Category Archives: pietermaritzburg

Witness: Jika Joe residents battle cops over disconnections[_id]=37984

Jika Joe residents battle cops over disconnections

Thami Magubane

The police remove electricity connections from Ash Road [aka Jika Joe]

26 Mar 2010

RESIDENTS of the Jika Joe informal settlement in the lower CBD were
yesterday engaged in running battles with police after they allegedly
disconnected illegal electricity connections.

The disconnections come after numerous complaints from other residents
near the settlement, who said the connections have put the electricity
supply under severe strain, resulting in numerous power outages.

According to the residents, yesterday’s skirmish began last week when
Msunduzi municipal electricians tried to remove the connections.

They were allegedly stoned by the residents. The police were called in
and they used stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowds.

Some residents sporting bruises allegedly sustained during that
incident, said police were shooting indiscriminately.

Sifiso Mkhize, one of the injured, said he was not even part of the
fracas when the police shot him.

“I was just coming out of my room and the police were just shooting.

“One of the bullets hit me in the arm and even now my arm is still

After last Thursday’s skirmish, police returned in numbers yesterday to
stand guard as municipal employees removed all the illegal connections.

There were at least nine police cars.

The angry residents resorted to throwing all the rubbish from the
settlement into Masukwane (East) Street, demanding that the police
remove all the rubbish, which they say was last collected before the
municipal strike.

They blockaded the road with rubbish, old fencing and wood.

Police then sealed off the entrances to the settlements between
Masukwane and Burger streets.

The police had to remove the rubbish themselves to open the roads.

Community leader Bheki Dladla said the residents threw rubbish on to the
streets to vent their anger.

“The rubbish here has not been collected since the municipal strike,
despite them paying for it to be removed, and the community is just
angry about that.”

He said the residents will no longer siphon off electricity from the
transformers as they were negotiating with the municipality to install
proper meter boxes.

The process manager at the Msunduzi Municipality, Maxwell Mthembu, was
not available for comment.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan confirmed that last Thursday,
the police had an altercation with the residents after they had tried to
stone municipal employees. She said the police used rubber bullets to
disperse the crowds.

“A similar protest took place yesterday.

“However, no violent incidents were reported,” she said.

Witness: Anger over family’s fire deaths

Actually the report found that self organised electricity connections radically reduce the incidence of fires…..Anyone who has lived in a shack knows this to be true. Amazing that the state exploits this tragedy to take forward its campaign to deny shack dwellers access electricity instead of to provide it![_id]=17453

Anger over family’s fire deaths
16 Dec 2008
Shirley Jones

Survivors of a blaze that killed a family of five at the KwaDukuza informal settlement late on Sunday night waited with community members and local government officials for hours yesterday to discuss the tragedy with Welfare MEC Meshack Radebe.

They were eventually told that Radebe would not arrive as he could not leave an important meeting in Pietermaritzburg. He has, however, promised to help pay for funerals and arrange trauma counselling.

Veli Luthuli, the councillor for ward 11, Groutville, said the five family members — 31-year-old Sithembiso Thusi and his partner, Jabu Dube (30), and her children Sibongiseni (10), Ntombazane (3) and Owami (seven months) — burnt to death before they could be rescued.

Community organisations such as Abahlali baseMjondolo, which has lobbied for the resolution of problems leading to shack fires, has said that paying for funerals does not remove the need to tackle root causes of shack fires. They kill, maim and disfigure and wipe out the few possessions of the poorest South Africans.

According to a study commissioned by the organisation in August this year, there have been an average of 10 shack fires a day in South Africa over the past five years. In neighbouring eThekwini, there were 299 shack fires (an average of 25 per month) during 2007.

Candles, paraffin stoves and illegal electrical connections are the main causes. The fires spread rapidly because houses in informal settlements are built closely together using highly flammable materials such as wood, plastic sheeting and even cardboard.

“There are many challenges, but we are trying,” Luthuli said, adding that a full investigation into the fire is already under way. The family is thought to have been sleeping when the fire started.
She said the KwaDukuza Municipality has tried to address the problem of illegal electric connections by offering an amnesty to residents who have tampered with electricity meters.

Several members of the community have come forward, she added, and the municipality is working to sort out the unsafe connections.

Luthuli said, however, that a long overdue housing project, which would see the creation of 3 000 RDP houses during 2009, would provide a more effective, long-term solution. She said the housing project has been held up by illegal land issues and the need to expropriate land.

Radebe could not be reached for comment.

Witness: Demolition – uMngeni gets court order; residents evicted[_id]=17407

Demolition: uMngeni gets court order; residents evicted
15 Dec 2008

Thando Mgaga

More than a hundred residents were left homeless after the uMngeni Municipality bulldozed their shacks to the ground at kwaKani informal settlement near the Cedara College yesterday.

Families with children — among them orphans in the care of neighbours — were left to fend for themselves in the rain.

They were left without blankets and food and the demolishers did not allow them to remove their belongings before bulldozing their shacks to the ground.

When The Witness visited the area, the homeless families had sought refuge in an abandoned four-room brick house near the informal settlement.

They said their pleas to have their belongings spared fell on deaf ears and they were told by the demolishers that the municipality had given them more than enough time to move.

One of the residents, Sibongile Mlaba, said the municipality asked them to vacate the area. “We asked [the municipality] to provide us with alternative accommodation or land and they refused, saying that we must just move,” said Mlaba.

Johnson Ngcobo said the shacks were “completely” destroyed.

“We don’t have anywhere else to go. We have small children and we are afraid that we might be raped and attacked by criminals,” said Fikile Mbatha.

Some of the residents claim they have been in the area for 13 years.

uMngeni municipal manager Dumisani Vilakazi said he could not answer why the shacks were demolished with furniture, food and belongings still inside, as he was not there during the evictions.

“They were warned before they moved to that place that they were not supposed to build there. I personally had two meetings with them and told them that. Because they did not respond positively to what we had told them, we had no choice but to approach the court, which ruled that they must be evicted. It was all done in terms of an eviction order of the high court,” said Vilakazi.

He said the demolition was a joint effort between the municipality with its security officials, the sheriff of the court and the police. He said the order did not require that any alternative shelter be provided for the illegal dwellers and dismissed claims that people have lived there for 13 years.

Abasebenzi basefemini (edampi) ngaseSobantu eMgungundlouvu ehlangene nogroundWork

ugroundWork ehlangene nabasebenzi basefemini (edampi) ngaseSobantu

Sizobe simasha sisuka eCity Hall ngo LweSihlanu mhlazingu 12 ku Disemba

Sizohambisa inqubomgomo kumphathidolobha ngokungagculiseki kwethu ngalokhu:
* Ukungambandakanywa kwabantu bomphakathi lapho kuthathwa izinqumo
ngokuthuthukiswa kwezindawo lapho kulahlwa khona (edampi)
* Ukuphathwa kwedampi nemithetho engavumeli abasebenzi ukungena edampi
* Ukuhlanzeka kwedolobha laseMgungundlovu jikelele

Wonke umuntu wamukelekile

Masihlangane ekhoneni lemigwaqo uEast no Prince Alfred ngesikhathi
sokugamanxa kwelesishiyagalolunye (09h30) ekuseni

Ukuthola imininingwane ungaxhumana no groundWork kulezinombolo 082 589 7928
/ 084 559 9229 / 082 464 1383 /

Waste reclaimers of Pietermaritzburg and groundWork

will be marching to City Hall on
Friday 12 December
to present a memorandum to the Mayor dealing with our
concerns about
* People’s participation in decision-making on future developments at
the landfill site
* Management of the landfill site
* Waste management in PMB


Meet at the corner of East and Prince Alfred Streets at 9:30
For more information contact
groundWork at 082 589 7928 or 084 5599229 or 082 464 1383
Or email

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.