Category Archives: Abahlali baseMotala Heights

Metro Police Destroy a Home in Motala Heights

22 January 2011
Abahlali baseMotala Heights

Metro Police Destroy a Home in Motala Heights

The Metro Police attacked Motala Heights today. They came with axes and succeeded to destroy Mr. Buthelezi's home before the community could mobilise. They then attempted to destroy a second home but we mobilised quickly and stopped them from destroying any more homes.


The remains of Mr. Buthelezi's home after the Metro Police destroyed it on Saturday

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Ricky Govender Bulldozes the Motala Heights Shembe Temple

Sunday 16 January 2011
Abahlali baseMotala Heights Press Statement

Ricky Govender Bulldozes the Motala Heights Shembe Temple

The notorious gangster landlord Ricky Govender has bulldozed the Motala Heights Shembe Temple. This surprise attack on our community and our culture was carried out without warning or notification and we hereby give notice that we will not allow Ricky Govender to vandalize our community or our culture.


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Unlawful Attacks on Education Rights in Motala Heights

Motala Heights Abahlali baseMjondolo Branch
Press Statement 6 January 2010

Unlawful Attacks on Education Rights in Motala Heights

Today people are celebrating the matric results across the country. Here in Motala Heights, as in many poor communities around the country, we are planning our resistance to the illegal exclusion of poor children from our country's schools. Every year the first campaign on the Abahlali baseMjondolo calendar is the struggle to keep our children in school and to have them respected in school.

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Motala Heights Will be a Community for All

There is an archive of entries on Motala Heights here.

Press Statement from Abahlali baseMotala Heights
30 October 2010

Motala Heights Will be a Community for All

When we joined Abahlali baseMjondolo and started our struggle in 2006 the municipality, led by the ward councillor Derek Dimba, were trying to destroy the jondols up on the hill. They were coming with guns and tear gas and evicting the people and destroying their homes. They were doing this illegally.

In the tin houses down in the valley the landlords, led by the gangster businessman Ricky Govender, were also evicting the poor people. They were coming with thugs and they were also evicting the people and destroying their homes. They were also doing this illegally but the polices were supporting them as they supported the municipality.

Derek Dimba was always in Ricky Govender’s house. The rich were united and we, the poor, were divided. Together they were trying to push all the poor people off this farm and to develop it for the rich. Govender was building the commercial housing developments for the rich himself.

Since 2006 we have had some ups and some downs in our struggle here in Motala. But we have faced a lot of threats and intimidation and united the poor in the jondols and in the tin houses against the power that the rich had over this community. We stopped the evictions in the jondols and in the tin houses. We electrified the jondols ourselves. We built a crèche. We organised all kinds of events and mutual aid. Through our participation in the larger struggle of Abahlali baseMjondolo we were also able to negotiate with the Municipality along with our comrades in the movement from other areas from the end of 2007 till the beginning of 2009. As a result of these negotiations we won an agreement from the municipality to provide more services to the poor in Motala and to build houses for the poor in Motala. This was a real victory. We went from a situation where all of the poor people were being driven out of Motala to a situation in which we brought the rich under some control and won an agreement that Motala would be a place for everyone and that we could all live here safely. That agreement is an agreement to put the social value of the land here before its commercial value and to put the right of an established community to remain together before the rights of the rich to use their money to make more money by evicting us and developing the land for commercial housing.

Land & Housing

The Department of Land Affairs came with Zamo from the Housing Department and showed us where development could be done. They said that this year is the second year of the planning period and that next year will be the third and last year.

But after a while no one in our office could get to Zamo but Kalinca [Kalinka Copello –a PhD student from Brazil] could. Why is it always like this? Mike Sutcliffe will meet with any student from England or America and try to charm them but he’ll never meet with us.

Zamo told us that Ricky Govender was working with Faizel Seedat of the housing department to do a private sector commercial development. Seedat and Govender call this ‘low cost housing’. But Govender will rush you R600 000 for a house. This is not low cost housing.

Govender has built a show house that is priced at R595 000 and he says that he has a paper that states that the municipality has given him money to develop the area. A comrade working in a steel company told us that Govender recently bought enough steel to build 1 600 houses. We’ve heard that Ricky Govender is building low cost houses for the government in Phoenix and Verulam. Here in Motala he is telling the poorest people to make a list of all their income including child support grants and any businesses that they have. This is creating the impression that Govender is providing the houses that we have fought for. We took a copy of Govender’s form to Zamo and Zamo was shocked. We can’t risk our housing budget getting into Govender’s hands. Money is a devil to anyone. It cannot go to Govender or to any other individual person. That money is for the community.

Govender’s vehicles and bulldozers were all repossessed in December by the sheriffs. It is widely known that he is owing money everywhere. Govender continues to dump illegally in the community and Dimba is not fazed about this. Even the Highway Mail has written about this. This has been going on for years. But Dimba is not fazed. Govender remains above the law in Dimba’s eyes. The poor are below the law and the rich are above the law. It seems that the law is only for the people in the middle.

Zamo has left the Housing Department and Nompilo has gone on maternity leave. We’ve heard nothing from the Department since Kalinka spoke to Zamo on the 8th of April and Nompilo told us on the 15th of April that the land assessment had gone to land affairs. Therefore we want clarity. The Municipality must come straight to the point and discuss everything openly with us like Zamo did. We are very angry.

Our demands to the Housing Department are that:

1. We want an urgent meeting to give us clarity on the status of the plans for our housing development and, also, clarity on what Ricky Govender is doing in Motala, on what land and with what money. We need to know what is his relationship with the Municipality.

2. We want regular meetings during the whole planning period of the development in Motala.

Some of our members are saying that instead of struggling all the time for the government to build us houses like they promised we should just demand that they just give the poor the land and then we can do our own mud houses. Some of us are old, we were born from here and we’ve never seen anything from the government. If they just give us the land and the paper to say that it is ours then we can see for ourselves. We are not hungry for their money. We are hungry for the land.

We read in the Daily Sun about that man that every day when we goes to look for work he also looks for bricks. Every day he comes home with three or four bricks and he is building his house solely three or four bricks at a time. If the government can’t build for the people it must let the poor people build for themselves. It’s like how they try to stop illegal electricity and water connections while they are failing to provide legal electricity and water connections.


We stopped all evictions in the jondols in 2006 and there have been no more evictions since then. We stopped all evictions in the tin houses for a few years using various strategies including rent strikes, legal strategies and mobilisation. Most evictions are illegal and so legal strategies usually work very well. After a number of defeats Govender stopped intimidating people. He’s very quiet these days although he has recently been coming with people who we do not know and filming in certain plots in Motala. We don’t know why. But now the land lords are starting to get their confidence back. Ten families are threatened with eviction in lot 6 and a number of families in lot 35. Govender is threatening five families in Lot 46. They have not received eviction letters yet. It is just at the verbal abuse stage now. Govender is also trying to evict two families from Lot 13. He has been trying to evict these families for years but he has always failed. We have successfully defended these families.

We have been to the deeds office to check who really owns the land from which people are being evicted. It costs R150 to get each file. This is another way of excluding the poor. But from what we have found it seems clear that Govender and other people arriving and claiming to be landlords are just stealing land. According to the deeds office lot 36 is owned by the National Housing Board. And lots 18 and 51 are owned by the Municipality. All these lots were set for public housing in 1986. We demand that all the land owned by the Municipality must go to the poor and not to private housing or other commercial developments.

In every eviction case the papers from our side are also served on the eThekwini Municipality but they have done nothing. Whenever government can’t do anything for us we have to see what we can do for ourselves.

Since we started our movement we have only been unable to defend two families from eviction in the tin houses. We do not accept that people should be left homeless when there is a lot of empty land in Motala, some of it owned by the Municipality and some of it owned by the National Housing Board. Therefore we have identified and allocated land for these families so that they can build their own homes and stop being tenants of the rich. If government is not gonna take any steps to protect the poor who are made homeless then we have no choice but to take the law into our own hands. We will continue to do this. We demand that no one is made homeless in Motala. If government cannot afford to build us RDP houses now then they should just give us the land right now.


We are still struggling for services. We tried to get the municipality to bring a grader to make the road to the jondols as this had been promised to us but then we were referred to Derek Dimba and so of course nothing happened. Everything that is supposed to be for the poor fails when it touches Dimba. If the Municipality is serious about working with all the people they need to work directly with the poor people and not with the councillors that are just here to oppress the poor. The councillors represent the rich and not the poor and therefore we must be allowed to represent ourselves. This is basic logic and yet it is often taken as a crime for the poor to organise ourselves and to speak for ourselves in this country.

Two years ago Bongo Dlamini and Shamita Naidoo made a statement to the Water Department about the need for more stand pipes in the tin houses. This was agreed to in the negotiations with the Municipality and PPT. But Bongo is late one year now and the Water Department only came now, on Wednesday last week. At first they just asked if there was a tap for the tin houses and we said yes but one stand pipe for all the tin houses without their own taps is not enough. We were very clear on this point and they have now agreed to put in new stand pipes in all the places where there is no water. We also negotiated with Zamo and PPT that they would build toilets in three places in the tin section. This was the first promise that was made to us in the negotiations but it has not been kept. We want them to bring those containers with toilets and showers.

The people with taps inside their tin houses are paying R200 and upwards for water. This is unaffordable for many families. From August billing is coming with a sewerage tariff but they don’t have a sewerage system. They are using the pit system.

There is a man called Steven (Duma) who has got an office in Pinetown which is called “Deprived Community Services and Helping Hands”. He helps the deprived communities to get water connections in their houses. He charges a fee of R1000 and then R60 per month. But now the Municipality is saying that his water connections are illegal. They won’t provide water connections but when someone else does they say it is illegal. Steven connections were like heaven to some of the tenants in the tin houses. Someone that is willing and able to do the work that the government is failing to do should be given the right to do that work.

Those that can’t afford water through Steven are still going through their neighbours. Often there is one legal meter for twenty families.

When it comes to electricity Operation Khanyisa is operating very well in the jondols. We are gonna steal electricity until they put the electricity inside. If they disconnect again we’ll just reconnect. They can’t stop us. Some people in the tin houses have prepaids but the bills are still coming too high. When electricity is unaffordable we have to go back to chopping wood. People have to wake up very early in the morning to chop wood.

We are also having a problem with the postal service. The tenants in the tin houses don’t get their post. The letters for those of us that are tenants of Govender go to Govender at his supermarket or warehouse. Either we don’t get the post or when we do get it it has been opened. We want our own cluster boxes with keys.

The Clinic

The clinic not only provides services to residents of Motala Heights but they also service nearby communities and the Westmead Industrial Area. However, the clinic here in Motala Heights is open only on Mondays and Fridays. Mondays from 9 till 3 and Fridays from 9 till 1. The nurses often arrive after 10am and take their own time for lunch while we are waiting outside. They have done away with providing services on Wednesdays.

They are supposed to give porridges and milk for the poor kids, pensioners and the sick, but they are not giving it. In Reservoir Hills the clinic even gives hampers for the very sick but not here.

Condoms are supposed to be supplied for free but people are afraid to go and ask the nurses for condoms because they ask people a thousand questions. That’s why we have had to organise condom distribution ourselves.

The blood pressure machine is not working and even our people with the killer virus are not getting their HIV medication. In fact they are not even getting porridge. Often the clinic just refers us to the hospital and then when we go to the hospital they refer us to the clinic. Sometimes the clinic refers us to Marianhill Hospital which is a semi-private hospital but you have to pay R150 to spend the night there and R360 for a scan and poor people just can’t afford this. We prefer to go to Khan’s Hospital because it is a government hospital.

One of the nurses is very helpful and she said that we have rights as people and that we must complain. But the other nurse is very rude to the poor people. She even refused to treat one very sick man who is living in an old truck because she said that he smelt. It is the job of nurses to treat everyone who needs treatment. This man is dying. He is in very critical condition. The hospice and the hospitals won’t help. The clinic chased him away because he was smelling. He spends all day just sitting in the bus shelter. Before the owner of the truck said that he could stay there, and put a plastic over the broken windscreen for him, he was living in the Post Box but it caved in under the rain. What kind of country are we where people must live like this? Where people must die like this?

The Health Department did set up a Health Committee here but it is not functional. There is no communication. It is the usual story with these top down structures.

As a movement we supported the Public Sector Worker’s strike because everyone needs to be paid properly and because most public sector workers are supporting a lot of people who aren’t working. But some of our people couldn’t get their HIV medication during the strike and their health has really gone backwards. This is not right. Nurses and other public sector workers must understand that when you work for the public you work for the people and the people mustn’t be forced to pay the price for the legitimate struggle of nurses against the greed and arrogance of the government.

We really need help with looking after some of the HIV ladies and their children here.


Every year the government makes the budget but there is nothing for us. It looks like nobody knows us. We are like the animals to them. But we are living people.

The municipality must come to all the communities and allow us to have input in the budget. We have two demands about the budget:

1. They must bring the budget to us and show it to us so that we can see where the money is going.

2. From next year and onwards there must be a participatory and democratic budget planning meeting in each community each year. Government must stop pretending that the councillors represent everyone in the meetings where budgets are decided. The councillors represent the rich. They do not represent us. We represent ourselves. Therefore the money for Motala should be allocated by an open meeting in Motala.


Every year we have the same struggle to get the poor kids into schools. Last year the poor kids were even stoned by the rich kids in Wyebank. We fill in the fee exemption forms for all the kids but some of them are rejected. Others are not rejected but they are just ignored and nothing is done. While there is no feedback the fees are accumulating. The poor children are treated badly. Sometimes they are sent home for silly things like having their hair too long when there is no one at home to look after them. It’s not right for a child to be roaming around on their own.


Everything that touches Dimba fails.

Dimba says that there is no way in hell that he will come to Motala. He says that he feels threatened by us. But no one has ever got aggressive with him. All we did was to come to his meeting and ask him our questions through a loud hailer. If councillors think that questions are threatening that is their problem and not our problem.

When Shamita phoned him recently, on the speaker phone at the Minister’s Fellowship, he took off with her and put the phone down.

He won’t even give us the proof of residence.

Like in most areas where Abahlali baseMjondolo organises, Dimba, like most councillors, refuses to give us the proof of residence forms that you need to get a bank account, to make your cellphone legal and to get grants. This is one of many ways that the councillors try to control the poor from the top down. We have had now made our own arrangements to get proof of residence certified for people on a regular basis without having to go through Dimba. In Kennedy Road Abahlali baseMjondolo just started issuing proof of residence forms on its own. We are looking into this.

In 2007 the PR councillor, Mr. Narenjee from the IFP, said in the paper that he assisited in the provision of low cost houses in Motala. But where are these houses? When we ask him he runs away.

We have noticed that in fact councillors and officials don’t understand about land and housing. They don’t even understand about schools. We have to learn them. We are willing to keep learning them. But we as the poor shouldn’t have to be learning them all the time. They are paid to do their jobs. We are paid nothing to organise in our communities.


We meet on the roadside every Saturday. The government treats us like we haven’t got hands, like we haven’t got minds, like we are babies. But we stand together even though finance kills us all the way.

We get most of our solidarity through all our comrades in Abahlali baseMjondolo but here in Pinetown we are also getting support from the Minister’s Fellowship. We want to thank them for their living solidarity, a solidarity with dignity.

For more information and comment please contact:

Sipho Khanya: 073 588 9729 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              073 588 9729      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Louisa Motha: 078 176 0088
Shamita Naidoo: 074 315 7962
Krinesh Rajah: 082 463 6853

Eviction of 23 Families in Motala Heights; Intimidation by Pinetown Legal Aid Board and So-Called Landlord

Lot 35 Motala Heights

Eviction of 23 Families in Motala Heights; Intimidation by Landlord and the Pinetown Legal Aid Board

This week 23 families living in tin-shanty houses in Motala Heights, Lot 35, were issued with letters, demanding that they pay exorbitant increases in rent – effective immediately – or face eviction. A pensioner, seeking advice about the letters, was told by the Pinetown Legal Aid Board that he would be “in the firing line” if he challenged the so-called landlord. Yesterday, relatives of the so-called landlord threatened an area coordinator for Abahlali baseMjondolo for assisting the families, warning that they would “come to your home and deal with you.”

Abahlali has been fighting against violence, intimidation and evictions by Motala landlords for years. Many of these battles have been won against the notorious gangster landlord Ricky Govender (who has also threatened the press). Now, Abahlali will struggle again, this time against a different landlord, so that families can live in safety, free from the fear of homelessness and retribution by the landlord of Lot 35.

Eviction of 23 Families

Rent for the tin-shanty houses has been doubled or tripled, according to the letters issued by a lawyer acting for the person who is suddenly claiming to be the landlord of lot 35.

One family, both pensioners, had been living in their house for the last 35 years and had been paying R200 per month. Now, the letter instructs them to pay R700 per month. This violates the Rental Housing Act that regulates rental increases. It is a clear attempt to force the families off the land.

But the so-called landlord’s claim to ownership of Lot 35 is uncertain. On four plots of land, 12 families have been paying in person to different rent collectors for many years. Some have been paying this way for decades. Now, the letters instruct the families to deposit money into the bank account of someone claiming to be the new landlord of Lot 35. Tenants have had no prior notice of any sales or transfers of land ownership. The plots were reportedly sold years ago through various verbal contracts agreement and family arrangements, not by title deed. The recent letters from the lawyer did not advise residents to meet or discuss the matter with the person suddenly claiming to be the landlord of lot 35. They offer no proof that this person is now the legal owner of the land.

There have been a number of incidents in recent years where Ricky Govender has suddenly claimed to be the owner of land on which people are living, or of common land in Motala Heights, while the dead office does not show that he is the owner of this land. He has even built houses for rent on the land that he does not appear to own.

There have been similar instances where other people have suddenly arrived, claimed ownership of land and sought evictions or a re-direction of rent payments without being able to prove their ownership of the land. People in Motala Heights have good reason to be suspicious of people who suddenly and without proof claim to be owners of the land on which they have been living for decades.

In total, 23 families on Lot 35 have been instructed to pay the increased rent this month, August, or be evicted. The letters state that the families are in arrears. But all the families say their rent is paid in full and up to date. In fact some had already paid their rent for this month before they received the letter notifying them of the increase. Those who have paid their rent for this month did so to the rent collector that they have always ordinarily paid. But the letters state if they do not pay the full amount to this new landlord, they will be evicted. Tenants on the Lot have consistently paid their rent over the years, but have never been told, until now, that they owe money to this new landlord.

One tin-shanty house on Lot 35 was burnt to the ground last month, while the family was attending a funeral out of town. To this day, they do not know how their home – along with all their personal belongings, such as clothes, furniture and ID books – was set ablaze. All they have left is what they brought with them to the funeral. A church donated materials so that the family could rebuild, from which they have constructed a new home. Now, the person claiming to be the new landlord is demanding that they break down this home, or he will call the municipality to do so. The family, with a one-month old baby and two other children, has no other shelter.

Legal Aid Board Intimidation

When one pensioner went to the Pinetown Legal Aid Board for advice, a representative told him that he “already knows all about Lot 35 and what is happening there.” He was told he would be “in the firing line” if he contested the rental increase and the eviction threat from the landlord and warned not to challenge the landlord.

This is the second instance, at Lot 35, in which the Pinetown Legal Aid Board acted against its national and constitutional mandate to provide legal representation to the poor. In an ongoing eviction case at Lot 35, involving three of the families living there, the Pinetown Legal Aid Board stated in a letter that they were representing the landlord in court.

In the course of representing the landlord, the Pinetown Legal Aid Board sent letters to the families, which read: “NOTICE OF EVICTION”: “Kindly take note that you that you are hereby requested to vacate our clients’ premises with immediate effect.” The letters only were delivered recently, but are dated September 2007. Another letter is dated May 2006. When the families went to the Legal Aid Board in Pinetown for an explanation, they were turned away.

The residents then approached the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), which declined to take their case, but agreed to send a letter to Legal Aid inquiring why the Board, to assist those without the funds for private attorneys, was acting for a landowner with 15 houses. Thus far, Legal Aid has not responded to the LRC letter.

At the time the families under threat of eviction raised additional questions about the legal standing of the eviction notices, which must be delivered by the sheriff. These notices came by post. No PIE (Prevention of Illegal Evictions Act) notice was been issued as is required by the law. The Legal Aid Board was, therefore, not just representing the rich against the poor but was also complicit with straightforwardly unlawful and criminal behaviour.

On many occasions the Pinetown Police (SAPS) have also acted as if their job is to support the rich in Motala Heights in their often illegal attempts to exploit and evict the poor. They have even continued in this behaviour after being interdicted against unlawful behaviour.

If the Legal Aid Board and the Police act in complete contempt of the law and in blatant support of the rich what are the poor supposed to do?

Threats by the Family of the So-Called Landlord

While assisting the 26 families facing rental increases and eviction at Lot 35, an area coordinator for Abahlali baseMjondolo was threatened by relatives of the landlord in the presence of other representatives of the movement. The landlords’ relatives warned that they would “come to your home and deal with you.”

This is not the first time that Abahlali members and coordinators have been threatened by landlords in Motala Heights. Ricky Govender told the same area coordinator that he would have her killed for R50. He later came to her home, with his relatives, and assaulted her, which left her traumatized and in hospital.

Tenants in Lot 35 would like point out that they maintain their tin-shanty houses themselves. They do so with great care and pride, but say it is a battle to fix windows, leaking roofs, and dilapidated structures at their own cost, especially for pensioners, those with low income, or are unemployed. There is only one water tap for the whole Lot that is shared by 26 families. There is not even a postbox. Tenants, some who have been living there for close to 40 years, are scared and have nowhere else to go.

For further information and comment please contact:

Shamita Naidoo 074 315 7962
Bongo Dlamini 084 722 2637

Press Releases from Motala Heights

*Corruption and Armed Intimidation as Motala Heights Eviction Crisis Deepens, 20 June 2006.
*Motala Heights Eviction Crisis Continues, 30 June 2006.
*Motala Heights Eviction Crisis, Press Release 4, 21 August 2006.
*Shacks Demolished at Motala Heights, Pinetown, 29 October 2006
*Major Crisis as eThekwini Municipality Violently and Illegally Evicts Shackdwellers in the Motala Heights Settlement, 5 November 2006
*Victory for the people of Motala Heights, 13 December 2006
*Gangster Landlord Assaults Woman Activist and Threatens Twenty Families with Eviction, 8 August, 2007
*Four shacks Burn Down in Motala Heights, 10 September 2007
*Motala Heights Crisis Deepens as Violent Intimidation Against the Strong Poor Continues, 13 May 2008
*Court Action Against Intimidation in Motala Heights, 12 & 13 June 2008
*AbM Youth League Chairperson’s shack has just been lost to fire, 30 July 2008
*Armed De-Electrification in Motala Heights, 19 August 2008
*Six Families Under Threat of Eviction in Motala Heights, 20 April 2008
*Police Support for Landlord Intimidation Continues in Motala Heights, 30 April 2009

Pictures from Motala Heights

*Ricky Govender gets his demolitions at Motala Heights (3 years ahead of the City’s schedule), 31 October, 2006
*At the High Court for the Motala Evictions Case, 22 November 2006
*Motala Heights on 12 December 2006 – the day before an eviction
*SAPS stop Municipality workers from demolishing shacks, 13 December 2006
* Photo essay on Motala Heights in December 2006 by Antonios Vradis.
*Shack cinema, Motala Heights 11 March 2007
*iPolitiki ePhilayo: Motala Heights Development Committee AGM, emZabalazweni, Motala Heights Settlement, 20 May 2007
*Motala Heights, 2 August 2007. The day after Govender promised to bulldoze Uncle Jame’s house by the end of the month
*Motala Heights, Meeting Against Evictions 4 August 2007
*“Motala Heights Indian Shacks” – pictures by Shamita Naidoo, taken first week of August, 2006
* The morning after 4 tin shacks burnt in Motala Heights, 9 September 2007
*‘Meeting of the Poor Against the Rich’, 17 November 2007
*The Motala Diggers, 31 October, 2008
*New Evictions Threatened in Motala, 20 April 2009
*Launch of the new Creche in Motala Heights, 26 April 2009

Newspaper articles on Motala Heights

*Isolezwe, 30 October 2006 Bathi abayi ezindlini abakhelwe zona
*Mercury, 30 October 2006: Council vows to get rid of shack dwellers
*Mercury, 30 November 2006: Shack dwellers win court order against municipality
*Highway Mail, 17 August 2007: We Won’t Go
*Mercury, 4 September 2007: Photographer was threatened, Police rescue news team after fracas
*Highway News, 11 September 2007: News team threatened for shack story
*Highway Mail, 14 September 2007: Homes in Ashes
*Mail & Guardian, 21 September 2007: ‘They can pack up and go’
*Highway Mail, 24 September 2007: No assistance for Motala Heights fire victims
*Mercury, 8 October 2007: Court halts landlord’s threats
*Daily News, 16 June 2008: Order won to prevent harassment: Tenants take landlord to court
*Mercury, 17 June 2008: Order granted against landlord ‘harassment’
*Mercury, 21 August 2008: Land owner to take legal action to evict tenants

Other Media

*CNN, 11 June 2008: Slums offer surprising hope for tomorrow’s urban world

Legal Documents on Motala Heights

*Affidavit on the Founding of Motala Heights by Bheki Ngcobo
*PDF copy of letter from the Legal Resources Centre to City Manager Sutcliffe, 23 November 2006
*PDF copy of court order preventing further demolitions in Motala Heights (29 November 2006), Letter from the Legal Resources Centre to the Pinetown SAPS (11 December 2006) and a letter from the LRC to the city’s lawyers (12 December 2006)
*Interdict preventing Ricky Govender from bulldozing the home of Mr. and Mrs. Pillay and from threatening or assaulting them, 28 September, 2007
*Court papers for interdicts against Ricky Govender et al, the Station Commander of the Pinetown SAPS & the Minister of Safety & Security, 13 June, 2008
*Letter from CALS to Ricky Govender’s lawyer on ongoing intimidation of James Pillay despite the interdict, 8 July 2008, 2008
*Letter from CALS to Ricky Govender’s lawyer explaining that they have no legal basis to evict, 31 July 2008, 2008

Other Documents

*Facing Uncertainty with Unity: Lives and livelihoods of shack dwellers in Motala Farm by Lisa Fry, late 2006
*Comments by people who resisted evictions in Motala Heights in December 2006, document drawn up in early 2007
*Report on Public Participation Exercises For: “The Elimination and Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Bill” (See section 3 for an account of the two visits of Tim Jeebodh to Motala Heights.
*Freedom of Expression Institute statement that makes reference to Govender’s death threats to journalists
*Abahlali baseMjondolo & the Police A list of key incidents of police harassment between March 2005 and January 2008 (including references to incidents in Motala Heights)
*Letter to the eThekwini Municipality from groundWork on illegal dumping by Ricky Govender, January 2008
*COHRE report on housing rights in Durban (includes Motala Heights), October 2008

And a poem…

*For Motala Heights, a poem by Jacques Depelchin, April 2009

And two short documentary films…

*Motala Farm, May 2009
*Still UnFree, June 2009

Various documents on New eMmaus

New eMmaus is just over the hill from Motala Heights and is not under the control of Govender. However the two areas share, in part, a common history as people who were evicted from land owned by the Catholic Church live in both New eMmaus and Motala Heights. (Their ancestors came to the Marianhill Monastery as converts – they were evicted when the monastery sold land off for factories to be developed).

*New eMmaus Cracks, Press Release, 3 October 2006.
*New eMmaus Cracks – photographs, 3 October 2006.
*Emmaus residents fall into housing cracks, Sunday Tribune article, 22 October 2006.
*Abahlali to Mourn UnFreedom Day 2007 & Celebrate the Strength of the Strong Poor in New eMmaus, 27 April, 2007.
*Pictures of the UnFreedom Day Celebration in New eMmaus, 27 April, 2007.