Durban – Just two days before Christmas, eThekwini has destroyed shacks at Cato Crest’s Marikana informal settlement, leaving at least 40 families struggling for shelter and fearing more evictions on Tuesday.
Among those from the 40 shacks were a family with a 2-week-old baby and a mother who feared for the safety of her young daughter as they slept in the bush on Monday night.
Shack dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo has accused the municipality of being in contempt of a court order for the eighth time this year, and of planning the evictions to coincide with the Christmas period, when access to courts was more difficult.
Mayor James Nxumalo has hit back at Abahlali, saying it had built more illegal shacks in the past few days and was compounding the housing backlog.
According to Abahlali baseMjondolo, the uprising in Cato Crest is being quelled by all means necessary: death threats, unlawful arrests and police brutality. Many unaligned shack dwellers have also fallen victim to violent suppression. Collateral damage, wrong place, wrong time, the poor man’s burden.
We headed to Cato Crest to find out more about the deaths. Our soft-spoken guide, Ndabo Mzimela does not come across as a political activist. But he became the Chairperson of the Cato Crest branch of AbM when his predecessor, Nkululeko Gwala, was assassinated on 26 June this year.
On 26 June a community meeting was held to discuss Nkhululeko the ‘troublemaker’. The meeting was attended by James Nxumalo (Mayor councilor of Durban) and Sibongiseni Dhlomo (MEC of Health).
On Tuesday the Isipingo Transit Camp was flooded once again. It is built on a flood plain and there is no drainage and so there are regular floods. The residents took to the streets and organised a road blockade in protest at the living conditions that have been forced on them against their will.
Our movement has rejected transit camps from the first moment that that they appeared and we have constantly called for them to abolished and for all people that have been forced into these inhuman places to be provided with decent housing as a matter of urgency. The municipality has now announced that they will not build any more transit camps and they have promised to house people in transit camps. Their decision to stop building transit camps is a victory that comes directly from our struggle. We welcome this victory but we do not see clear plans to provide decent housing to the 10 000 people who have been sentenced to the transit camps. Therefore our struggle against the transit camps continues and it will continue until every person forced into a transit camp has access to decent housing.
Durban – Politicans are not welcome in Durban’s informal settlements until such time that the housing needs of the poor are addressed, Abahlali baseMjondolo, the shack dwellers’ movement, has declared.
“The shack dwellers are sick and tired of the lies that we have been getting from our politicians and we have to send a message that they are not wanted in our areas,” said Bandile Mdlalose, the movement’s general secretary.
She was responding to questions after residents of Kennedy Road protested by blockading roads on Saturday over a visit to the settlement by eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo.
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.