South African shack dwellers' movement Abahlali baseMjondolo report on the illegal eviction of shacks in an occupied settlement by municipal authorities.
Evictions at the Chris Hani (eNsimbini) and Marikana (Cato Crest) Land Occupations
At ten o’clock this morning five shacks were demolished by the Land Invasions Unit in the Chris Hani Land Occupation in eNsimbini. This land was occupied in February last year. The shacks that were demolished are new shacks that were built about two weeks ago by people that were renting nearby and decided to join the occupation to avoid having to pay rent. As usual there was no court order authorising these evictions and they were, therefore, an illegal and criminal act on the part of the eThekwini Municipality. The residents of these new shacks were at work when the eviction happened and so there was no confrontation.
On Wednesday eleven shacks were demolished in the Nqobile section of the Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Crest. These shacks were built in May. This eviction happened as a result of a complaint by a private businessman located near to the occupation.
The Land Invasions Unit came with heavy security. Ndabo Mzimela tried to ask them to show a court order authorising the eviction. He was pointed with a fireman and told that he would be shot if he came any nearer because he was ‘being rude’. There was no court order and these evictions were also illegal and criminal acts on the part of the eThekwini Municipality. As everybody knows three people have been murdered (two by the izinkabi and one by the police) since this land was occupied in May last year.
Corruption continues to run free in the housing project in Cato Crest. On Sunday government flats were being allocated. The CLO was supposed to do this job but instead it was done by the head of the area committee which is also an ANC committee. She allocated three flats to her family members, who are also ANC members. At this point angry residents (who are not members of our movement) stopped the process. This corruption has been going on for years and is at the root of many of the tensions in the area.
At our City Wide Land Summit held in May this year we agreed that no court, political party or government policy will guarantee us land, build our power or give us control over our own lives and communities. It is sometimes important to engage the courts, elections or policy formulation on a tactical basis but the only force that we can rely on is the people’s force which is also known as inkani. The shacks that have been demolished in the Chris Hani and Marikana Land Occupations will be rebuilt with this force. The land will be held with this force.
For as long as the government does not put the social value of land before its commercial value we will continue to occupy land. Land occupations are land reform from below.