Housing graft a cause of violence, commission told
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.
THE WAY IT IS: President of Abahlali baseMjondolo, Sbu Zikode, gives evidence to the Moerane Commission.