Category Archives: Kamini Padayachee

The Mercury: Murderer councillors still get R35K a month

Sihle Manda and Kamini Padayachee

Durban – Two ANC eThekwini councillors continue to draw R35 000 monthly salaries from beleaguered ratepayers despite being in prison for murder.

To add insult to injury, Mduduzi Ngcobo and Velile Lutsheku have not performed their duties ince February last year, when they were arrested for the September 2014 murder of community activist Thulisile Ndlovu in her Thokoza home near Pinetown.

Mduduzi Ngcobo and Velile Lutsheku are serving their sentences at Westville Prison after their bids to apply for leave to appeal against their convictions and sentences were dismissed on the day they were sentenced. Credit: INDEPENDENT MEDIA

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Mercury: Residents facing eviction expose housing scandal

Residents facing eviction expose housing scandal

By Kamini Padayachee

Durban – Dozens of Durban residents, who fear eviction from their homes, have blown the lid off an alleged multimillion-rand housing development scandal in which they claim the eThekwini Municipality violated housing legislation by failing to ensure the projects were properly managed.

The city is named among the respondents in a case in the Durban High Court brought by the Phoenix Residents’ and Tenants’ Association against Woodglaze Trading, a company linked to controversial businessman Jay Singh.

On Friday, a consent order was granted in which the parties agreed to try to resolve the matter in one month.

Woodglaze and other companies were also ordered not to evict any of the residents, remove their goods, or transfer any of the properties.

In court papers, association chairman Kissoon Sahadeo claims Woodglaze bought infill sites at cost prices, at between R30 000 and R100 000, from the municipality in 2009 to develop housing projects for indigent people.

He alleges that, according to an agreement between the city and Woodglaze, the housing units in Phoenix, Chatsworth, Newlands and KwaMashu were meant to be sold to low-income earners.

He said there was no decision to vary the agreement, but the company built 56 complexes and listed units as being for rent, instead of for purchase, with no option to buy in the lease agreement.

“People were told to fill in offer-to-purchase applications, but later the words ‘for rental’ were appended on documents, and residents were given rental registration forms,” Sahadeo said.

Tenants had paid rent for the past four years, which amounted to money far in excess of what they would have paid to buy the properties.

He said the matter had become urgent, as Woodglaze had sold at least 13 complexes to a rental housing company, First Metro Housing, for more than R200 million, and another company, Aplo Flash, had bought two sites for R7.8m.

Speaking outside court, the residents’ attorney, Ramesh Luckychund, said people were left in limbo after the complexes were sold.

Some of them had already had eviction proceedings brought against them because they had withheld rent, as they were unsure what would become of their homes.

Luckychund added that 18 families, who had bought properties from Woodglaze in 2009 but did not receive the title deeds to their homes, now faced losing their homes, as the whole complex had been bought.

Sahadeo said the city’s housing department had not followed supply chain management policies, and had failed to ensure the developments were administered in a transparent manner.

“They failed to monitor the projects, despite having the capacity to do so.”

In its answering papers, Woodglaze’s general manager, Pravesh Inderjeeth, said the application was “defective” and should be dismissed.

He also disputed that the residents were in imminent risk of being evicted.

“One hundred and seventy-three people are in arrears with their rental, but the company has only instituted eviction proceedings against 33.

“The applicants signed lease agreements agreeing to pay rentals.

“If a tenant cannot afford to pay the rental, then the premises should be vacated,” Inderjeeth said.

Mercury: Families to receive housing, water

Families to receive housing, water

By Kamini Padayachee

The uMngeni (Howick) municipality has been ordered to provide land, water, sanitation and temporary housing to 47 families living in an informal settlement.

The order, granted by consent in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Monday, followed an application by the municipality for an eviction order against the families living in the Tumbleweed settlement.

The municipality argued that a school was to be built on the land that the families had invaded.

The families said they had been given permission to live on the property by the chief of the Amambuzane tribe, which owned the property through a trust.

Under the order, the families are to be provided with land, shelter and sanitation services by December 22, and are to be moved by January.

They were assisted by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute, whose director of litigation, Stuart Wilson, appeared for them in court, and the shack dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo.

Attorney Teboho Mosikili said that the families were pleased with the outcome of the case.

S’bu Zikode, of Abahlali baseMjondolo, called on other municipalities to follow the example set by the uMngeni Municipality.

“We wish to thank uMngeni municipality for their co-operation,” he said.

“We hope that other municipalities, especially metros like eThekwini, can follow the example of uMngeni.

“If small, rural municipalities can respect and fulfil poor people’s rights to housing and engage so successfully with shack dwellers, there is no excuse for metros (not todo so).” – The Mercury

Shack dwellers’ movement 12 free at last [The Mercury]

From The Mercury:

Shack dwellers’ movement 12 free at last

July 19 2011 at 09:42am

Kamini Padayachee

TWELVE Abahlali baseMjondolo (shack dwellers’ movement) members have been acquitted of murder, attempted murder and public violence in connection with an attack at Durban’s Kennedy Road informal settlement two years ago.

The State alleged that the men were part of a community policing forum known as Wanya Tsotsi, loosely translated as criminals, take that, who had gone on the rampage, wielding pangas, sjamboks and other weapons at the settlement on September 27, 2009.

Two men were killed in the attack.

All 12 men were charged with public violence, but five were also charged with murder, and seven with attempted murder. Some also faced charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, malicious damage to property and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

After their arrest, the Diakonia Council of Churches said the men had been falsely accused and held prayer meetings at court appearances.

Yesterday, Durban Regional Court magistrate Sharon Marks granted a discharge application brought by defence advocate Jimmy Howse.

She said the State witnesses’ testimony had been unsatisfactory.

“They contradicted their prior statements to the police during the trial.

“As if that was not enough, they contradicted one another.”

She added that serious questions had also been raised about identity parades conducted by the police.

Abahlali baseMjondolo spokesman Mnikelo Ndabankulu said the organisation celebrated the ruling at the Kennedy Road settlement.

“We are happy and our faith in the justice system has been restored. There was a joyful mood in Kennedy Road today (yesterday).”

One of the accused, Samukeliso Mkhokhelwa, said he was ecstatic.

Anglican Bishop Rubin Phillip said that Diakonia also celebrated Abahlali’s victory in the “politically motivated and unjust” case.

Mercury: Hawks swoop on top officer

commander allegedly hid dockets
Hawks swoop on top officer

March 11, 2010 Edition 1


AN EMBATTLED Durban police station commander was arrested by the Hawks yesterday for allegedly being in possession of case dockets – including one in which he is facing a charge of assault.

Sydenham Senior Superintendent Glen Nayager’s arrest came after he secured victories in the labour and equality courts, and in an internal disciplinary hearing in recent weeks.

He was arrested at police offices in Isipingo and appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court yesterday afternoon.

He was released on R2 000 bail and the case was adjourned to April 16.

It is alleged Nayager hid the dockets so that the cases could not be investigated and taken to court.

Hawks spokesman Musa Zondi said the commander had been charged with three counts of defeating and obstructing the course of justice.

Nayager’s lawyer, Anand Nepaul, said the charges related to allegations that he was in possession of three dockets kept in a safe at the Sydenham police station.

These related to a drug charge, an assault charge against Nayager and also to a contempt of court charge.

Nayager, who is on leave, has been involved in several cases in the past few years and recently won two Labour Court cases in which his transfers to KwaMashu and to the Brighton Beach police stations were declared unlawful.

His transfers came after he was allegedly involved in a fistfight with a fellow officer at his station last year.

After an internal investigation into the incident, he was transferred to KwaMashu and the other officer was sent to Greenwood Park.

Nayager opposed his transfer, and the provincial commissioner’s decision was overturned by the court on the grounds that correct procedures had not been followed, and he returned to Sydenham.

Last month Nayager was transferred to Brighton Beach after he was accused of interfering with a witness in the Labour Court case.

He opposed the transfer in the Labour Court and Judge Hamilton Cele last week ordered his immediate reinstatement at Sydenham.

He also ordered the Police Ministry and provincial police commissioner to pay his legal fees.

The police are expected to appeal against that decision.

And yesterday, an internal disciplinary inquiry found Nayager not guilty of misconduct relating to the assault on the officer.

He also won an Equality Court case last week, which related to a complaint that he had used a racial slur against a teacher in October 2007.

Stanley Bongani Mathonsi alleged Nayager had directed racist remarks at him when he went to the Sydenham police station with a friend.

The case was dismissed by magistrate John Saunders, who said Mathonsi’s version of events was improbable.

Nayager and his police officers have often been criticised for alleged heavy-handed action in dealing with residents of the Kennedy Road informal settlement, which falls within the Sydenham policing precinct.