Mercury: Cato Manor protest leader buried

There are some errors in this article. Firstly Gwala did not led the protest that resulted in the councillors’ offices being burnt down. He withdraw from that protest and returned to his shack when he saw the direction that was going in. No individual or organisation led that protest. Secondly S’bu Zikode has never had bodyguards. When he was called to speak (after the intimidation from the councillor) every umhlali stood up in support and some members of the elected leadership followed him to the podium to stand in solidarity – they are elected leaders, unarmed, and not bodyguards.

Cato Manor protest leader buried

By Bongani Hans

Durban – The leader of the Cato Manor shack dwellers who was shot dead last week was buried at his home in Inchanga on Wednesday.

Nkululeko Gwala led several violent protests against the eThekwini Municipality’s allocation of low-cost houses, claiming legitimate shack dwellers were being passed over.

The 700-strong mob he led damaged infrastructure and challenged others in low-cost houses in Cato Manor, demanding they show proof that they were the rightful owners of their homes.

Last Wednesday, after the community held a meeting on the unrest with Durban mayor James Nxumalo and the head of the ANC in eThekwini, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, Gwala was shot dead near his shack at about 10.30pm.

His killers have not been caught.

On Wednesday, at his funeral, his followers, who are members of a group called “Abahlalo Basemjondolo”, which means “people who stay in a shack”, described him as “a hero” and a “freedom fighter for shack dwellers”.

Group leader, Sbusiso Zikode, who was flanked by bodyguards at the funeral, said: “He died for the homeless people of Durban, the province and the whole country.

“He died for the people who are angry because the leaders don’t want to listen to them. The leaders are killing us because they see us as a hindrance to their abuse of tenders,” he said.

The ANC councillor in Inchanga, Mzwamasoka Shozi, warned Abahlali Basemjondolo not to use Gwala’s funeral to incite hostility against ANC leaders.

“Inchanga is an ANC stronghold. Unfortunately there are those who do not accept that the ANC is in power.

“What happened outside Inchanga should not be brought to Inchanga.

“If you want to talk about your problems don’t talk about them here in Inchanga,” said Shozi.

Abahlali Basemjondolo secretary Bandile Mdlalose said ANC leaders had told a meeting held in Cato Crest last week that Gwala should leave the area because he had “become a menace”.

“Gwala was fighting against housing being allocated in a corrupt way,” she said.

“We informed the mayor that some people were getting more than one house each, but the mayor refused to listen to us,” said Mdlalose.

Mourners said Gwala had been active in organising community development protests in Inchanga.

Gwala’s father, Thembinkosi Ndokweni, said his son left behind five children.

“Even though he left school in standard two and was unemployed he had passion for education,” said Ndokweni.