Mercury: Residents lash out over demolition

Residents lash out over demolition

December 04, 2007 Edition 1


More than 50 children and 20 women were left homeless when their shacks at an informal settlement in Reservoir Hills were destroyed last week, apparently by the eThekwini Municipality’s Housing Department.

Hundreds of Abahlali base Mjondolo (shack dwellers’ movement) members were affected by the action.

Thabisile Ndlovu, 33, a mother of three children, including a 2-year-old, was among those left without a roof over her head.

“We are sleeping at my friend’s house and there is not enough space for all of us. It a pity because we voted for this democracy, but we are being oppressed by our own leaders,” she said.

Nokubonga Gqiba, a mother of two young girls, said her shelter was demolished with their belongings and food inside.

“We are stranded and my children do not have space to live or sleep. I am angry because the municipality is incompetent and selfish,” she said.

The Chairman of the Shannon Drive Informal Settlement Committee, Thomas Madiba, said a municipal official previously told residents of the settlement to pay R100 each if they wanted houses.

“People paid that money, but there was no answer. Instead, they demolished our homes.

“We told the managers in the municipality about the official but were told that he no longer worked for the municipality.

“Instead of giving us options, they told us they would demolish our houses” he said.

The chairman of the housing and infrastructure committee in the municipality, Sbu Gumede, doubted that Abahlali had not been notified that the shacks would be demolished.

He said the allegations against the former official would be investigated.

“We are going to investigate the matter,” he said, adding that it was unfortunate that there were children who had nowhere to sleep.

Gumede said he would meet the informal settlement committee and the area councillor to discuss the problems the settlement residents faced.