela

IFP strongman and member of the provincial government Nkosi Khayelihle Mathaba will appear in the Nyoni magistrate’s court on Tuesday.

On Wednesday evening police arrested the leader of the Macambini tribe after he allegedly parked his vehicle and blocked access to the ZZ Mathaba Creche voting station in the area.

“When police requested that he move his vehicle he refused and became violent.

“He was arrested and charged at the Nyoni police station for contravening Section 97 of the Electoral Act,” said police spokesperson Phindile Hadebe.

“At 1am yesterday morning he was released on bail of R300 by police,” she added.

Last December, Mathaba led his community to protest against the provincial government’s R44 billion tourism project in the area by a Dubai developer, Ruwaad.

Mathaba negotiated a counter deal with another Dubai-based developer on the basis that his people would not be moved from their ancestral land.

Police arrested 10 protesters who refused to disperse and instead placed burning tyres on the road and threw stones at passing motorists.

COHRE Letter to S’bu Ndebele on eMacambini

16 January 2009

Mr Sibusiso Ndebele
KwaZulu-Natal Premier
Premier’s Office
Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal
PO Box 412
Pietermaritzburg 3200

Re: Forced eviction of 10 000 families from eMacambini for AmaZulu World

Dear Premier Ndebele,

The Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) is an international human rights non-governmental organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, with offices throughout the world. COHRE has consultative status with the United Nations and Observer Status with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. COHRE works to promote and protect the right to adequate housing for everyone, everywhere, including preventing or remedying forced evictions.

COHRE is deeply concerned about the threatened forced eviction of up to 10 000 families of the Macambini community from their communal land in rural KwaZulu-Natal, to make way for AmaZulu World, a multi-billion Rand project proposed by Dubai-based property development group Ruwaad Holdings. The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal and King Goodwill Zwelithini (trustee of the Ingonyama Trust Board that administers the Macambini communal land) have endorsed this project. In May 2008, the KwaZulu-Natal Premier signed a memorandum of understanding with Ruwaad Holdings, and in October 2008, attended the Dubai Cityscape 2008 real estate exhibition together with King Goodwill Zwelithini for the official unveiling of the project.

COHRE has learned that the proposed AmaZulu World entertainment and mixed-use development will include an internationally branded theme park, hotels, shopping malls, residential complexes, golf courses and a giant statue of King Shaka, and is boasted as being the largest construction project ever to be undertaken in Africa. While plans to expropriate 16 500 hectares of land from the Macambini community appear to be underway, the Province has taken insufficient steps to engage in meaningful consultation with the affected community and obtain their written consent as required by law.

On 26 November 2008, over 5 000 members of the community marched in protest against the project, requesting in their memorandum that the Premier immediately withdraw from the project and respond to their grievances by 3 December. When the Premier failed to respond and acknowledge their grievances, members of the community set up road blockades along the N2 freeway on 4 December, in an attempt to draw attention to their imminent eviction. COHRE is deeply disturbed to hear that members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) responded with systemic violence against what was meant to be peaceful and nonviolent action, designed only to draw attention to the community’s plight. Approximately 30 people, mostly women, were shot with rubber bullets during and after the blockade. One woman remains in critical condition in hospital after being shot in the face at close range by an SAPS officer. Furthermore police officers reportedly went on a rampage attacking even those who were not involved in the road blockade and were in fact inside their homes along the N2 freeway. COHRE is also aware that ten people, including two school-age children, were arrested for ‘public violence’ and allegedly beaten systematically by police while being transported to holding cells. The violent repression by SAPS officers of legitimate protest and the violent attack on community members not involved in the protest are unjustifiable.

According to the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee, formed in response to the threatened removal, the massive AmaZulu World project will entail the forced relocation of approximately 50 000 people from over 16 500 hectares of their communal land, with those who qualify for housing subsidies receiving government houses in a 500 hectare township near Mandeni. Those who do not qualify will presumably be rendered homeless. More than 300 churches as well as 29 schools and three clinics will also be demolished to make way for the theme park and other ‘attractions’. A large percentage of the Macambini community earn their living from the land or the ocean – growing sugar cane, vegetables and fruit; raising livestock; and fishing. Those residents who work at schools, clinics and at various other community facilities will also lose their jobs and their livelihoods. Reportedly, no plans have been made to economically rehabilitate those affected by the loss of their sources of livelihood. Many within the community have ancestors buried on the land. Demolishing and relocating an entire established community, as planned, would be economically, socially and culturally disastrous for its residents.

The eMacambini communal land is held in trust by the Ingonyama Trust Board, which is a land rights board as outlined in the Communal Land Rights Act No. 11 of 2004 and the KwaZulu-Natal Ingonyama Trust Act No. 3 of 1994. Section 2(b)(2) of the latter amended Act states that “the Trust shall, in a manner not inconsistent with the provisions of this Act, be administered for the benefit, material welfare and social well-being of the members of the tribes and communities…” Furthermore, section 2(e)(5) states that “the Ingonyama shall, as trustee, not encumber, pledge, lease, alienate or otherwise dispose of any of the said land or any interest or real right in the land, unless he has obtained the prior written consent of the traditional authority of the tribe or community authority concerned…” Thus, the communal land on which the Macambini community live and work, held in trust by the Ingonyama Trust Board (with King Goodwill Zwelithini as ‘Ingonyama’ or sole trustee), should be administered for the benefit, material welfare and social well-being of the community, and any decision to dispose of the land requires the written consent of the community authority concerned. These legislative imperatives have not been complied with in regard to the official endorsement of the AmaZulu World project by King Goodwill Zwelithini – an endorsement that has been given without the consent of the community living on the land who now face an uncertain and precarious future if the project goes ahead.

Section 28(1) of the Communal Land Rights Act states that a land rights board “must, in the prescribed manner and in respect of any matter contemplated by or incidental to this Act – (a) advise the Minister and advise and assist a community generally and in particular with regard to matters concerning sustainable land ownership and use, the development of land and the provision of access to land on an equitable basis; (b) liaise with all spheres of government, civil institutions and other institutions; and (c) monitor compliance with the Constitution and this Act” [emphasis added]. Section 25(5) of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of South Africa requires that “The state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to foster conditions which enable citizens to gain access to land on an equitable basis.” Furthermore, section 26 of the Bill of Rights states that “(1) everyone has the right to have access to adequate housing; (2) the state must take reasonable legislative and other measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of this right; and (3) no one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances. No legislation may permit arbitrary evictions.”

COHRE is deeply concerned that if the AmaZulu World project were to proceed, and 10 000 families forcibly removed from their land, the above constitutional imperatives would be violated.

COHRE would like to point out that the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee has repeatedly asserted that it is not anti-development, but is opposed to projects that will lead to a violation of their basic human rights. In fact, the Macambini community, through their traditional leader Inkosi Khayelihle Mathaba, had advocated for an alternative development project, which envisages a ‘sports city’ being developed on 500 hectares of the communal land, and would not result in any eviction or relocation. COHRE is disturbed to hear that the KwaZulu-Natal Premier is currently suing Mathaba for defamation over statements he allegedly made during a meeting where the project was discussed. Based on reports by members of the Macambini community, COHRE understands that the action against Mathaba is another attempt by the state to silence dissent.

COHRE respectfully reminds the Government of South Africa that according to Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), as it is interpreted in General Comment No 7 of 1997, for forced evictions or relocations to be considered as lawful, they may only occur in very exceptional circumstances and all feasible alternatives must be explored. If and only if such exceptional circumstances exist and there are no feasible alternatives, can evictions be deemed justified. Regardless of whether the evictions are justified, affected persons must have access to appropriate procedural protection and due process must follow. Although the Government of South Africa is not a party to the ICESCR, they have signed the Covenant and are bound in terms of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties not to act contrary to its object and purpose.

Further, the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-Based Evictions and Displacement, which address human rights implications of development-linked evictions and related displacement in urban and rural areas, require that States must ensure that evictions only occur in exceptional circumstances, and must give priority to exploring strategies that minimise displacement. Section 32 states that “comprehensive and holistic impact assessments should be carried out prior to the initiation of any project that could result in development-based eviction and displacement, with a view to securing fully the human rights of all potentially affected persons, groups and communities, including their protection against forced evictions. ‘Eviction-impact’ assessment should also include exploration of alternatives and strategies for minimizing harm.” Moreover, section 37 states that urban or rural planning and development processes should involve all those likely to be affected, with section 38 requiring that “all potentially affected groups and persons, including women, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities, as well as others working on behalf of the affected, have the right to relevant information, full consultation and participation throughout the entire process, and to propose alternatives that authorities should duly consider.”

It is clear that many of the above provisions have not been met, and the fact that the KwaZulu-Natal Premier and Director-General, as well as King Goodwill Zwelithini, have openly endorsed the AmaZulu World project without the community’s support and participation is deeply disturbing. Thus, COHRE urges the Premier to immediately:

* issue a statement announcing the withdrawal of his endorsement of Ruwaad Holdings’ AmaZulu World project and halt all plans to expropriate land held by the Macambini community;
* begin a new process of engagement and meaningful consultation with the Macambini community and all relevant stakeholders around a mutually beneficial development project for the eMacambini area that is compliant with domestic and international human rights law;
* initiate an inquiry into the violence unleashed by members of the SAPS against peaceful protestors on 4 December 2008;
* provide immediate medical relief and compensation for injuries and damage to property caused by members of the SAPS;
* withdraw the defamation lawsuit against Inkosi Khayelihle Mathaba.

We look forward to your response and to an ongoing dialogue with the KwaZulu-Natal Province on the rights of its people to be consulted on issues around the development of their land, and on the myriad problems associated with mass forced relocations. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Salih Booker
Executive Director

cc.

Dr Kwazi Mbanjwa
KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Director-General

His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekizulu

The Honourable Lindiwe Sisulu
Minster of Housing

The Honourable Lulama Xingwana
Minister of Agriculture and Land Affairs

Raquel Rolnik
UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing