Category Archives: Bongani Hans

The Mercury: ‘Elitist’ suburb residents reject low-cost houses development

Kwa-Zulu Natal | 2 June 2017, 10:50am
Bongani Hans, The Mercury


Durban – Residents of an upmarket uMlazi suburb have opposed the construction of low-cost houses in the area, saying the development will depreciate property values and lead to many social ills in the middle-class neighbourhood.

Since March, the residents of section-W have been protesting and vandalising already built eThekwini Municipality low-cost houses.

About 200 more houses still need to be built in the space, which the community has earmarked for a clinic, children’s park and recreation centre.

Local councillor Amon Dladla on Thursday accused the residents of being “elitist” for refusing to be associated with the poor in order to protect the value of their properties.  Continue reading

From Assassination with Bullets to Assassination with Words

17 October 2014

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement


From Assassination with Bullets to Assassination with Words

On the 6th of October 2014, exactly one week after Thuli Ndlovu was assassinated, The Mercury published an article by Bongani Hans and Sihle Manda that was nothing but an attempt to assassinate the reputation of S’bu Zikode, of our movement and of the many people who are striving for land and housing in Durban independently of our movement.

The article, ‘Shacks pop up in Durban land grab’ by Bongani Hans and Sihle Manda is online here:

It has since been republished by The Post and the South African Housing Federation which also circulated it via email. Continue reading

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.

Witness: Dumpsite pickers protest[_id]=17340

Dumpsite pickers protest
14 Dec 2008
Bongani Hans

“We may be poor, but we are not criminals. We need the right to pick up [waste] from the dump [Msunduzi landfill site] without being beaten up by your security guards.”

This was the plea from “fed up” waste pickers, who marched to the city hall on Friday to hand over a memorandum to the Msunduzi Municipality. About 100 protesters said they are angry about the everyday physical abuse they allegedly suffer at the hands of the municipality’s security guards stationed at the landfill site.

“I have been beaten up many times, and my elder brother was shot in the stomach, just for picking up from the dump,” said David Dlamini.

The marchers, mostly residents of Ash Road informal settlement, are poor and unemployed.

Many wore black T-shirts supplied to them by Groundwork, an environmental lobby group that has volunteered to fight for their rights. They marched from Masukwane (East) Street to the city hall carrying placards with messages of their plight.

Marching with them were Groundwork staff and leaders of the Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement, which fights for the rights of shack dwellers.

They intended to hand their memorandum over to Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo, who declined it, saying their complaint falls under the administration. Municipal manager Rob Haswell was also too busy to accept it, so community development process manager Mandla Zuma accepted it.

Besides demanding protection from abusive security guards, they also want to be included in any decisions that affect their operation at the site.

“The security [guards] hired by the Municipality have, in the past, shot people and physically abused people who have worked on the landfill site.

“The National Environmental Management Waste Bill allows for ‘salvaging’ of waste off landfill sites. Developments at the site, such as the gas extraction project and recycling proposals have excluded the waste pickers and not sought their opinions on such developments,” said the memorandum.

Ntombi Luthili said she supports her large family with the waste she picks from the site. “I have a family of 17 members and there is no man to help support it. I started picking up waste before 1990, and with the money I made out of selling it, I’m able to send my children to school and feed them.

“If they prevent us from going to the site what kind of Christmas do they want us to celebrate without money? How are we going to send our children back to school next year? They are rich and they can afford (what they need), so they should allow us to make a living,” said Luthuli.

However, Zuma said there are laws that prevent the municipality from allowing people free movement inside the dump.

“We are going to look at the matter. It is not about going to sleep and waking up with a decision, but there is a process to be followed,” said Zuma.

Witness: Immigrants detained: ‘Don’t waste your energy on law-abiding people’[_id]=15442

Immigrants detained: ‘Don’t waste your energy on law-abiding people’
29 Oct 2008
Bongani Hans

A GROUP of South African women and men vented their anger at police at
Howick police station following the arrest of more than 30 immigrants,
apparently after their immigration permits had expired.

The immigrants were arrested on Friday evening in Howick West, where
they were renting rooms as individuals or in groups.

The women, who have children with the immigrants, are concerned that if
they are deported back to Malawi, where most of them are from, they will
be left with no one to support the children.

Some South African men, friends and colleagues of the detainees, shouted
at the police officers.

‘Howick is full of crime committed by South Africans, but you are
wasting your energy and government resources arresting people who do
honest jobs to support their children,” shouted one man while waiting
for the detainees to appear from holding cells.

Most of the immigrants worked for a shoe factory in Howick, while others
were employed by local residents and small businesses.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram confirmed that 34
people were arrested on Friday because they either had expired
immigration documents or were found to have none.
He said they were taken in during a joint operation between the SAPS and
the Department of Home Affairs.

Khetho Ntuli has a one-year-old baby girl with Stiya Phiri, who is also
waiting for deportation. She is concerned that her daughter will grow up
without a father.

“I’m also concerned because he (Phiri) has kidney problems, and since he
was arrested his sickness has become serious, because they are sleeping
on the floor. He has no access to a doctor,” said Ntuli.

Ntuli, who lives with Phiri, said she was in her parent’s house in
Siyabazali informal settlement in Howick when the arrest happened. When
she arrived at Phiri’s room on Saturday morning, she found the door open
and most of their belongings missing.

She alleged that Phiri had lost a wallet that contained R1 500 and
added, “I think police left the door open and criminals took advantage”.

Florence Masilo (22), who is an immigrant from Lesotho, is four months
pregnant with the child of Malawian immigrant, Aufi John. She is also
worried that her child will be born without the father.

Also at the police station was a businessman who had come to bring food
to his detained employee, James Nudi.

He alleged that the immigrants have been deprived of food and blankets.
He asked not to be named as he fears being fined for employing an
illegal immigrant.

Budhram said the detainees will be kept in the holding cells until Home
Affairs officials are ready to deport them, which might happen today.