eThekwini Municipality forced to recognise Abahlali baseKhenana 109

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement

eThekwini Municipality forced to recognise Abahlali baseKhenana 109

 On 13 February the Durban High Court granted us an interdict against the eThekwini Municipality’s repeated violent and illegal attacks on residents of eKhenana land occupation in Cato Crest. The Court directed the municipality’s Land Invasion Unit and Abahlali leadership to hold a site inspection. The inspection was disturbed by the local ANC councillor Mzi Ngiba last week.

Ngiba had directed ANC supporters to occupy the land following our court victory. People did not occupy the land because they were in desperate need for land. They occupied it on Mzi’s instruction to subvert the law and threaten an autonomous popular organisation. The site inspection could not go ahead last week as threats were made to us and Khenana homes were attacked by Ngiba’s people.

Our legal team asked for postponement for yesterday. The process went very well and peacefully. We were able to map up all our members on site. Each of the 109 families cited on the court order stood before their homes to be verified and photographed. We are now expected to file joint minutes and submit it to court. This is to ensure that our members are not violently and unlawful evicted from their homes.

We wish to express our sincere gratitude to our legal team from Socio Economic Rights Institute who worked hard to defend all these 109 families who have long been brutalized by the City.

We wish to congratulate our movement for years of struggle for land and dignity, and to educate the eThekwini Municipality to respect our human dignity. When they come to evict us they never have a court order. They also treat us as if we don’t count to the law. Usually the use violence as they vandalise our humanity.

We were quite happy to read their statement when they proudly said that they are armed with a Court order when they came to evict Ngiba’s people. Hopefully they will always follow the law when dealing with all people, whether ANC members or not, in the future.

Ngiba’s attempt to undermine our occupations in the area has failed. Our occupations are all still there. After the eThekwini Municipality approached the Durban High Court to seek an eviction order against Ngiba’s ANC people on Friday he had to call a special meeting to apologise to his people and instruct them to vacate the Land they have occupied. This act triggered huge protest over the weekend against Ngiba.

However instead the police ignored the protest by Ngiba’s people and attacked the eNkanini occupation in a so called “raid”. This started on Friday afternoon and the counter protest continued the whole night and on Saturday. A total of 7 activists were arrested for what they call ‘public violence’ which usually just means that a councillor has pointed people out to the police. We call this trick police violence. All the comrades subject to police violence were released by the Durban Magistrate court yesterday.

It is clear that the police in Cato Manor continue to think that they work for the local ANC rather than to implement the law. They have tortured and murdered are comrades in the past and regularly subject our members to serious violence. We have already put one of their officers in prison for the murder of one of our activists and we will continue to resist the thuggery and criminality of the Cato Manor.

Land, wealth and power must be shared fairly.

Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274

Nomsa Sizani 081 005 3686