Citizen: Much-anticipated ruling on future of shack dwellers

Sne Masuku, The Citizen

Thousands of shack dwellers from around the country will today be eagerly waiting to hear the KwaZulu-Natal High Court’s ruling on the legality of the eviction of shack dwellers.

The High Court judge in Durban had reserved the ruling on the matter that is set to change the lives of people living at informal settlement since 21 May this year.

Abahlali baseMjondolo President Sbusiso Zikode said shack dwellers would come out in numbers at the Durban High Court to receive the much-anticipated decision that they believe is long over due for both shack dwellers and a large number of South Africans who have been deprived of their land.

The Abahlali baseMjondolo, a organization representing people living in informal settlements nationally approached the constitutional court contesting against the blanket interdict that the government is using to interdict anyone from occupying one thousand five hundrerd and sixty eight properties owned by the government.

The organization approached the Durban High Court in May in order to establish the legality of the evictions after the Ethekwini Municipality ignored the court interdicts including those against the evictions of shack dwellers in Lamontville (Sisonke Village) and Cato Crest (Marikana)

Zikode said they are optimistic that the high court Judge would rule in their favour.

“We have been eagerly waiting for too long for this. We are hopeful that the Judge reserved the decision in order to arrive at the decision that is going to solve this issue once and for all,” he said.

He said the court’s ruling would not only resolve the land issues for shack dwellers nationally, but would also benefit generations of people who have been deprived of their land.

“This is going to draw the country to a step further to realising whether the land question can be resolvedm” he said.

In the past protests by Abahlali baseMjondolo, had enjoyed the support of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in the province, Zikode said they expect that organizations who sympathized with them in the past like the EFF would join them outside court today.

“We have in the past protests enjoyed the support of various organizations who share our concerns about land issues, EFF is one of them. They have similar programmes as those of Abahlali baseMjondolo that impacts directly on the land question. And should we win in court, the victory would be because of people like the EFF,” said Zikode.

He said they hope the ruling would end the evictions that have led to a number of people being killed during evictions at gun point.