Evicted shack dwellers now falling sick

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

For the past two months shack dwellers from Ekupholeni informal settlement, outside Chatsworth, have been forced to live in the open veld after their shacks were demolished by the eThekwini municipality.

In June the municipality demolished 28 shacks, leaving close to hundred people without shelter.

They staged several protests demanding better houses and three weeks ago were promised a response from the municipality.

When Sowetan visited the area on Monday, most residents were sleeping in the open veld. Many, including children, were coughing and sick.

There are no toilets or electricity. A single tap was installed a few weeks ago.

Some of the people were using cardboard and pieces of material as makeshift roofs.

Sibongile Ngcobo said she had been coughing for the past two months because of her living conditions.

"When I went to a nearby clinic, I was told I would never stop coughing unless I found a better place to stay, " she said.

Falakhe Mhlongo, a spokesman for the shack dwellers, said they had " waited for too long for the response, and it was time for action".

Mhlongo said all they wanted were better living conditions as promised by the ANC.

Residents threatened to chase Minority Front's ward councillor, Paris Singh and ANC's councillor, Nokuthula Makhanya, out of office because they were "useless".

They said the two had turned the plight of the poor into a political fight.

"When we went to Singh, he told us to go to the ANC. But Makhanya said there was nothing she could do because it was Singh's ward. Now we don't know where to go," he said.

Singh said there was nothing they could do until the Durban high court made a ruling on the existing eviction order.