South African territory: Yesterday afternoon the Durban High Court granted us an interdict against the eThekwini Municipality’s repeated, vicious and illegal attack on residents of eKhenana land occupation in Cato Crest.
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The Abahlali baseMjondolo Khenana branch has suffered violent and illegal evictions from eThekwini Municipality since October last year. The Municipality has repeatedly demolished people’s homes, confiscating and burning their building materials and other belongings. Women and children have suffered the most in the hands of the city that claims to be a caring city.
This is not an isolated case of illegal and violent actions against impoverished people by the Municipality. The Municipality constantly engages in violent and illegal action, including the use of live ammunition against unarmed residents.
In all their evictions they have ignored the law. It is important to note that the City has never at any stage acted within the discipline of the law when it comes to evicting impoverished black people from occupied land. They treat us as if we are beneath the law. Over the years we have won more court interdicts and judgments against them than we can remember.
On the 27 December last year we went to court to seek an order against the ongoing and illegal evictions. However, the matter was adjourned for both parties to file their supplementary affidavits. Both the residents and the Municipality were not supposed to conduct any act of either rebuilding shacks or evicting residents as the matter was sub judice. However, as always, the Municipality acted in full and brazen violation of this. They just continued to burn, confiscate and evict residents.
Yesterday, Wednesday, 13 February we had no choice but to return to court on an urgent basis. The court did not hesitate to see who was the culprit in this matter and quickly granted Abahlali an interdict against the municipality.
The City is now interdicted from evicting 109 families cited in the court papers. The court also instructed officials of the Land Invasion Unit together with Abahlali leaders to convene a joint inspection in order to seek agreement on the demarcation of the site. We have to make note of all the applicants and take pictures of them standing in each of their structures and to file joint minutes in respect of the inspection conducted.
However, this did not work in 2014 in the case of Cato Crest evictions where the local councillor mobilised ANC members to prevent the implementation of the court. They actually threatened our legal team and disorganised everybody making it impossible to implement the court order. It may also be dangerous to try and implement the order now given the approaching election and the well-known and often violent political intolerance in KZN.
We were ordered to return to court on the 19 March 2019.
We wish to welcome this judgement as an important step in holding the City accountable and to protect impoverished black people against the endemic human rights abuses perpetrated against us by eThekwini Municipality.
Abahlali baseMjondolo, February 14, 2019.
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