Category Archives: New eMmaus

Shack Dwellers Strike at National Print, Pinetown ++ SHOTS FIRED ++

Update: 27 January 18:32 – the bosses have flown down from Jo’burg to negotiate with the strikers and the strike has been suspended while the negotiations are ongoing. So far things are looking very positive.

150 contract workers at National Print, in Westmead, Pinetown, have walked off the job. The night shift workers will also refuse to work tonight.

The contract workers have decided to go on strike in protest at the attempt by the CEO to suddenly reduce their working hours and, therefore, their income. January is the month when poor families struggle to pay school fees and to buy school uniforms, books and stationery. This is a very bad time for people to suddenly lose most of their income.

About 70% of the contact workers at National Print are shack dwellers, most from the Abahlali baseMjondolo strongholds of Motala Heights, New Maus and Mpola. We have successfully resisted eviction from our settlements and we will also resist eviction from our workplaces.

The economy is in crisis due to the extreme greed of the rich. We have worked hard and done our work well. We are not to blame for the crisis. It is common sense that no one should take more than they need for themselves and their family. It is also common sense that no one should be able to take less than they need for themselves and their family. Everyone in this world has a right to a decent income.

For comment from the scene of the strike contact Lindo (AbM Youth League and National Print Worker) on 074 460 5806.



The strikers at National Print in Westmead, Pinetown, are currently under police attack. Rubber bullets and stun grenades have been fired. It is too early to determine if the police have also used live ammunition or how many people have been injured.

For more information contact Lindo at 074 460 5806


Update on the National Print Strike

Twenty of the strikers at National Print in Westmead, Pinetown, were injured by the police yesterday. Some of the strikers who fled the police attack at the factory gates in Westmead were later accosted by the police in central Pinetown and viciously assaulted there.

The strike continues.

For more information contact Lindo at 074 460 5806

New eMmaus Cracks

On Monday 2 October New eMouse became the 34th settlement to join Abahlali. It was the first area built as a formal housing development but now predominantly a shack settlement to join the movement. It has an interesting history in that the formal housing was built by the Catholic Church after people were evicted from Church land to make way for factories. There are some pictures available here.

eMouse Press Release:

eMouse IndyMedia pictures:

Tuesday, 3 October 2006


Press Release from the eMouse Development Committee
(Newly Affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo)

eMouse is in Ward 15 in Pinetown between the N2 and the factories behind the Marianhill Monastery. We were moved here, to New eMouse from Old eMouse 16 years ago. Before that we had been living in self built houses on Monastery land for generations. Although we had to fetch water from the river we were happy there. The houses that we had built didn’t leak. The first attempt to move us was in 1979 when a white man came in a landrover and said that we must go to KwaNdengezi. Some went but most of us said no. Then they tried to move us to KwaNdebeka. We fought against that too. We fought to get a place here. Then we were moved to New eMouse, close to old eMouse, in 1991. The land where we had been living was sold to industrialists and used for factories. The new land was not prepared for a housing development. The church built 97 houses. We had to pay for these houses. We had to pay R1800 for the two room fibreglass houses and R3800 for the 4 room brick houses. The houses were just dumped on the side of the hill. There was no drainage put in and from the beginning the water has just poured into the houses. Because of this, everything rots in the houses, even when we put the furniture up on planks on bricks. Most of us have very bad chest problems. The houses were very badly built. It was a quick job, a cheap job and a shit job. They wanted to get us out of the area where we had been living peacefully as quickly as possible so that they could make their money. On 17 February 1998 we were given the title deeds for the houses. In the same year the church handed the area over to the Municipality.

Beatrice Hlengwa Cracked kitchen

Both the fibreglass and brick houses have now cracked up. Some of the fibreglass houses, which are really just boxes with doors in them, have split right apart at the corners. The brick houses are breaking up inside and outside. Because we can’t fit our children and grandchildren into the houses they have had to build jondolos. There are now 3 or 4 jondolos for each house. The Municipality tries to stop us building the jondolos for our children. Sometimes they come and knock them down. Are they saying that we must all live in one house? Grandparents, children and grandchildren altogether? There has been no development at all since the end of apartheid. None. In the whole community there are 3 standpipes. Some of the houses have prepaid electricity meters. The sceptic tanks were never cleaned out and so many of us have had to put concrete in the toilets to stop the smell. There is no school, no shops, no police station, no clinic, no drainage and no tarred road but we must pay rates. The houses are so badly cracked that we have to sleep under plastic when it is raining.

The chipboard ceilings rotted away a long time ago. The asbestos roofs on the brick houses are breaking up and we worry about our children breathing in the fibres. We also worry about Campus Waste which is burning waste right where we live. It smells like it is poisonous. Few of us have jobs in the factories. When we do find work we are sometimes exploited very badly. Polymar Contact pays 50c for every lamp polished and a person working there from 7 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon will only make around R200 a week.
Splitting at the seams

We need our area to be developed. We need houses to be built for our children. It is not right to have 17 people living in one house or to have our children raise their families in jondolos. But our councillor, Dimba, the same Dimba who has threatened people in the Motala Heights Settlements with his guns, has told us that ‘this area is already developed’. How can it be that an area is developed because some people have title deeds to these cracked up houses which are full of water every time it rains and in which everything is always rotting? How can it be that this area is already developed when our children must live in jondolos? The Indians here are also suffering. So many of them still live in the tin houses.

The Municipality just want to stay in their offices. They don’t want to come to us and know our problems. We want them to come to the people. We want them to talk to us. All over the people are finished with the councillors. All over people are sick and tired of the councillors and deciding to represent themselves The councillors only come to us when they want votes. They are the new chiefs. They spy on us and control us. They do not speak for us. Anyone who asks difficult questions or who says what the people are thinking is immediately marginalised from the B.E.C. Some are even threatened for saying what the people want to say. When the Development Committee calls the councillor for meetings he just doesn’t come. The way forward is for the Development Committee to be independent and to represent the people directly. We need to break with the councillors who don’t represent the people. The Councillors just try and use the Development Committees to tell the people what to do. There is too much lying. We want the Development Committees to tell the Municipality what we need it to do. When Enviroserve wanted to set up another incinerator in our area Dimba said nothing and did nothing. But we negotiated directly with them and they stopped it. This works much better than going to the councillor and asking him to represent the people. Councillors just want to represent the powerful people above them. We have seen how communities that have joined Abahlali baseMjondolo are representing themselves. This is the way forward. This is real democracy.

The people in eMouse understand Abahlali baseMjondolo. Everywhere people have problems with the councillors and are deciding to represent themselves. Everywhere people are joining Abahlali because Abahlali is giving the power back to the people. If anything is happening to Abahlali we will all stand up and go. Our eyes are open now.

Today we announce to the world that we are finished with the councillor. Today we announce that we will represent ourselves. Today we announce that we are with Abahlali.

On Saturday Dimba was told that photographs of our cracked houses were loaded onto IndyMedia. We were immediately threatened and told that he would no longer sign the forms confirming the addresses of people living in eMouse. We will not be intimidated.

Last night we had a mass meeting in the eMouse Hall to launch our independence from the councillor and our affiliation to Abahlali baseMjondolo. We couldn’t fit everyone in the hall and lots of people had to stand outside. Speaker after speaker from the floor said that they don’t want to go via the councillor anymore. From now on eMouse will confront the municipality directly.

Sifuna izindlu! Sifuna esikoleni! Sifuna eclinic! Sifuna isitolo! Sifuna umsebenzi! Sifuna itransport! Qina umhlali! Sekwanele!

For print quality pictures of the cracks in the houses in eMouse please visit
(These are the pictures that so enraged Dimba that he is now refusing to sign important forms for eMouse residents. Clearly he thinks that we must keep our cracked houses as a secret to ourselves. We will not be intimidated.)

For further information and comment on the cracks between Councillor Dimba and the eMouse community please contact Mr Pewa on 0731533187.