Hous­ing graft a cause of vi­o­lence, com­mis­sion told

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - BHEKI MBAN­JWA

COR­RUP­TION in the al­lo­ca­tion of houses in eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal­ity has been iden­ti­fied as one of the causes of po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence.

The pres­i­dent of Abahlali baseMjon­dolo, Sbu Zikode, said some of the killings and vi­o­lence di­rected at mem­bers of the shack dwellers’ move­ment were clearly the re­sult of the de­serv­ing be­ing over­looked in favour of po­lit­i­cally con­nected re­cip­i­ents.

Zikode was tes­ti­fy­ing yes­ter­day at the Mo­er­ane Com­mis­sion of In­quiry, which is prob­ing po­lit­i­cal vi­o­lence in KwaZulu-Natal.

At least five mem­bers of Abahlali have been killed since 2013, he said, adding that these mur­ders were po­lit­i­cally re­lated.

In one in­stance, in Septem­ber 2014, Thuli Ndlovu, an Abahlali ac­tivist in KwaN­dengezi, was killed in a hit or­dered by ANC coun­cil­lors Mduduzi Ng­cobo and Velile Lut­sheku. Both have been sen­tenced to life for mur­der.

Zikode said solv­ing the prob­lem would re­quire gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties en­gag­ing with the peo­ple liv­ing in in­for­mal set­tle­ments.

“The killing of Abahlali is not the so­lu­tion. Buy­ing Casspirs will not solve prob­lems,” he said in ref­er­ence to the four Casspirs re­cently bought by the eThek­wini mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Mo­er­ane said Zikode was not the first per­son to raise the is­sue of Casspirs dur­ing the sit­tings. He promised that this mat­ter would be looked into when the com­mis­sion com­piles its re­port.

Zikode also said eThek­wini mayor Zandile Gumede had made many prom­ises that re­mained un­ful­filled.

“At one stage, she said I should com­pile a list of 10 000 peo­ple who were to be given blan­kets, but that never hap­pened. Then she com­mit­ted to im­prove work­ing re­la­tions with Abahlali, but that has never hap­pened.”

Mthunzi Gumede, the mayor’s spokesper­son, said the mayor was still com­mit­ted to work­ing with Abahlali.

“The mayor has not moved an inch from the com­mit­ments she made. In fact, we are wait­ing for an op­por­tu­nity to meet with Abahlali. The blan­kets were de­liv­ered and we have pho­tos to prove that.”

Gumede re­fused to com­ment on in­for­ma­tion pre­sented at the com­mis­sion, say­ing the mayor wel­comed the com­mis­sion, and hoped that it would shed light on some of the causes of the vi­o­lence.

PIC­TURE: SBONELO NG­COBO

THE WAY IT IS: Pres­i­dent of Abahlali baseMjon­dolo, Sbu Zikode, gives ev­i­dence to the Mo­er­ane Com­mis­sion.

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