Abahlali baseMjondolo Return to the Constitutional Court Tomorrow

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.

The MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works in KwaZulu-Natal and the eThekwini Municipality will have to face the wrath of the judges tasked with upholding the Constitution of Republic of South Africa.

For many years now the eThekwini municipality has disregarded the rule of law and became a law unto themselves. They consider poor people to be beneath the law. They consider themselves to be above the law. They claim that Durban is an ANC land and that the ANC rules the municipality and thus rules the rule of law.

In Cato Crest they have repeatedly evicted residents despite interdicts in the Durban High Court forbidding them from evicting. Those who, like Nkosinathi Mngomezulu, have tried to defend their homes have been shot. Witnesses claim that they saw Govender of the Land Invasions Unit deliberately shoot Mngomezulu. Yet Govender has not been suspended or charged. The shooting of Mngomezulu has not been seriously investigated. The witnesses have not be interviewed. Thembinkosi Qumbela and Nkululeko Gwala were both assassinated after speaking out against evictions and corruption. Their assassins remain at large. Their murders have not been seriously investigated. Nqobile Nzuza is gone. She was shot in the back of the head at the age of 17. She was unarmed when she was murdered. Witnesses have said that they say the Station Commissioner from the Cato Crest police station deliberately shot her. This has been widely reported. Yet he has not been suspended or arrested. The witnesses have not been interviewed.

It is clear that the ruling party and the state are willing to use murder to repress our struggles. It is clear that they are confident that they can murder us with impunity. It is clear that they believe that the ANC is above the law and that poor people are beneath the law.

The MEC for Human Settlements and Public Works in KwaZulu-Natal obtained an Eviction Order against the Madlala Village in Lamontville in March 2013. The ANC has made it clear to them that the reason why they were evicted is that they had joined another political party. If they had remained ANC they would not have been evicted. This community has suffered severely in the hands of the ANC and its City. In Durban evictions are often political just as killings by the police or assassins and shootings, beatings and torture by the police are often political.

The Municipality are now claiming that the MEC’s order to evict the people from Madlala Village in Lamontville allows them to evict anywhere in the city at any time. They are claiming that this eviction order allows them to ignore the Constitution, the PIE Act and our various interdicts against them and to continue to evict in Cato Crest. This makes no legal sense. It is an attempt to find another way to bring back the Slums Act which we defeated in the Constitutional Court in 2009.

Madlala Village are taking the MEC to the Constitutional Court to have his interdict overturned. They are represented by the Legal Resource Center. Abahlali baseMjondolo are joining with Socio Economic Rights Institute of South Africa as an Amicus Curiae in the case. We have made this decision because this interdict has a direct effect on us.

Our lawyers will present arguments on the following issues:

·        Whether the March 2013 Order authorises evictions.

·        Whether the March 2013 Order is compatible with section 26 (3) of the Constitution, and

·        Whether the March 2013 Order is compatible with the rule of law

In October last year one of our members, Nyati Gcinithemba, was severely assaulted and shot in the chest by the police in the uMlazi court. Our press statement on the shooting is here: http://abahlali.org//////node/12625

After he was shot Nyathi was arrested, detained and charged with various offences. Yesterday all charges were dropped against Nyathi. This is typical. Hundreds of our members have charged with various offences since 2005 but not one of our members has even been convicted on any charge involving violence. In fact the only time that one of our members was ever convicted of any offense of any kind was when he admitted to connecting his community to electricity (safely with insulted cables buried in the ground). In most cases people are arrested, detained, sometimes assaulted and the released. After 6 or 7 court appearances the charges are withdrawn because they were fabricated in the first place and there never was any evidence.

The assassins, ANC thugs and police are free to use violence against us, even to kill us. Yet when we are repressed we are the ones who are arrested on trumped up charges!


Please contact


Thinabantu Khanyile- Abahlali baseMjondolo

Mama Esylin Mbhemu- Madlala Village 083 5879313

Mama Sherly Mdodana- Madlala Village 083 9741223

TJ Ngongoma -Abahlali base Mjondolo 084 6139772