Category Archives: Nompumelelo Magwaza

Mercury: 400 homeless as fire sweeps through shacks

400 homeless as fire sweeps through shacks
27 April 2010, 07:41
By Gugu Mbonambi and Nompumelelo Magwaza

About 150 shacks were destroyed in a fire at the Kennedy Road informal settlement in Clare Estate in one of five blazes which kept firefighters in Durban on their toes yesterday.

About 400 residents were left homeless by the third fire at the settlement this year.

Nobody was injured in yesterday’s blaze, which started when an unattended paraffin stove exploded at about 8am.

Most people had left for work when the fire started, but rushed to the scene to try to salvage their belongings after hearing of the fire from news reports.

Others were alerted by neighbours.

Zolile Jili, 25, said he was left with the clothes on his back.

Gugu Mzizi, 31, was similarly despondent.

“I have lived here for over 10 years and I never know when my shack will burn down,” she said.

Identity documents, cellphones, school books, and grant and bank cards were among the important items lost by residents.

Ward councillor Yacoob Baig said he had arranged for food and tents to be supplied.

Baig said he was continuously applying pressure on the eThekwini municipality to provide housing for residents.

Elsewhere in the city, firefighters battled veld fires on the Bluff and in Chatsworth, Congella and Mobeni.

Rake Jeeves, of the Bluff’s Community Safety Organisation, said a fire had destroyed the valley between Harlequins and the caravan park.

Fire department divisional commander Ntuthuko Mathe said firefighters had responded to several blazes.

“We are approaching the fire season and we would like to warn people not to carelessly throw glowing cigarette ends into bushes and dry areas.”

* This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on April 27, 2010

Mercury: Hawks swoop on top officer

commander allegedly hid dockets
Hawks swoop on top officer

March 11, 2010 Edition 1


AN EMBATTLED Durban police station commander was arrested by the Hawks yesterday for allegedly being in possession of case dockets – including one in which he is facing a charge of assault.

Sydenham Senior Superintendent Glen Nayager’s arrest came after he secured victories in the labour and equality courts, and in an internal disciplinary hearing in recent weeks.

He was arrested at police offices in Isipingo and appeared in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court yesterday afternoon.

He was released on R2 000 bail and the case was adjourned to April 16.

It is alleged Nayager hid the dockets so that the cases could not be investigated and taken to court.

Hawks spokesman Musa Zondi said the commander had been charged with three counts of defeating and obstructing the course of justice.

Nayager’s lawyer, Anand Nepaul, said the charges related to allegations that he was in possession of three dockets kept in a safe at the Sydenham police station.

These related to a drug charge, an assault charge against Nayager and also to a contempt of court charge.

Nayager, who is on leave, has been involved in several cases in the past few years and recently won two Labour Court cases in which his transfers to KwaMashu and to the Brighton Beach police stations were declared unlawful.

His transfers came after he was allegedly involved in a fistfight with a fellow officer at his station last year.

After an internal investigation into the incident, he was transferred to KwaMashu and the other officer was sent to Greenwood Park.

Nayager opposed his transfer, and the provincial commissioner’s decision was overturned by the court on the grounds that correct procedures had not been followed, and he returned to Sydenham.

Last month Nayager was transferred to Brighton Beach after he was accused of interfering with a witness in the Labour Court case.

He opposed the transfer in the Labour Court and Judge Hamilton Cele last week ordered his immediate reinstatement at Sydenham.

He also ordered the Police Ministry and provincial police commissioner to pay his legal fees.

The police are expected to appeal against that decision.

And yesterday, an internal disciplinary inquiry found Nayager not guilty of misconduct relating to the assault on the officer.

He also won an Equality Court case last week, which related to a complaint that he had used a racial slur against a teacher in October 2007.

Stanley Bongani Mathonsi alleged Nayager had directed racist remarks at him when he went to the Sydenham police station with a friend.

The case was dismissed by magistrate John Saunders, who said Mathonsi’s version of events was improbable.

Nayager and his police officers have often been criticised for alleged heavy-handed action in dealing with residents of the Kennedy Road informal settlement, which falls within the Sydenham policing precinct.

Cape Times: Guards demolish shacks

Guards demolish shacks
26 November 2009, 22:47

By Nompumelelo Magwaza

Residents of Mpola informal settlement at Marrianridge, near Pinetown, spent Thursday rebuilding and repairing their shacks.

This was after a group of armed municipal security guards had ransacked and demolished more than 20 shacks, leaving about 100 people homeless.

The guards were acting on the orders of ward councillor Derrick Dimba.

The residents said that the evictions were illegal because the guards did not have an eviction court order.

One, Lindiwe Ndlovu, said the guards ordered people out of their shacks before breaking them down.

Sipho Hlambisa said he had to take time off from work to rebuild his shack.

“If they want to evict us, they must be prepared to take us somewhere else.

“They should not just remove our furniture and demolish our shacks.”

Dimba said he had sent the guards to demolish the shacks because the residents were occupying the land illegally.

“The people invaded that land.

“The area is not designed to be a residential area – the place is steep and it is near a stream.”

“The municipality has no plans to build houses or for any projects in that area.”

Dimba said eviction orders were necessary only where people had built proper houses.

Centre for Applied Legal Studies researcher Kate Tissington said, however, that an eviction without a court order was illegal, “and this most definitely is”.

“The occupiers of Mpola informal settlement are protected by the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act and if the municipality wants to evict those living there, it needs to go through the eviction application process and get an order of court.”

Tissington said the city had acted illegally by bypassing the act’s provisions.

The eThekwini council speaker, James Nxumalo, said he understood that the city had to obtain a court order to evict people. He said although councillors acted as the eyes of the municipality, they did not have the right to evict people.

Mercury: Woman set shack alight – report

Woman set shack alight – report
17 June 2009, 11:03
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By Nompumelelo Magwaza

Residents of the Kennedy Road informal settlement, in Sea Cow Lake, Durban, spent Tuesday’s public holiday rebuilding their homes after a fire destroyed 100 shacks, leaving 300 people homeless.

A resident, who would not be named, said the fire started at about 1.30am. She alleged that a woman involved in an argument with her partner started the fire.

She heard the woman saying she would burn the man because he had cheated on her.

“She apparently poured paraffin and set their shack alight. We tried to put out the fire but it was too strong,” she said.

Police Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said police had been alerted to the incident by a man who claimed that his girlfriend had set his shack alight.

Mdunge said that officers were stoned by residents when they tried to arrest the woman.

“When the police responded, they were met by an angry crowd of residents who started stoning them and seriously injured two metro police officers.

“One officer sustained serious head injuries and the other minor injuries. They were both rushed to hospital,” he said.

Mdunge said the woman was taken in for questioning and could be charged with arson and attempted murder.

Meanwhile, S’bu Zikode, president of Abahlali Basemjondolo (shack dwellers’ movement) said the fire had been started by a paraffin stove that was left unattended.

He said such fires resulted from the shack dwellers’ lack of access to electricity.

eThekwini housing department head Cogi Pather said the department would provide the residents with building material once the area was assessed.

“Today (Tuesday) was a public holiday and we were unable to get building material for the residents. Tomorrow (today) we will send our team to assess the area and start with the process of rebuilding the shacks,” he said.

Mercury: Four arrested over shack building material

Four arrested over shack building material

May 18, 2009 Edition 1


FOUR people were arrested in Durban yesterday after they were found in possession of suspected stolen building material.

Sydenham police Superintendent Glen Nayager said that residents from the Foreman Road informal settlement had notified officers that the material, which was intended for the reconstruction of burnt shacks, was being stolen.

He said the police had watched the area and four men travelling in a bakkie with the building material were arrested yesterday.

“They were taken to Sydenham police station and were later charged with being in possession of suspected stolen material,” said Nayager.

Foreman Road ANC chairwoman Patricia Mjoli, however, denied that the material had been stolen. She said the remaining material had been stored in some of the rebuilt shacks by the Foreman Road ANC committee for safety.

“I was one of the people asked by the committee to store doors and window frames. The committee had decided to remove the material to a safe place this morning (yesterday), but they left some in our shacks. Then people stormed into my shack, demanding the material, and I was afraid that they would hurt me.”

Mjoli, who was not among those arrested yesterday, said she had been accused by locals of stealing building material that belonged to the settlement’s residents. She could not explain why it had not been used and had been stored.

Nayager said the police had been called to the settlement to break up fights between residents later in the day.

“People’s houses had been broken into after others found building material inside their newly built shacks. We had to break up fights and we used stun grenades to disperse the residents. Some people were taken in for questioning,” he said.

He said police were monitoring the area and would be there for the night.