Mercury: Shack dwellers in bid to change Act

The shack dwellers’ movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, plans to influence the finer points of the recently passed KwaZulu-Natal Elimination and Prevention of the Re-emergence of Slums Act, which has not been signed into law by Premier S’bu Ndebele.

The organisation, which has been at loggerheads over housing with the eThekwini Municipality in the past, has expressed its intention to exploit the period until the Bill is signed and to challenge an Act which they feel would discri-minate against shack dwellers.

While the group had expressed reservations about the entire legislation, indications were that only minor adjustments could now be made.

Abahlali sent a letter to Ndebele last week urging him not to sign the Act into law.

In addition, the formation was expected to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

According to Cyril Xaba, the Chief Whip in the KZN legislature, Abahlali could still make contributions to the Act because it had not been signed into law. Abahlali Chairman Sbu Zikode said that significant opposition to the Bill expressed by many non-governmental organisations during the formulation process had been ignored in the wording of the Act.

“The Bill needs to be urgently reviewed. There needs to be genuine and serious consultation between shack dwellers so that we can develop laws and policies that will be founded on the reality of the situation,” he said.