Outrage over desecration of temple

SHEMBE worshippers living in the Motala Heights Informal Settlement in Pinetown, just outside Durban, are furious at the demolition of their temple

Lindokuhle Magwaza, of the Motala Heights Shembe congregation, said their temple had been a place of worship for the past 13 years and that destroying this sacred ground was a devastating act for the religious residents of the community.

Residents of the Motala Heights Informal Settlement, which is affiliated to Abahlali BasemJondolo, said in a statement that they were fearful that the temple demolition would lead to their homes also being destroyed.

The residents claim that the demolition has left them with broken water and drainage pipes and cut off electricity connections.

Shamita Naidoo, chairperson of the Motala Heights B branch that lies adjacent to destroyed Shembe Temple, said Hindu worshippers were successful in stopping the demolition of a Hindu Temple in Mariannhill last year.

"Logie Naidoo (Durban's deputy mayor) said that there can be no demolition of any religious building unless it is neglected," Shamita said.

"That Temple was then saved from demolition. The Shembe Temple is sacred ground for the Shembe congregation and it must also be saved."

The residents allege that the demolition was orchestrated by land owner Ricky Govender, who locked horns with Motala Heights residents amid claims of intimidation and harassment.

In 2008 three residents from Motala Heights were granted an order in the Durban high court against Govender, instructing his employees or relatives to refrain from threatening or assaulting them.

The Shembe worshippers said they would be taking the matter to the elders of the church.

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