South Africa, May 28: Reblocking in Vusimuzi in Tembisa south has been imposed on many people in an undemocratic, top down, illegal and threatening way. It has caused serious divisions in the community, and significant losses and suffering to those whose homes have been destroyed or damaged. However, despite sustained resistance over many months the local councillor, Hendrik Selwana, is determined to push ahead with the reblocking. People have been told that those who accept reblocking will get electricity and this has been used to divide people.
Submitted to Enough 14.
Before the government was destroying people’s homes. Now those who are now for reblocking are being asked to demolish the homes of those who are against reblocking so that people in the community can do the government’s dirty work.
On Friday 17 May Cllr Selwana called a meeting to tell people that reblocking is coming back to eSteneni and Mangosuthu 1. Abahlali baseMjondolo members were not told about the meeting. However they found out about the meeting. People sent by the councillor said that Abahlali members will be moved by force. We called the councillor and he said that he had not asked his people to say this and that he would talk to them. However they continued to threaten us.
On Monday 20 May a mob came to Mr Sithole’s home and said that they were told to come and demolish his home. Abahlali members rushed there in their numbers to stop the demolition. The police arrived and the attempt to demolish the home was stopped.
On Wednesday 22 May the mob returned to Mr Sithole’s home. This time they came with a car that they wanted to use to force open a road. They insulted Mr Sithole but he and his home were again protected by Abahlali members.
On Sunday 26 May the mob went to Mrs Mbatha’s house in Mangosuthu 1 and threatened to demolish her house. She said that she cannot accept that her house should be destroyed and she was threatened. She was told that her house would be burnt when she was at work. On Monday 27 May the mob returned and demolished her home.
Abahlali members went to the police station to report this illegal destruction of a person’s home but the police refused to open a case and told them that they must go the councillor. The station commander is the councillor’s homeboy. However Abahlali members went back to the station, protested, and eventually forced the police to open a case.
This evening, just after the sun went down, the mob returned to the remains of Mrs Mbatha’s home and removed the foundations. They promised to return tomorrow and install someone else on the site of what used to be her home.
We call for an immediate end to this top down form of development, and the illegality, and the threats and intimidation that have come with it. It is outrageous that a councillor can mobilise his supporters to brazenly destroy people’s homes. As a movement we stand for participatory and democratic forms of development.
Abahlali baseMjondolo, May 28, 2019.
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