ANC undermine High Court interdict

Friday 22 February 2019
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

ANC undermine High Court interdict

When the eKhenana land occupation was organised last year the ANC ward councillor in ward 101, Mzimuni Ngiba, was very adamant that it will not be a success.

Ngiba even organised members of the local ANC Branch Executive Committee to unlawfully demolish people’s homes. They were heavily armed and fired shots in the air to scare the people away.

Ngiba has been the councillor of this war for six years. He has been consistently authoritarian and hostile to all forms of organisation outside of the ruling party. Many of the people living in the new occupation had been left out of the in situ upgrading that took place in this ward because they were not members of the ANC. They were made homeless when the upgrade happened, and it was this that forced them to decide to occupy new land.

Four of our comrades have been murdered during struggles for land in this ward. Thembinkosi Qumbela, Nkululeko Gwala, and, recently, Senzo Gumede were all murdered by the izinkabi for support land occupations and speaking out against the corruption and the unfair allocation of housing in Cato Crest. Nqobile Nzuza was shot and killed by a police officer from the Cato Manor police during a protest against illegal evictions from the Marikana land occupation in Cato Manor.

On Wednesday 13 February the Durban High Court granted our movement an interdict against the eThekwini Municipality preventing them from continuing to carry out illegal and violent attacks on the eKhenana land occupation. The City was interdicted from evicting 109 families cited in the court papers. The court also instructed officials of the Land Invasion Unit, together with Abahlali leaders, to convene a joint inspection in order to seek agreement on the demarcation of the site.

However as noted at the time when a similar interdict was won against the Municipality in 2014 to protect the Marikana land occupation Ngiba mobilised ANC members to threaten us, and our legal team, to make the inspection on the site impossible.

On Tuesday 19 February at around 5 p.m. Ngiba mobilised ANC members to clear the bush next to the eKhenana settlement and to occupy it. Some people who already had land were forced, with threats of violence to join the occupation. The occupiers threatened motorists and Abahlali members and demolished and burnt some of their shacks.

As a result of what happened and Tuesday, and the continuing threats and intimidation the spite inspection that was supposed to happen on Wednesday 20 February could not go ahead. The City will blame this on us when it fact it is a result, once again, of Ngiba’s actions.

This is not only an attack on our movement but also an attack on the judiciary by the ANC.

When we occupy land the Anti Land Invasion Unit and the Metro Police will come and remove people forcefully and even use live ammunition. Lives have often been lost in the struggle for land. They will evict us without regard for the law. But when members of the ANC occupy land in violation of a court order the municipality does not act against them.

Residents of the area in formal houses have been told that the new occupation was organised by Abahlali. This is a lie. The new occupation was organised by Ngiba. Anyone who wants to know the truth must just visit the area and see for themselves what is happening.

We are not opposed to occupation of land by the people. We have always affirmed our support for the occupation of land as a means for people to live and thrive. We support grassroots urban planning.

However, we are concerned when the ruling party uses occupations to reassert their monopoly on the allocation of land, to attack an autonomous and democratic movement and to undermine the court when the court has given us some protection against illegal state violence.

Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274
Nomsa Sizani 081 005 3686
Lindokuhle Mnguni 081 491 4027