Category Archives: Thami Magubane

The Mercury: City, Abahlali stand-off and eviction protests continue

by Thami Magubane, The Mercury

Abahlali baseMjondolo protesters marched to Durban City Hall Picture: Bongani Mbatha

Attitudes have hardened between Abahlali BaseMjondolo and eThekwini Municipality as the group has vowed to continue to protest following a violent protest last week where 14 people were injured and two arrested and a municipal vehicle was burnt.  Continue reading

Witness: Jika Joe blaze leaves several residents destitute

As is typical this newspaper report about a shack fire says nothing about (1) the denial by the state of formal access to electricity by shack dwellers, (2) the criminalisation of attempts, even when well organised and non-commodified, to arrange safe informal connections and (3) the misuse of the real problem of shack fires to legitimate the eradication and forced removal agenda.[_id]=40844

Jika Joe blaze leaves several residents destitute
18 May 2010
Thami Magubane

A FIRE gutted homes at the Jika Joe informal settlement in the early
hours of yesterday morning, leaving one person with burn wounds, 25
others destitute and at least nine informal housing structures razed to
the ground.

The fire allegedly started at about 4?am when one of the residents fell
asleep with his candle lit. The candle fell to the floor and burned down
the informal structures in the top part of the settlement in Masukwane

By yesterday morning, many of the residents were busy cleaning up, but
there was little to salvage as most of their belongings had been burned
to ashes. A handful of people managed to retrieve items such as

Jeff Wicks of Netcare 911 said the person who was burnt on his arms was
injured as he fought the blaze. He was stabilised by paramedics and
transported to hospital.

Mlamuli Mtolo, one of the affected residents, said in the past 11 years
of living in the area, he has been a victim of fires at least three

“Every winter this happens, today there is fire here and soon the fire
will be at the settlement across the river,” said Mtolo.

“I woke up to find that the area had already been overwhelmed by the
fire, and I managed to rescue just a few belongings and the rest were
burned. Now I need to look for materials so I can rebuild my house and
have a place to sleep tonight,” he said.

Bheki Dladla, a community leader at the settlement, said it is high time
the city fulfills its mandate and builds houses for the people. “They
need to get rid of all the shacks here because this is a disaster
waiting to happen.”

Disaster Management chief John Gutridge said they were looking at
providing the materials such as food, tents and blankets to the many
people affected by the fire.

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: Land claim delays ‘will create suffering’

AbM and the Gauteng LPM are both part of the Poor People’s Alliance but Mnikelo Ndabankulu is not an LPM spokesperson – he is an AbM spokesperson.[_id]=36655

Land claim delays ‘will create suffering’
02 Mar 2010
Thami Magubane

DELAYS in settlements of land claims will destabilise societies and
cripple the agricultural sector, say local land rights organisations.

The organisations were speaking after the recent disclosure by the Rural
Development and Land Reforms Minister, Gugile Nkwithi, that the target
to redistribute 30% of commercial land to black farmers by 2014 will not
be met.

Nkwithi cited the large amounts of money needed to settle outstanding
claims as the main stumbling block. “We cannot raise R75?billion by 2014
to acquire the 82 million hectares of land that we have targeted … we
just don’t have the money,” he said.

The organisations said that already too many farms are caught up in the
process, causing frustration not only for those involved, but for the
economy too.

The Association for Rural Advancement (Afra) said that while it is clear
the deadline will not be met, the announcement has dealt a crippling
blow to agriculture.

“There are many commercial farms that are tied up in claims and hence
production and investment there have almost halted, because who will
invest in land whose ownership is being disputed?” asked John Aitchison,
director of Afra. He said such delays would destabilise societies and
threaten an already jittery agricultural sector.

“By the department’s own admission, some of the land that has been
redistributed is lying idle with the people unable to develop it, and
with the farmers reluctant to invest in land under claims that will
strain the agricultural sector.”

The Landless People’s Movement also condemned the delays, saying it
means more suffering for people who are without land. Spokesman Mnikelo
Ndaban­kulu said, “The majority of people who are without land are poor
people and this delay only means that they will continue to suffer.”

Sandy La Marque, CEO of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, said that
despite the setback, they were pleased that the minister has committed
the government to ensuring food security and facilitating an environment
in which agriculture will take place freely.