Shack dwellers demand houses

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Disgruntled shack dwellers and members of the South African Shack Dwellers Organisation have accused the eThekwini municipality of failing to build them proper houses.

They also accuse mayor Obed Mlaba of turning his back on them and have threatened not to vote in future elections.

About 500 angry protesters from Crossmoor, eKupholeni, uMlazi, Tongaat, and KwaDukuza demonstrated outside the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Convention Centre on Friday. They protested their exclusion from the housing conference taking place inside. Though the conference had been organised by the provincial housing department, they felt that as a stakeholder, eThekwini municipality should have invited their leaders to participate.

Falakhe Mhlongo, leader of the eKupholeni informal settlement which was bulldozed recently under the Slums Act, said it was clear that Mlaba and his municipality intended driving them out of the city by not providing them with alternative accommodation. The municipality has sent the controversial Red Ants - demolishers - to destroy illegal shacklands in the area since June.

Nigel Gumede, head of housing in the eThekwini municipality, said they were waiting for a court order so that they could evict and bulldoze any illegal shacks because they hinder them from providing proper houses.