Shack dwellers up in arms

23 03 2010

Durban marchers want better service

23 March 2010
Corrinne Louw – Sowetan

There was a tense stand-off between protesters and police when members of the Abahlali baseMjondolo took to the streets of Durban yesterday to demand that the government take action to help the poor and homeless.

ANGRY: Hundreds of shack dwellers protest in Durban yesterday

Shop owners closed their doors when the police tested their water spray trucks and cordoned off roads with a heavily armed police force when the marchers stormed down West Street.

The march by the Abahlali baseMjondolo (shack dwellers association) and Rural Network had to be diverted from the Durban City Hall, with the police and marchers squaring off. Earlier city officials had obtained a court order to prevent protesters from gathering near the city hall. Read the rest of this entry »

AbM: Fire Devastates the Kennedy Road Settlement – At Least One Hundred Homes Destroyed

16 06 2009
16 June 2009
Press Statement from Abahlali baseKennedy

The Red Devil Must be Defeated

Today is the 16 June, Youth Day, the anniversary of the 1976 Soweto Uprising. In Johannesburg and Cape Town our comrades are struggling for the people to take this day back from the politicians.

Here at the Kennedy Road settlement we are burning, again. At about 1:30 last night a fire started after a paraffin stove was left unattended while a couple argued. Before it was put out around 100 shacks had burnt. At least 300 people have been left homeless. One woman has been very badly injured and has, only just now, been taken to hospital. Read the rest of this entry »

Mercury: Governments may change but things stay the same for shack dwellers

17 02 2009
February 17, 2009 Edition 1
NTOKOZO MFUSI from the Mercury

WHEN it rains, as it did last week, the residents of the KwaMancinza shack settlement scurry around with buckets to catch the water leaking through the gaps in their tin roofs. Read the rest of this entry »

Police fire rubber bullets at protesters

10 02 2009
February 10 2009 at 06:26AM
By Ntokozo Mfusi
Source: The Mercury

The police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters barricading a bus depot at Ntuzuma, north of Durban, on Monday.

Residents of Kwamancinza, an informal settlement near Ntuzuma, were protesting against the eThekwini Municipality’s failure to provide them with housing and sanitation, and for a school to be built in the area. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Forced removals

29 01 2009
January 29, 2009 Edition 1
Kerry Chance, Marie Huchzermeyer and Mark Hunter
Source: The Mercury

REJECTION of transit camps and contestations around “adequate housing” are central to urban livelihoods.

Tomorrow the Durban High Court will rule on whether residents of Siyanda shack settlement near KwaMashu will be forcefully moved into a “transit camp” to make way for a new road.

This is a matter of life-changing importance to the 50 households facing removal.

But the way the court defines “adequate alternative accommodation” is of much wider significance.

Siyanda residents argue that the tiny masonite-and-tin structures of the transit camp are not adequate alternative accommodation, as required by the law.

They demand a clear assurance of permanent housing, or to be allowed to rebuild their larger shacks – some comprising five rooms – on land near Siyanda.

For the government, the alternative accommodation is “formal” and thus, by definition, acceptable.

This conflict cuts to the heart of the nature of housing after apartheid. After a slow start, more than two million houses have now been built.

At the same time, the reconstruction and development programme houses are usually tiny two-roomed structures, are often constructed poorly and are usually built on the outskirts of towns.

Their living space is typically a meagre 30m2.

Yet the Richmond Farm transit camp to where the authorities want to move the Siyanda residents contains structures that are only around 20m2. Read the rest of this entry »

Solidarity: The Slums Act Judgment in the Durban Hight Court Today

27 01 2009
Durban High Court, 27 January 2009

Case no. 1874/08 Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA.

Abahlali baseMjondolo have been to the Durban High Court this morning to hear the judgment being handed dawn by the KwaZulu-Natal President, Judge Vuka Shabalala. On the 6 November 2008 the Movement had applied to the Durban High Court for the KwaZulu- Natal Elimination and Prevention of Re-Emergence of Slums Act 2007 to be declared unconstitutional. Full details of the Act, and the reasons for our opposition to it, and can be found on the Movement’s website at

The Judge President had decided that the judgment would be handed down today at 9:30 am; however the judge did not come himself and sent another judge to give his judgment. Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Rejecting outsiders

17 01 2009

The authorities are wrong to deny that the recent attacks on foreigners in Durban were xenophobic. Rather, they should be trying to find ways to fight this disease

January 14, 2009 Edition 1
Imraan Buccus
Source: The Mercury

IMAGINE if, in 2009, an armed white mob chanting racist slogans stormed a building known to house mostly black people and proceeded to hurl people to their deaths. Read the rest of this entry »

AbM: Agreement on Negotiations, Court Date Set Down for 27 January

13 01 2009

Monday, 12 January 2009
Siyanda Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Release

Bheki Cele Seeks the Forced Eviction of 50 Families
- Agreement on Negotiations
- Court Battle Set Down for 27th January 2009

Report back from court at Siyanda shack settlement, noon, 9 January 2009

On 19 December 2008 Bheki Cele, MEC for Transport in KwaZulu-Natal, had the sheriff serve an application to evict 50 families from the Siyanda shack settlement, which lies between Newlands East and KwaMashu. Abahlali baseMjondolo is the 51st respondent to the application. The court date was set down for Friday 9 January 2009. Abahlali baseMjondolo attended court and was represented, pro bono, by Advocate Juliet Nicholson. Advocate Nicholson was briefed by Elco Geldenhuis from Shanta Reddy Attorneys. Read the rest of this entry »

AbM: Post Annual General Meeting Speech by S’bu Zikode

16 12 2008
14 December 2008
Post Annual General Meeting Speech by S’bu Zikode
Delivered to Abahlali baseMjondolo at the Blue Lagoon, Durban

AEC Note: S’bu Zikode had originally declined to stand for re-election as president of the movement. After all of the more than 200 delegates at the AGM unanimously voted in a secret ballot for his return to that position, S’bu took a few weeks to reconsider his decision. S’bu delivered the following speech to Abahlali in which he accepted the position for one more year.


Comrades, as you all know we have come from a very unique AGM of our beloved Movement, a Movement whose unique strength has enabled so many shack dwellers to stand together and to be very strong in defending and protecting ourselves, our communities and our right to the cities.

Our 2008 AGM held in the Kennedy Road Hall on 23 November was as successful as all the others that we have held since the launch of our movement in October 2005. Our movement is still growing and all of our branches and affiliated settlements elected their representatives and the hall at Kennedy Road was overflowing. Everyone was free to say what ever they wanted to say. The voting went well and it was wonderful to have our comrades from the Poor People’s Alliance with us. But, as you all know, I took a decision not to stand for another term. As I explained my intention was always to remain strongly committed to the movement but it seemed clear to me that all positions at all levels of leadership in our movement need to be shared, that the burden of leadership in a movement of volunteers needs to be shared, that I need time for my family and to be able to read and to think about what we have achieved with our living politic – a politic that was always based on us thinking carefully about our lives and our struggles. We have to change ourselves before we can change the world and, without time to think, that change becomes difficult.
Read the rest of this entry »

Media: Dumpsite pickers protest

15 12 2008
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. Read the rest of this entry »


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