Category Archives: update

More Deeply Reactionary Legislation Looms: Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill

Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Amendment Bill [B8-2008]

The bill has been tabled in Parliament. It states that it was amended according to comments received, but it still criminalises the organization of land invasion and takes no account of the outcry from the left in general and from poor people’s organisations in particular. The South African Property Owners’ Association must be thrilled.

To read this bill on this site in pdf click here and to read it on the Parliamentry Monitoring Group site click here.

Clearly this Bill will have to be opposed in the same way that the Slums Act has been fought in the streets and in the courts.

Grassroots urban planning will be defended. The subordination of the state to the narrow short term interests of the rich will be opposed.

Arnett Drive Successfully Resists Evictions

A defiantly red shack stands in Arnett Drive with Abahlali’s injunction to ‘Qina!’

26 August 2008

Judgment in this matter was handed down in the Durban High Court today – a total victory for Abahlali baseMjondolo. But while the court was in session the city moved against the Siyanda settlement, where Abahlali just opened a new branch last week with 50 members, illegally demolishing shacks and leaving people homeless…The struggle continues. (Click here to read the short report on the judgment in The Mercury).

7 August 2008

The matter was heard in the High Curt today and judgement was reserved. The LRC’s heads of argument are here and those of the City are here. There are some pictures here and a report in the Daily News here.

25 January 2008

The Land Invasions Unit returned to the settlement this morning to check that the demolished shacks had not been rebuilt and to warn the residents not to rebuild. They also said that they were living on land that belongs to the Municipality and not to them and that they would therefore all have to go.

24 January 2008

Abahlali baseMjondolo has won another important court victory against the eThekwini Municipality. Today the Durban High Court interdicted the City against evicting illegally in the Arnett Drive settlement. More than 50 Abahlali members from settlements across the city were in the court room, and spilling out into the corridors, to witness the victory.

The City was informed yesterday that the Legal Resources Centre intended to approach the court on behalf of Abahlali first thing this morning to seek an interdict. Yet they still returned to the settlement this morning and succeeded in demolishing once shack. This brought the total number of shacks that they have succeeded in demolishing in Arnett Drive this year to 4. Abahlali will soon return to court to demand that the City rebuild the shacks that they illegally demolished before the interdict was secured.

Update: Click here to read the report in The Mercury and here to read an OpEd piece in the Sunday Tribune.

23 January 2008
Emergency Press Release
Abahlali to Oppose Evictions Threatened in the Arnett Drive Settlement Tomorrow

Today the City returned to the Arnett Drive settlement in Reservoir Hills to inform the residents that they would return tomorrow to complete the evictions by demolition that they started on 17 January 2008. This attempt to evict will be vigorously contested.

For the background to the ongoing attacks on the poor in Arnett Drive scroll down to the press statements below and also click here.

Tomorrow the City’s attacks will be contested by the simple act of refusing to vacate the threatened shacks thereby once again forcing the City to reveal to the world that its policies have to be implemented at gun point. And tomorrow they will also be contested in court thereby once again revealing the rampant criminality of the City’s ongoing attacks on the poor.

In the last week there have also been demolitions in Pemary Ridge, also in Reservoir Hills, and more threats in Motala Heights, in Pinetown. For up to the minute comment on tomorrow’s struggle to defend the homes of the poor against a rampantly criminal Municipality contact:

  • Mr. Samson Jaca, Arnett Drive Abahlali baseMjondolo Chairperson (Contact via Musa Jaca on 082 738 4322 or Zodwa Magwaza on 072 468 1156)
  • Miss Louisa Motha, Abahlali baseMjondolo co-ordinator 0781760088
  • Arnett Drive Update, 3 Homes Go Down Before the Attack is Stopped
    17 January 2008

    Three shacks were destroyed, without warning and without their owners being present and with all their owners’ property inside. The eviction by demolition was halted when the Land Invasions Unit had to confront a family cooking food. The food was spilled on the floor and 7 people, women and their children, refused to move from the shack. The Land Invasions Unit had not come with major security, no doubt expecting their surprise attack to be uncontested early on the 4th working day of the year. Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ imbokodo! They said that they’d be back the next day, no doubt with more force, but so far (3:50p.m.) they’ve not returned.

    All of the 3 shacks that were destroyed were built in August. The first shack was built by a man who was born in the settlement. He’d be living in a shack with his mother and 2 siblings but decided to build an a joining shack after his and his partner had their second child. The decision to build for growing families in Arnett Drive followed the break through in the right to expand for growing families (and to accommodate evicted people) achieved by the courageous struggle for the right to expand in Pemary Ridge.

    The second shack had been built by a man who had been renting for some time and was now a full member of the community and able to build his own place.

    The third shack was built by a man who had been living in the settlement for many years with his wife and children but had to build his own shack after he and his wife separated.

    As always people will rebuild. There simply is no other choice.

    The registration number of the City vehicle of the men that carried out the attack on Arnett Drive was NDM 6996. After it left Arnett Drive it went to Pemary Ridge where 2 unoccupied shacks were demolished. One is owned by someone temporarily working elsewhere and the other is owned by a man who has temporarily returned to his parent’s home to be nursed through an illness. The Pemary Ride residents who were in the settlement quickly gathered and confronted the Land Invasions Unit officials who told them that they would not demolish shacks marked with the City’s red X (that means that a shack is to be demolished) unless it is unoccupied. As far from ideal as this is it is a significant step forward. After many years of not expansion been allowed at all the right for settlements to expand to accommodate growing families has been won.

    Click here for pictures of the aftermath of the demolitions.

    Emailed comment from Zandile Nsibande

    I’m really surprised about the Arnett Drive eviction, because we had a meeting with the MUNICIPALITY where we agreed with them that they won’t demolish any shack without notifying ABM officials. Its an insult to us as ABAHLALI BASEMJONDOLO, THEY DON’T RECOGNISE US AS HUMAN BEINGS THEY’RE TREATING US LIKE DOGS. If we can think carefully about what is happening in NAIROBI, the Shack dwellers are being brutalised by the police because the RICH ARE ALWAYS OPPRESSING THE POOR. We won’t allow the liars to do what they like to our innocent people, we are sick and tired. “PHAMBILI NOMZABALAZO WABAHLALI PHAMBILI”, “PHAMBILI AEC PHAMBILI”, “DOWN WITH THE OPPRESSORS DOWN”,”AMMANDLA AWETHU”.

    City return to Motala today

    In Arnett Dr. the City had visited the settlement the day before the attack. They said nothing about the purpose of their visit and just said that they were there to ‘see’. Today the same thing happened at Motala. Two cars arrived (NDM 6904 and NDM 8992). When Louisa Motha asked them what they were doing there they replied ‘just having a look’ and then added that people should accept relocation and not demand to be able to ‘continue living like animals’.

    EMERGENCY PRESS RELEASE: Criminal Attack on shack settlement in Reservoir Hills
    17 January 2007

    The Arnett Drive Settlement has been in Reservoir Hills since 1972. Some of the people living there came there after being evicted from Cato Manor in 1959 and then Newlands in 1971. They know about evictions and the struggle for the right to this city. Today they are under attack by the eThekwini Municipality that has its notorious Land Invasions Unit demolishing shacks. This attack is completely illegal (there is no court order, there was no warning, no documentation has been handed over etc, etc) and under the law it is not just illegal but criminal. If the rule of law is to be followed the Municipal official who gave the order for this attack should be arrested immediately.

    Most residents are away at work and are only now rushing home to try and defend their homes or, if it is too late, to try and rescue what ever possessions may have survived the demolitions.

    Abahlali from other settlements and a lawyer from the LRC are on the way too.

    Arnett Drive residents Nosipho Mtshali (0713965981) and Zama Mhlongo (0794667052) are on the scene and can give comment.

    S’bu Zikode, president of Abahlali baseMjondolo, is on 0835470474. He is currently rushing to Arnett Drive with the laywer.

    For details of previous threats to this settlement click here

    For details of a recent threat to the nearby Shannon Drive settlement click here

    After they were roundly and internationally condemned for an entirely unprovoked and appalling violent police attack on a mass march on Obed Mlaba last year the Municipality offered to re-open negotiations with Abahlali after almost 3 years of sustained and often violent and illegal repression. Abahlali agreed to re-open negotiations if the City would immediately suspend its then current attempt to illegally evict from Shannon Drive. Those evictions were stopped. It was also agree that there would be no evictions from any Abahlali settlement without the movement being formally contacted and advised of the City’s intentions and an opportunity being created for negotiations. On the basis of this a first meeting was held in good faith. But if the City’s first act of 2008 is a criminal attack on an Abahlali settlement it looks like we are unavoidably heading into another year of conflict. Expect mass action across the city, court battles and international mobilisation against illegal evictions, the sickening racism of the Sydenham Police, the crass thuggery of Ricky Govender in Motala Heights and what many are calling attempts to re-segregate the city. Expect international calls for the arrest of City officials responsible for giving orders for illegal and criminal attacks on the poorest citizens of the city. Durban’s shack dwellers resisted attempts to expel them from the city in the 1930s. They resisted in the 1950s. They resisted in the 1980s. They will resist now. The right to the city will be defended. Sutcliffe has struck a rock.