Category Archives: press release

ANOTHER PERSON DIES IN ANOTHER DURBAN SHACK FIRE – 13 August 2006

Press Release
13 August 2006

ANOTHER PERSON DIES IN ANOTHER DURBAN SHACK FIRE

At around 8:30 p.m. on Friday 11 August a candle fell over in the front room of a shack in the Kennedy Road settlement. Four people lived in the large shack. They were all able to get out except for Mr. Zithulele Dhlomo whose room was at the back of the shack. He was an old man, around 70 years old, and the way out was blocked by fire burning hot from the plastic sheeting in the roof. He was burnt to death.

Last week there was a major conflagration in the Jadhu Place settlement. Before that it was Quarry Road and before that it was Lacey Road. The fires happen more or less every week. These fires are not acts of god. They are a direct consequence of the eThekwini Municipality’s infamous and unconstitutional 2001 decision to suspend the provision of electricity to shack settlement. The policy states that ‘In past (1990s) electrification was rolled out to all and sundry…electrification of the informal settlements has now been discontinued’.

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An Invitation to Meet the Third Force – 12 December 2005

Monday, 12 December 2005

Media Advisory: An Invitation to Meet the Third Force

Durban. The Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shackdwellers') movement, one of the most vibrant and important social movements in the new South Africa, has been repeatedly and unjustly accused of being masterminded by 'outside agitators'. This allegation has been repeatedly levelled by the Mayor of the eThekwini Municipality, Obed Mlaba.

The Mayor was recently asked to provide details about the Municipality’s proposed housing policy for its poorest residents, and to respond to a series of concerns raised by the Abahlali Base Mjondolo. A meeting was scheduled for Wednesday December 7th. On Tuesday 6th December, without reason or warning, the Mayor cancelled a meeting with the Abahlali Base Mjondolo, even after the movement had followed every instruction, and obeyed every protocol.

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Shack Dwellers to Demand Full Disclosure of the eThekwini Municipality’s Plans for Them from Sutcliffe

Thursday, 31 August 2006 12:00
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Release

Shack Dwellers to Demand Full Disclosure of the eThekwini Municipality’s Plans for Them from Sutcliffe

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Conference, Kennedy Road Community Hall, Kennedy Road, Clare Estate, Durban, Monday 4 September, 9:00 a.m.

Abahlali baseMjondolo have completed a detailed application for information from Mike Sutcliffe in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act. We have excellent pro bono lawyers waiting to take Sutcliffe to court if he refuses to comply with our request for information. We are constantly told that the ‘slums will be cleared’ by 2010 yet in most settlements our people have absolutely no idea of what plans have been made for their future. In many instances we fear that the plan is to relocate us to apartheid style rural ghettoes far from work, schools, clinics, libraries, shops and so on. We also fear that many people who are not on ‘the list’ for housing face the (illegal) demolition of their homes without alternative housing being provided.

We are requesting full information on all aspects of the eThekwini Municipality’s plans with regard to the Moreland development announced by Obed Mlaba last year, the full details for the upgrade or relocation plans for each of the more than 30 settlements in which Abahlali have a strong presence, and general information about the city’s budgeting and policy making with regard to housing.

We have been trying to get the information on the city’s plans for us for a long time. Obed Mlaba announced the Moreland project, which he said would begin by August this year, after we tried to march on him on 14 November 2005. That march was illegally banned by Sutcliffe and our people were illegally assaulted by the police. When Mlaba announced the Moreland project he said that he would give us full details and agreed to meet with us at the Pemary Ridge settlement. We faxed him a detailed list of questions in preparation for that meeting on 27 November 2005. He cancelled the scheduled meeting and ignored our questions and we have never heard from him again. But we did see press reports indicating that Moreland distanced themselves from Mlaba’s announcement andf it is clear that the Moreland development has not, as promised, begun by August. Because we could not get answers from the Municipality we decided to approach the provincial government. On 7 January 2006 we faxed our questions to the MEC for Housing, Mike Mabuyakulu. We received no answer. On 20 February 2006 we attempted to march on the Mabuyakulu to demand answers to our questions. That march was, again, illegally banned. We tried again on 27 February 2006. Once again our march was illegally banned. But this time we had, due to the support of the Foundation for Human Rights, a top legal team ready to act. We went to the High Court and won an interdict against Sutcliffe and the police forcing them to refrain from illegally interfering with our fundamental right to protest. On that day thousands of us marched on to the City Hall where we delivered our questions to Mabuyakulu’s representative, Lennox Mabaso. Our questions were ignored. For months we phoned and faxed regular reminders. Eventually a meeting was scheduled for 20 July 2006. At that meeting we were told that the provincial government could not help us and that we should go to the Municipality. The Municipality has consistently acted illegally to refuse us our basic constitutional rights and has simply refused to speak to us so we now have now choice but to use the Promotion of Access to Information Act, backed up with legal force, to compel them to disclose their plans for our communities.

The press conference will start at 9:00 a.m. at the Kennedy Road Hall. There will be a very short input from Abahlali and short statements of support from some of our supporters. There will then be an opportunity for questions. At ten a small delegation will leave in a taxi for the city hall. At 10:30 we will personally deliver our request for access to information to Sutcliffe’s office.

The following individuals, and representatives from the following organisations, will be at our press conference to offer their support:

The Open Democracy Advice Centre
The Freedom of Expression Institute
The Landless People’s Movement
The Treatment Action Campaign
Durban & Pinetown Informal Traders
Wentworth Development Forum
Westcliffe Flat Residents’ Association
The Church Land Programme
The Diakonia Council of Churches
The KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council
Bishop Dladla (Zion)
Bishop Reuben Philip (Anglican)*
Professor Dennis Brutus

For further information on the Access to Information Legislation, the right to information and processes for realising that right please contact:

Mukelani Dimba, Open Democracy Advice Centre, 0826996586
Na’eem Jeenah, Freedom of Expression Institute, 0845742674

For further information or comment on the growing solidarity with Abahlali from various church organisations please contact:

David Ntseng, Church Land Programme, 0728391153
Lucas Ngoetjona, KwaZulu-Natal Christian Council, 0722541341

For further information or comment from Abahlali baseMjondolo please contact:

S’bu Zikode, President, 0835470474
Philani Zungu, Deputy President, 0729629312
M’du Hlongwa, General Secretary, 0723358966
Mnikelo Ndabankulu, PRO, 0735656241
Lindela Figlan, Foreman Road Settlement, 0725274600
Zodwa Nsibande, Kennedy Road Settlement, 0834925442
Louisa Mota, Motala Heights Settlement, 0781760088

*Bishop Reuben will in Cape Town on Monday but he will send a representative with a written statement of support.

Memorial Service for Mhlengi Khumalo – Kennedy Road, 6:00 p.m. Friday 28 October 2005

October 26, 2005

Memorial Service for Mhlengi Khumalo – Kennedy Road, 6:00 p.m. Friday 28 October 2005

Hamba Kahle Mhlengi Khumalo
Ugesi, umhlaba, nezindlu ngabe kuyiphephisile impilo yakhe.

Last Friday 16 shacks burnt down in the Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban. A one year old boy, Mhlengi Khumalo, was very badly burnt and died in King Edward Hospital on Saturday night. This was the third fire this month. The fire started when a candle was knocked over. Until 2001 pre-paid electricity meters were being installed in shacks. To get electricity you needed to pay R350 and to be able to represent your case in a certain way. According to S'bu Zikode from the Kennedy Road Development Committee "It all depended on who applied. If you seemed ignorant because you can't speak English you were just told to wait outside." The eThekwini Metro has since informed Kennedy Road residents that there is a 'new policy not to install electricity in informal settlements'. Their electrification policy openly states the following:

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Juba Place Eviction – rushed one man, bad praxis press release

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
MORE FAMILIES LEFT HOMELESS BY ETHEKWINI MUNICIPALITY

More than 35 families from the Juba Place settlement in Reservoir Hills are preparing to go to court after the eThekwini Municipality smashed up their homes, in the rain, over the weekend. Shack owners were coerced at short notice into accepting relocation to what people call ‘formal jondolos’ in Nazareth. These houses have no electricity and have toilets which don’t work. Most people did not want to be moved away from work and schools and feel unwelcome and nervous in Nazareth where local people had expected the houses. The Municipality moved people out of Juba Place at gun point and now has to protect them from local people in Nazareth at gun point. Meanwhile shack renters in Juba Place were simply left homeless. So much for the constitution….

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