Bonela residents live in fear
Violent invasions cause chaos in cosmopoliton community area
REPEATED land invasions in Bonela, which usually turn violent, has not only left residents living in fear but is also threatening the harmonious relations in the area that has been forged over many years.
The latest violent invasion took place earlier this week when invaders attempted to claim a patch of land earmarked as a playground for children on Blinkbonnie Road.
Three security guards at the site were attacked. The mob hurled stones and other objects at the guards and one of them was stabbed during the invasion. The three men were treated in hospital.
Sifiso Jobe, the general manager of Vela Tech Security Services, the company hired to guard the park, said the three guards had since been discharged from hospital. “We have opened criminal charges.”
Fencing around the park was destroyed and the mob threatened women who were near the park at the time.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant-colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed a case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was opened at Cato Manor police station.
Invasions in Bonela began in August 2017 and 23 informal homes were initially constructed. That number has since swelled beyond 300.
Residents said Bonela had become a target because of its close proximity to Durban’s CBD.
A resident said their homes were perpetually on lockdown because they feared becoming targets of the invaders.
“My family and I decided it’s best to stay indoors and mind our own business. We know the invaders can become rough, we know better than to try and stop them.
“We are praying that the situation can be handled better,” the resident said.
Ward 29 councillor Mveli Mthembu said the invaders were “causing havoc” and targeted people who opposed their moves. “When I approached them and spoke cordially with them about their actions, they later set my office alight, which was badly burnt and they burnt a building at the nearby school.’’
Vinesh Motilal, chairperson of the local community policing forum, said greater police presence was needed to curb the invasions.
“In a year, the number of informal dwellings has risen to more than 300 shacks. Bonela has a long-standing history of good relations between its Indian and African residents in the community.
“We have since learnt that African members of our community are also scared to speak out against these invaders, fearing victimisation,” said Motilal. FOUR monks, a Tibetan herbal doctor and an astrologer have travelled from India to create a Buddhist sand mandala (spiritual geometric design) at the Denis Hurley Centre this week.
The event is a co-operative initiative between the Office of Tibet, the Denis Hurley Centre and Tibet Society of South Africa to of Tibet.
The monks will spend seven days creating the intricate image. The colours are created with naturally coloured sand, gypsum, ochre, sandstone and charcoal.
Visitors can create their own sand mandalas at designated stations.
One of the monks, Geshe Lobsang Dhondup, 38, from Karnataka, said the share the religion and culture sand mandala was more than just art.
“We follow strict rules when we create a sand mandala. After working on it for six to seven days, we dismantle it in a ceremony and place it in the ocean. This reminds us that all art and beauty are not permanent,” he said.
The public can view the creation from tomorrow until next Sunday, 10am to 4pm.