Tuesday11 February, 2014
Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement
Abahlali baseMjondolo Return to the Constitutional Court Tomorrow
The Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Crest was founded after an illegal eviction by the eThekwini Municipality. It has been destroyed over and over again by the eThekwini Municipality since March last year. Each time the occupation has been rebuilt. We have been to court and won urgent interdicts against the city preventing them from illegally destroying the occupation. We have marched on the City Hall in our thousands. When we did not receive a reply to our memorandum we organized simultaneous road blockades across the city. Now we are taking this struggle to the Constitutional Court.
by Samora Chapman and Caelin Roodt / 05.11.2013
Now is the time for the whole world to turn their gaze upon the atrocities occurring in the townships of Durban, South Africa. These are real stories from recent clashes between Durban shack dwellers and the powers that be.
On Monday 7 October Nyati Gcinithemba was shot in the chest at the entrance to the uMlazi Courts. He was unarmed, leading a chorus of voices, singing songs of freedom. Nyati and 30 other members of Abahlali base-Mjondolo (a shack dwellers movement) were calling for the release of three fellow activists who had been held by police all weekend for attending protests in uMlazi.
Nyati refused to stop singing, even after being shot, beaten and handcuffed.
Friday, 11 October 2013
Abahlali baseMjoindolo Press Statement
Our movement is growing in uMlazi. We are very strong in the eMhlabeni land occupation and the Silva City transit camp. On Friday last week three comrades were arrested on an uMlazi road blockade organised to demand (1) the release of Bandile Mdlalose and (2) that the City stops its repression and start negotiations with us on our demands given to them at the march on 16 September 2013. We are demanding democracy, not just voting but real democracy, everyday democracy, and an end to repression.
These three comrades were kept in the holding cells till Monday. On Monday morning some comrades went to the Durban Magistrates’ Court and others went to the court in uMlazi to support comrades in detention. Before the court was in session our members were singing outside as is their right. The police came, threatened them, and said that if they were not be quiet they would know who to start with when the shooting started. They said that they would shoot two people. After this the people stopped singing. We have signed statements on the threat from the police to shoot two people.
The three Abahlali BaseMjondolo members who were arrested during one of the many service delivery protests in eThekwini, have been released on warning by the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court.
Themba Msomi, Thembeka Sondaba and Fikiswa Mgoduka were among a group of protesters arrested on Friday and charged with public violence.
On Monday eight branches of the shack dwellers movement – including Clare Estate, Isipingo, Mayville, Shallcross, Siyanda and Umlazi – organised road blockades in various areas.
The protests were against evictions, arrests of their members and to demand housing.
Abahlali and Cato Crest residents have been in and out of court trying to prevent the city from tearing down their shacks.
They have applied for a contempt of court order against the city for ignoring previous interdicts restraining it from demolishing shacks.
There was a strong police presence at the court on Wednesday as Abahlali members protested outside the court gates.
The three are expected to return to court on October 23.
The movement’s secretary, Bandile Mdlalose, was released on R5 000 bail on Monday after spending seven days in custody. She is due back in court on October 28.
Meanwhile, support for Abahlali has grown.
The KwaZulu-Natal Church Leaders’ Group denounced the actions of the municipality and its failure in providing “the most basic necessities”.
The chairman of the group and Dean of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Bishop Rubin Philip, said adequate housing was a human- and God-given right.
“The court keeps giving interdicts to protect these people, but local authorities seem to neglect authority and the rules of the court,” he said.
Philip, who was part of the Black Consciousness Movement, said the poor treatment of shackdwellers was deeply disappointing.
“It’s like taking a step back into apartheid. This is not what we fought for. We fought for peace, homes, jobs and for freedom,” he said.
He said that the church had opened its doors in case the movement required legal assistance through the church’s independent organisation, the Church Land Programme.
The group accused the city leadership of short-sightedness and dishonesty in its handling of housing, which it said sacrificed the lives of the poor to feed selfish political ends.
Last month the general council of the Bar of South Africa criticised the municipality for sending its land invasion unit to destroy shacks despite interdicts preventing this.
The city has insisted that it has been acting within the law. Houses were being built, but it took time and a process had to be followed.
Mayor James Nxumalo will brief the media on Thursday on the city’s housing programme and to “clarify issues surrounding the Cato Crest unrest and land invasions”.
Nxumalo said the city would be “clearing the misconceptions regarding the court order and demolition of shacks”.
Note: The City cancelled their press conference at the last minute.