eThekwini to shack dwellers: charge us over 'violent and criminal attack'

Abahlali baseMjondolo members at Durban City Hall. File photo.
Abahlali baseMjondolo members at Durban City Hall. File photo.

The eThekwini municipality has challenged Abahlali Basemjondolo to lay charges of abuse after allegations by the civic body that the municipality had violently removed people from an informal settlement in Cato Manor. 

In a statement on Tuesday, the shack dwellers' movement alleged that the municipality had “launched a violent, criminal attack” on residents of eKhenana Occupation in Cato Manor, which is protected by a court interdict that was issued on April 24.

“Today the occupation was attacked by the metro police, the anti-land invasion unit and Calvin & Family Security. They destroyed 13 homes and stole building materials. They also stole people’s personal property, money and lots of cellphones. Two people were seriously injured in the attack and are now in King Edward Hospital,” the organisation alleged. 

The municipality hit back, saying that when preventing land invasions it acted within the ambit of the law and that it would never just target 13 shacks while providing infrastructure to 500 shacks in the city. 

“Those levelling these allegations are free to open cases in their respective police stations. If they have got evidence of wrongdoing, the city will co-operate with law enforcement agencies if these allegations are investigated,” said the city in response to a query sent by TimesLIVE. 

“We would like to state categorically that the city will at all times fight land invasion where it rears its ugly head,” the municipality said. 

According to Abahlali, the settlement has been targeted by the municipality for years. 

“The ANC has waged an all-out war on this occupation. There have been regular armed attacks, all illegal, by the city since 2008,” it said.

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