Court re­prieve from evic­tion for shack dwellers


SHACK dwellers’ move­ment Abahlali baseMjon­dolo was yes­ter­day granted an in­ter­dict by the Dur­ban High Court pre­vent­ing the eThek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity from evict­ing peo­ple and de­mol­ish­ing their shacks.

Judge Mo­hini Mood­ley granted the con­sent or­der. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity have un­til Septem­ber 1 to op­pose the in­terim in­ter­dict from be­com­ing fi­nal.

Abahlali pres­i­dent Sbu Zikode said the vic­tory was not only for Abahlali but for all South Africans. “What brings us here is the fail­ure of our own gov­ern­ment, which ex­pects us to know, re­spect and up­hold the law when, in fact, they vi­o­late their laws. We are here to send a mes­sage that the law ap­plies to all of us, in­clud­ing in­sti­tu­tions of gov­ern­ment,” Zikode said.

He said they were rep­re­sent­ing seven com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing Ekuthu­leni in Dassen­hoek, New City in Mar­i­an­nridge, and Polok­wane in Lin­de­lani.

He said the or­der was an in­terim one be­cause the court wanted to give the mu­nic­i­pal­ity a chance to file op­pos­ing court pa­pers and ex­plain why the in­ter­dict should not be made fi­nal. The or­der also al­lows peo­ple whose shacks were de­stroyed by the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to be re­built, with the de­struc­tion af­fect­ing 242 fam­i­lies.

Mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Tozi Mthethwa said the mu­nic­i­pal Land In­va­sion Unit’s main func­tion was to con­trol, mon­i­tor and pre­vent il­le­gal erec­tions or unau­tho­rised build­ing in the mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

“This was in line with the Pre­ven­tion of Il­le­gal Evic­tion (PIE) Act of 1998 and Mu­nic­i­pal Land Pro­tec­tion Pol­icy ... Land in­va­sions halt our ser­vice de­liv­ery plans, as they re­sult in the mush­room­ing of more in­for­mal set­tle­ments,” Mthethwa said. Erad­i­cat­ing in­for­mal set­tle­ments needed to be a joint ef­fort from the pub­lic and all stake­hold­ers, she added.

The or­der is the lat­est clash be­tween the mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the move­ment. Last month, Abahlali marched to the city hall, de­mand­ing an end to Metro Po­lice ha­rass­ment and hous­ing cor­rup­tion. The protests have been vi­o­lent.

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