Joint Statement on the attacks on the Kennedy Road Informal Settlement in Durban

28 09 2009

28 September 2009 – for more photos click here

We note with concern the reports of the violent attacks on members of the Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement (ABM) in the Kennedy Road informal settlement community in Durban. The attacks were reportedly carried out by persons associated with the local branch of the African National Congress, and were actively supported by officers of the South African Police Service.

We note reports that around 30 ABM members’ houses were demolished by men wielding guns and bush knives, and that their families were rendered homeless. At least three people are reported dead. That total may rise. Hundreds of men women and children are now taking refuge in surrounding undergrowth, under bridges and in neighbours’ homes.

The living room of Sbu Zikodes home after the attack - 28 September

The living room of Sbu Zikode's home after the attack - 28 September

We note, finally, reports that the officers of the Sydenham Police Station were complicit in these attacks, were present at the scene, and did nothing to stop them. It is reported that the police instead detained the victims of the attacks without any lawful cause.

These reports represent a shocking and vicious attack on ABM’s right to exist. ABM is a peaceful, non-racial, ethnically inclusive and internationally respected community-based organisation which works to improve the living conditions of the shack dwellers it represents. ABM rejects violence. It seeks to secure shack dwellers’ rights to participate in government decisions about the delivery of housing and basic services in their local communities.  It seems, regrettably, that ABM’s peaceful efforts to organise and mobilise communities for change and to resist the forced removals from the Kennedy Road settlement threaten powerful local property and political interests. Because of this, it seems, they have been met with violent repression reminiscent of apartheid.

We are particularly shocked by the allegations of police complicity in these attacks.

We call for an immediate halt to the violence. We demand that those members of ABM who have lost their homes be compensated for their loss and be allowed to return peacefully to their land. We demand that the police take action against its perpetrators. We further demand an investigation into the alleged complicity of the Sydenham Police Station and local African National Congress structures in the violence.  We express our solidarity with ABM and all those committed to peaceful, democratic and inclusive community action to improve the living conditions and fulfil the constitutionally enshrined socio-economic rights of South Africa’s poor.


Professor John Dugard SC
Visiting Professor, University of Pretoria; Former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine

Professor Sandy Liebenberg
HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights, University of Stellenbosch

Professor Peter Vale
Nelson Mandela Chair in Politics, Rhodes University

Professor Martin Legassick
Emeritus Professor, University of the Western Cape

Professor Jonathan Klaaren
Professor of Law, University of the Witwatersand

Professor Michael Neocosmos
Honorary Professor in Global Movements, Monash University, Australia and South Africa

Professor Marie Huchzermeyer
Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand

Professor Danwood Chirwa
Associate Professor of Law and Head of the Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town

Dr. Jackie Dugard
Senior Researcher, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

Dr. Steven Friedman
Director, Centre for Democracy, University of Johannesburg

Dr. Dale McKinley
Anti-Privatisation Forum

Tshepo Madlingozi
University of Pretoria

Toussaint Losier
University of Chicago, United States of America

Adv. Kirsty Mclean
Visiting Senior Fellow, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand
Member of the Johannesburg Bar

Adv. Stuart Wilson
Visiting Senior Research Fellow, University of the Witwatersrand Law School

Deeksha Bhana
Senior Lecturer in Law, University of the Witwatersrand

Muriel Mushariwa
Lecturer in Law, University of the Witwatersrand

Kate Tissington
Researcher, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

Shereen Mills
Researcher, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

Julia Grey
Researcher, Centre for Applied Legal Studies, University of the Witwatersrand

Stephen Greenberg
Independent Researcher

Lauren Royston
Development Works, Johannesburg

Dr. Pedro Tabensky
Department of Philosphy, Rhodes University

Richard Kuper
Friends of Workers’ Education in South Africa, London

Sally Matthews

Jenny Morgan
London, United Kingdom

Kalinca Copello
University of Sussex

Clio Pauly
Bristol, United Kingdom

David Hemson
Research Director, Human Sciences Research Council, Durban (in his private capacity)

Simona Sawhney
University of Minnesota, United States of America

Dr. Henrike Donner
London School of Economics and Political Science

Wendy Willems
International Programmes Research Officer
War on Want




One response

29 09 2009
Shack Dwellers Attacked – People Have Been Killed « The Czech

[…] Read this amazing solidarity letter. […]

%d bloggers like this: