Legal Aid refuses to stand for Abahlali baseWyebank in Court

Legal Aid refuses to stand for Abahlali baseWyebank in Court

By Sthembiso Shozi

On the 8th of August the community of Wyebank shack dwellers will go against the eThekwini municipality in the Durban High court with no legal representation concerning an eviction case.

Abahlali baseWyebank who have lived in the area for more than 15 years received an eviction order on the 3rd of July from the court, lodged by the eThekwini municipality.

According to the Municipality the Wyebank shack inhabitants are occupying a land that belongs to the municipality. The same land that is said to be claimed by other numerous undisclosed owners. This then led to Legal Aid refusing to support this community. Their reply was they are busy, caught up with other cases.

In a gathering attended by the Abahlali General Secretary Bandile Mdlalose and its Co-ordinator Beauty Nxumalo held in Wyebank, Abahlali believe they were not cautioned with reference to the matter. They just received an order forcing them to vacate the area with immediate effect. Abahlali said the Municipality has treated them unjustly. Any eviction without a court order is a crime in South Africa and so it is clear that the Municipality is trying to break the law in Wyebank.

It is also clear that there is a lack of communication between the municipality and the ward councillor who promised the residents houses and told them will be first on the housing list. Horrendously most of the citizens to e evicted are seniors. Members trust they will triumph. They are obstinate that nothing will move them. Once again it will be Abahlali’s voice against the municipality.

Abahlali did not reach the Municipality spokesperson Thabo Mofokeng or ward councillor Bhekumuzi Mvumu as they did not answer their phones or respond to e-mails sent to them.

Abahlali say they are willing to represent themselves in court and lobby more people for support. However they say if this attempt to illegally evict people in Wyebank goes through they will resist the eviction with direct action. There is a risk that blood could be spilt.

“If this order proceeds we will relinquish our jobs just for the sake of keeping an eye and wait for the municipality to come and demolish our shacks. Before they obliterate our homes they must go through us first and slay us because we are not going anywhere”, said one member.