Juba Place Evictions

Living in shack settlements sometimes has its disadvantages. Some take you like you are not a living human being, just because of the shack area you are living in. Others take you like a short-minded person, someone who is always doing wrong. Some people try to get the attention of the eye of the world through shack settlements. For an example the Ethekwini municipality is trying to evict all people from all shack settlements for the 2010 World Cup. Juba Place is one settlement that has already been attacked. What happened to Juba Place shack settlements hurts so badly. Juba Place is a small shack settlement, which was situated down the hill at Reservoir Hills opposite Newlands East.

On Thursday, the 9th November 2006 the Municipality told people in Juba Place that they would be relocated. They were told that they were coming to evict on the 11th (Saturday) of same month surely and they did come and they did evict on that day. They destroyed the houses (shacks), giving a house to the shack owners only, leaving homeless all the people who were staying with the owners and all those who were guiding houses for owners who were for years at farm, or no longer living in the area. With every eviction most of the owners are relocated but the people staying with them are just left homeless. On the 11th after demolishing people’s homes the municipality promised to come back on the 14th (Tuesday) as it didn’t finish on the first day. People left homeless on the first day then took their belongings to the other houses that hadn’t been demolished to try and keep them safe. But the Municipality came back to complete its destruction of people’s houses and lives and the community on Thursday (16th) and then Saturday (18th)

A large number of people, including children and grannies were left homeless. Then the municipality gave those homeless only the Sunday (9th) to move out from the area with all their belongings. They were told that if they didn’t move out with all their belongings by the end of the day then they would bring the police security force to remove them and guard the area. People got stranded and frightened not knowing what to do and where to go. The ABAHLALI BASEMJONDOLO MOVEMENT SOUTH AFRICA arrived at the scene, listened to the story and tried to get an alternate place to stay for people. Fortunately places were found in nearby shack settlements (Pemary Ridge & Mpolweeni) and the movement also managed to get a community hall in the area for emergency accomodation. Woman and children went to the hall. A list was made of people who had been left homeless and who were still in the area and it come to 35 people. A court case was opened against the municipality (eTekhwini) at the Durban High Court. This was all done with the aid of Legal Resource Centre – and NGO, like COHRE, ODAC and the FXI that respects the human dignity of shack dwellers.

Abahlali and the LRC took these evictions as an abuse to human dignity. The constitution says “The people shall govern,” and “There shall be shelter for all.” That must be fulfilled. It hurts as this turns out to be a habit to the municipality. When ever they relocate they leave people homeless. The break the law all the time. There’s even an old mother who owned a house and she didn’t get a new house after it was demolished. Her house was given to another woman who was a tenant in another house. There is always this corruption in every relocation. That mother is now homeless. This is why Abahlali is fighting every day. We will stop forced removals and we will stop evictions. We will force the municipality to upgrade the settlements where people are living. We will force the municipality to obey the law. We will force the municipality to talk to shack dwellers and not for shack dwellers. Sekwanele!