The City of Ekurhuleni violates a Court Order, and Melita Ngcobo is assaulted and arrested

Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Abahlali baseMjondolo Urgent Press Statement

The City of Ekurhuleni violates a Court Order, and Melita Ngcobo is assaulted and arrested

Melita Ngcobo, an Abahlali chairperson in Vusimuzi Section, Tembisa, has just been arrested for questioning the brazen violation of a court order. She was assaulted before the arrest.

On 9 September 2019 the Gauteng High Court issued an interdict following a series of evictions carried out in the name of ‘re-blocking’ in Tembisa, Vusimuzi Section. For too long the Ward Councillor Selwana, together with the Members of the Mayoral Committee (MMC), have been violently and unlawfully been evicting this community in the name of ‘development’. 

There was no consultation at all before this disastrous development started. We do not know how much budget was allocated and for what. The families with big houses or yards are attacked and forced to make space for other families in their yards. The belongings of people, including furniture, clothes and food, have been thrown away. Some people’s homes have been fully or partly demolished. Some have been forced onto river banks where it is not safe. Some have been forced to rebuild over old pit toilets, and some people are sick. People’s self-built toilets and other infrastructure have been destroyed.

People’s homes have been attacked by both the City, and supporters of the councillor. The police have frequently acted as if their mandate is to obey the councillor and not the law.

We wrote to the Head of Department of Human Settlement reporting this imposed so called ‘development’ because it is clear that there is corruption in this. There is no City that can use a local councillor to impose ‘development’ of this nature against the will of the people.

The Court had ordered that they can only finish with six families in Mangosuthu and eSitineni and that after that they must stop. The next phase can only begin when lawyers of both parties, that is lawyers of Abahlali and that of the City, meet to agree on road map and process. The court also said that the families to be ‘re-blocked’ need to be consulted and, lastly, that if the ‘re-blocking’ leads to demolishing people’s homes, they must be given material to immediately rebuild those houses.

However today four homes were attacked and demolished in brazen violation of the court order. The evictions are now targeting Abahlali homes in what has become a political attack carried out in the name of ‘development’. The local ANC say that they just want to ‘teach Zikode’ a lesson because ‘the law does not apply’ to them. Melita has just been arrested for political reasons by the Luthuli House police station. They claim that ‘she has a big mouth’ when she shows a court order to police.

There is no democracy for the poor in this country. We continue to be treated as if we are beneath the law, and the ANC continues to conduct itself as if it is above the law.

Jabu Qwabe: 073 136 6148
Motsheawa Mmifi: 072 804 6999
S’bu Zikode: 083 547 0474