Cato Manor: Violent Evictions in Total Disregard for the Law

Saturday 19 August 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Cato Manor: Violent Evictions in Total Disregard for the Law

On 27 July 2017 the eThekwini Municipality was interdicted against demolishing, burning, removing or otherwise destroying and disposing of housing structures or threatening to do so in seven communities affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo, including Cato Manor. Those whose homes had been destroyed were given the right to rebuild them.

However the eThekwini municipality has continued with its violent and unlawful eviction in Cato Manor. Yesterday at about 10:30 am municipal security guards arrived at the Cato Manor settlement and forcefully grabbed Mlungisi Mokwena, an 18 year old activist. Mokwena was resting in his shack when the guards forcefully pulled him out of his shack and simple shot him on his leg without any provocation or argument. Near him was Sthembele Qwabe who was also severely assaulted by these security guards. They went on to destroy the homes of around 75 families.  

While our members were being attacked in Cato Manor we were served with an urgent application to the High Court to have 75 families removed from the interdict. At 14:30 yesterday the High Court dismissed this application with costs.

Today at around 14:00 the Metro Police and the Land Invasions Unit stormed Cato Manor and destroyed every shack. They said that: ‘The City is in charge and not the court’.

After our movement obtained the interdict against the Municipality the local ANC and the Municipality have been mobilizing ANC supporters to occupy the same land in Cato Manor that is occupied by our members. This is the same strategy that was used in New City where the local ANC councilor encouraged ANC members to build. One of the aims of this tactic is to create tensions between different groups of impoverished people with the aim of making it impossible for our members to rebuild. The ruling party and the local state is trying to outsource violence and to reward the people that are willing to engage in violence for them with access to land. They are using local gangsters to sell and allocate land.

Qwabe and Mokwena have both been admitted to King Edward hospital. As always our members will continue the struggle to hold the land in the face of a violent and criminal state.

In Durban in 2017 we are ruled by violence from the state and the ruling party. We do not live in a democracy.

We will continue this struggle in defence of our dignity and this land on the land, in the streets and in the court. When we return to court we will hold the mayor and the city manager personally responsible for this illegal and violent attack on our members.

Contact: S’bu Zikode 083 547 0474