Category Archives: The Rising Sun

The Rising Sun: Feud over illegal disconnections

Feud over illegal disconnections

The Rising Sun, Overport
29 September 2010

A bitter feud is mounting between residents of Pemary Ridge and the shack dwellers of the Amajondolo Informal Settlement following illegal disconnections of electricity in the area. It’s believed that residents [of the formal houses] were left without electricity for over a day, last week. According to a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity in fear of being victimised, electricians from the eThekwini Municipality’s Department of Electricity, came to the settlement and removed illegal cabling last Thursday. “A while later, a group of youngsters, who wore black shirts over their hears to hide their faces, banged the electricity box with sticks which caused sparks and a power outage. We are hard working individuals, diligent ratepayers and we deserve help from the government. This has been going on for years and needs to stop,” the woman said.

However, chairman of the youth committee [of the shack settlement] Scelo Zungu said, “If we cannot have electricity then we all must not have electricity.” He believes that if government provides electricity to them they would not resort to stealing. “We are even willing to pay for electricity. It is our basic human right to have electricity so why must we suffer without it. We don’t mean harm on any of our fellow neighbours but if they (government) don’t listen to us, maybe they will listen to them,” said Zungu.

But the residents’ problems do not end here. In a petition drafted out last year, residents said they are experiencing problems which include dirt being piled up on the periphery everyday, noise disturbances and an increase in house break-ins and carjackings. “We contacted councillor Jayraj Bachu to assist us with these problems but he never responded,” said the resident. Shack dwellers also claim when they need assistance from him, it’s difficult to contact him. “The only time we see him is during elections,” said Zungu.

Chairman of the Reservoir Hills Resident’s and Ratepayer’s Association, Ish Prahladh, who was contacted by the residents, said he will be addressing the situation between the two parties.

At the time of going to press several attempts were made to reach Cllr Bachu for comment but he was unavailable.

“He will not rest until his mission is accomplished”

Red T-shirts unsettle community

“He will not rest until his mission is accomplished” by Sphele Cele

“THE RISING SUN, OVERPORT” dated 14-20 March 2006.

He calls himself the leader of Abahlali Basemjondolo (Shack Dwellers movement) and comes across as an individual desperate for change. However, informal settlers say he is the evil spirit flying around to terminate the good.

Kennedy Rd, Foreman Rd and Sparks Rd informal settlers gathered in multitudes outside Cllr Yacoob Baig’s office, pleading with ANC chairman of ward 25, Nicodimas Sosibo, to come up with a plan to foster harmony within the settlements, last Tuesday. Fear unease and agitation among certain families have brought endless cries as red tshirts dominate Kennedy Road and force people to protest against Cllr Baig.


According to ANC executive committee members, Sbu Zikonde and his accomplices called a meeting at Kennedy Road Community Hall, announcing that all informal settlers must march to the councillor’s office to remind him of his promises to the community. The informal settlers were given red t-shirts with ECOPEACE printed on the front and ‘GIVE BACK OUR LAND’ printed on the back. The crowd accused Baig of not delivering on his promises and giving homes to his first choices. According to Amanda Ngcobo, an informal settler in Kennedy Road, “We were misled by Zikonde to pursue his own personal agenda.”

Sosibo explained at the meeting how Baig had worked remarkably hard to better the lives of informal settlers. “Cllr Baig has a number of achievements under his belt. Kennedy Road has a dropping centre which was requested by them and as a councillor he made sure he granted their wish. People have been given jobs and homes they could call their own’, he said. Sosibo concluded that even though the house building project is on snail-pace, a large number of people have been moved to bigger and better homes. However, the project is far from the end. “We know that there is still a number of people who still require homes”, he said.

Nozizwe Kamanga also an informal settler in Kennedy Road said the red t-shirts have made life unbearable for her and other settlers. “We have been literally forced to attend protest marches against cllr Baig. If we don’t participate, the red t-shirts demolish our homes and threaten to kill us”, she said with fear in her eyes. Nozizwe made a request to Nicodimas, of the ANC executive, to get police to patrol the area at night.

Fundiswa Blose said her life has been threatened by the red t-shirts a number of times. At present she feels a dark cloud hanging over her after she spoke against Sbu Zikonde in a community meeting last week. “I have in Kennedy Road for over 20 years and I have never experienced such pain and torture”, said Fundiswa. With glassy eyes she added how it was not safe for her to live there. “Kennedy is my home. It is the only home I have ever known”, she added.

Zikonde was asked to comment on the allegations made against him by informal settlers. His response was ‘propaganda’. “Why on earth would I make life unbearable for people who are in need as much as I am? I am astonished that people would accuse me of such activities. I am a person of the day and during the night I am sleeping like all other people. I have no knowledge of what informal settlers are accusing me of”, said Sbu.

He concluded that people who have been abused by people claiming to be working for him should report the matter to the police. “Everything I do is transparent and above the law. All I know is I am sweating daily to make sure my brothers and sisters get homes as the government promised”, said Sbu.

Living their lives in fear has made the community lose the sense of who they are and what they are about. They said the proposed way forward was for SAPS to step in and do everything in their power to prohibit illegal marches against councillors and ensure the safety and security of informal settlements. Last but not least, people need to concentrate more on finding ways to help the government to help them, they concluded.

PHOTO – backs of two people wearing different red t-shirts


And the other “GIVE BACK OUR LAND”

CAPTION: Kennedy Road informal settlers wear red-t-shirts which they claim were forcibly given to them by Sbu Zikonde as uniform for the protest march against Cllr Yacoob Baig.