Category Archives: The Times

The Times: Forced removals: 2014-style

Forced removals: 2014-style

Leonie Wagner

The eThekwini Municipality's apparent flagrant disregard for the law has resulted in it building RDP homes in people's back yards.

The eThekwini Municipality’s apparent flagrant disregard for the law has left families in the absurd situation of watching RDP homes being built in their back-yards before being occupied by strangers.

Last month, in anticipation of a new road being built, the municipality began demolishing homes and building RDP houses in Inanda’s eTafuleni township, north of Durban: some for the over 300 residents, others for people outside from the community.

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The Times: Service delivery protest flares up in Durban

There have been six arrests.

Service delivery protest flares up in Durban

About 200 people were protesting on Alpine Road in Durban on Thursday morning, eThekwini metro police said.

The protesters were burning rubbish and tyres, spokesman Eugene Msomi said.

It was believed the protest was about service delivery.

Nabantu Zulu, a resident of the Jadhu Place squatter camp which borders Alpine Road, said residents had been protesting since 3.30am.

Zulu said he had been a resident at the squatter camp since 1991.

Residents were demanding to speak to eThekwini mayor James Nxumalo and would not stop blocking Alpine Road until their demands had been addressed.

“We are living in tins. They [eThekwini metro] gave us these as temporary [accommodation], but how long must we wait?” asked Zulu.

He said residents were demanding land, housing, electricity, water, and speed humps in Alpine Road.

The Jadhu Place squatter camp is believed to have between 1000 and 2000 residents.

Alpine Road is a major road linking the suburb of Overport with the Springfield industrial area.

Protesters, carrying bottles and vuvuzelas, were singing, dancing, and chanting on a hill overlooking Alpine Road.

About three kilometres of Alpine Road was closed.

“We demand housing, electricity, and land,” stated a placard.

The protesters claim they were promised housing in 2007 by a former eThekwini mayor and they had been forgotten.

One of the protesters, a woman, was lying in the street waiting for paramedics after she collapsed during the protest.

The SA Police Service and the metro police were monitoring the protest.

Police had to use teargas at various stages to disperse the group.

Alpine Road was littered with debris, bricks, tyres, and a tree.

Residents of Overport were looking nervously at the protesters from their houses.

Employees of Durban Solid Waste were waiting to clear the road.

The Times: R140m in former Durban cop’s assets attached by Asset Forfeiture Unit

R140m in former Durban cop’s assets attached by Asset Forfeiture Unit

The Asset Forfeiture Unit was on Wednesday morning attaching assets worth R140 million from former Durban metro police officer Sibusiso Mpisane, the Hawks said.

“The AFU together with the Hawks are executing a court order now. The assets are deemed as proceeds of a crime,” spokesman Captain Paul Ramaloko said.

Mpisane allegedly misrepresented his construction company to the Construction Industry Development Board by submitting fraudulent gradings.

“He in turn won construction tenders worth R140 million.”

Mpisane became a millionaire after securing construction tenders to build low-cost government houses.

His wife, Shawn, who has been convicted of tax fraud, is on trial for tax evasion in the Durban Regional Court.

She is accused, among other things, of inflating invoices by more than R5 million to cut her tax bill. She has pleaded not guilty.

The Times: Shack fires leave six dead, 360 displaced

Shack fires leave six dead, 360 displaced

Six people have died and more than 360 were displaced after fires that ravaged parts of the country this week, according to various officials.

The deadly blazes were mostly shack fires.

On Sunday, three people including a toddler died when their shack caught fire in Lerato Park, Roodepan, in the Northern Cape.

The owner of the shack said he was at his neighbour when his home was gutted by fire, said Lieutenant Andrea Cloete.

The shack owner’s girlfriend, 34, their three-year-old daughter, and the girlfriend’s 62-year-old mother were inside.

Cloete said an inquest docket has been opened.

In the Western Cape, two people were killed when their homes caught fire in separate incidents in Khayelitsha on Sunday morning.

Wilfred Solomons-Johannes, spokesman for Cape Town metro’s disaster risk management centre, said the one fire was caused by a falling candle, while the cause of the second blaze was unknown.

Two other fires on Sunday morning destroyed two other houses in the same area, with sixteen people left homeless.

In Durban on Sunday, twenty shacks were destroyed at the Kennedy Road settlement in Clare Estate.

On Saturday a man died when his shack in Parkwood, in Mitchell’s Plain in Cape Town, caught alight.

Dozens of people were left homeless, as well as others due to fires in Philippi and Mfuleni, in Cape Town.

Meanwhile, residents in the Nelson Mandela Bay metro were advised to beware of veld fires, which began on Sunday.

Spokeswoman Martie Nel said there was a major fire in veld in Sardina Bay, in Port Elizabeth, on Sunday afternoon.

“Fire fighters are battling with the fire now, they actually brought it under control.”

She said there was no risk to life or property.

On Monday, 320 people were displaced when 80 shacks were destroyed by fire in Cape Town in separate incidents.

The Times: Evicted residents win court victory

Evicted residents win court victory


Miore than 5000 people evicted from the Schubart Park block of flats in Pretoria a yearago scored a major victory yesterday when the Constitutional Court ruled the evictions illegal and ordered the City of Tshwane to restore their residency.

The ruling is a slap in the face for the municipality, which has been at loggerheads with the residents for over a year.

The ruling, which cannot be appealed, states that not only must the city renovate the block of flats but must find suitable accommodation for the residents during the renovations.

The city has been embroiled in numerous legal battles with the residents since they were evicted in September last year following the disconnection of the building’s water and power supply.

The ruling was made after Lawyers for Human Rights appealed in the Constitutional Court against four judgments in the Pretoria High Court granting the council permission to evict.

Lawyers for Human Rights national director Jacob van Garderen said the residents’ rights had been “brutally violated”.

“The court has made it clear that the city cannot ignore the country’s laws,” he said.

City of Tshwane spokesman Nomasonto Ndlovu would not comment because the municipality was “still studying the judgment”.

Van Garderen said: “The city’s dubious technical report, which indicated that the building was structurally unsound, was refuted by an independent structural engineer, who showed that the only thing that needed to be done to make it habitable was renovation.”

He said the city had been saddled not only with the latest legal costs but also with the costs of the renovations.

“The mayor has invested a lot of political capital in this case, threatening to sort out Schubart Park before December,” he said.

He said the court ruling sent a strong message to city officials contemplating the large-scale eviction of poor, vulnerable people.

“This ruling shows that the law must be followed when it comes to evictions.”

Aubrey Ramotlhale, a member of the Schubart and Kruger Park Residents’ Committee, said residents were ecstatic.

“We were harassed and our rights were trampled on but today I have reason to have faith in our legal system. It’s time the politicians we voted into power proved that they deserve those positions,” Ramotlhale said.