Mercury: Squatters resist relocation plan

And Mabukyakhulu promised that no one would be evicted as a result of the Slums Act…

Squatters resist relocation plan

March 05, 2009 Edition 1


Disgruntled residents of the Palmiet Road informal settlement, near Clare Estate, Durban, have threatened not to vote in the April 22 elections if the eThekwini Municipality moves them to transit camps in Chatsworth.

Yesterday, residents burnt posters and wielded knobkierries in protest.

Nhlanhla Shezi, a spokesman for the group, appealed to the municipality to intervene in the matter. He said they would not move because they would lose their jobs and residents feared they would not be moved into new houses.

“We will leave this area only if we are moved to new houses, or else we will not vote. We do not want to stay in such (slum) conditions but, if we move to the transition camps, we would lose our jobs.”

Ward 23 councillor Jayraj Bachu said the plan to move the people was in line with the Slum Clearance Act, which aims to clear all the slums in KwaZulu-Natal by 2014.

He said Shezi’s group had been offered housing in Verulam, but they had refused the offer and the houses had been given to others.

Bachu said the conditions in the Palmiet Road settlement were “horrible”. “There is no sanitation, water and other basic services. The transition camp is better than the current settlement they are staying in.”

The residents yesterday turned away municipal trucks that had arrived to move their furniture to the Chatsworth transit camp.