Six more families were left homeless early this morning in Mpola, Marianhill, when a demolition crew took pangas to their homes. The demolition crew said they had been authorized by the notorious Ward 15 councillor, Derek Dimba. Backing the crew was 11 eThekwini Municipality security officers, all armed with guns.
The crew and security went door-to-door instructing people to remove their belongings and leave their homes immediately. Some of those targeted were shack-dwellers; others were living in stone-and-mortar houses.
An elderly woman was praying inside her shack, when the crew banged on the door. They said that the councillor previously gave her orders to report to him about any new shacks that were being built in Mpola. They said she was not following orders, and that is why her shack would be demolished. They took pangas to her home. Now, she and the 8-year old child living with her are homeless in the bush. They have nowhere else to go.
Some families were already at school or at work when the demolition crew arrived at 9am. The crew broke the locks, removed some of the belongings, and demolished their homes. These families will return from school or work to find their belongings aside piles of rubble. They will return to find that they no longer have shelter for the night.
The crew also destroyed their building materials – tin sheets were systematically slashed with holes, so that rebuilding would be impossible.
Three other families were left homeless in demolitions that took place last week in Mpola, and the illegal evictions are expected to continue with impunity. Demolitions there have been ongoing for months.
The demolition crew and the security officers, the councillor and the municipality, are breaking the law. These evictions are criminal acts. They took place without notice or consultation, without a court order, and without providing alternative accommodation.
The community of Mpola held a mass march last month on 28 August 2009, to air their grievances and submitted a memorandum to Mayor Mlaba. They were told although the march was well organized and peaceful, but that the city would not respond because the person who read the memorandum and submitted it was not an ANC member.
The community of Mpola wishes to state that they demand an end to illegal demolitions, and want an interdict from the court. They also demand clarification about the reasons the demolitions are taking place, and why people are being left homeless.
Lindy 078 994 0700
Nkanyiso 084 875 2923