Dear President Jacob Zuma and Mayor James Nxumalo:
We are writing to you to express our grave concern at events unfolding in the Cato Crest shack settlement in Durban. Following the illegal eviction of shack dwellers by the eThekwini Municipality in March this year an adjacent piece of land was occupied. Since then two activists have been assassinated (Thembinkosi Qumbelo & Nkululeko Gwala), a third (Nkosinathi Mngomezulu) is in a critical condition after being shot by the Land Invasions Unit. A number of activists have been seriously beaten by the police. A number of other activists, including Bandile Mdlalose and S’bu Zikode, have been threatened with death.
Moreover as the General Council of the Bar, IM Semenya SC, has noted in an open letter:
"The residents have urgently approached the High Court on no less than five occasions, claiming that their eviction was unlawful. They have obtained three interim court interdicts, restraining the Durban Municipality from evicting them again without a court order, and have subsequently rebuilt their homes. However, on each occasion the Municipality's land invasion unit has returned to the settlement and destroyed the residents' homes once again."
A number of ANC leaders have made dangerous and reprehensible statements that present the people that were illegally driven off their land and had their homes illegally demolished in March as ethnic outsiders who should not be in Durban.
After the assassination of Qumbelo the local councillor’s office was burnt down but this act against property must not be misused to justify murder, violence, destruction of people’s homes and brazen political repression.
There is a well-documented history of illegal and violent repression of grassroots struggles in Durban that has included assassination, torture, driving people from their homes and arresting people on trumped up charges. This has done tremendous damage to democratic credentials of the City administration in Durban and the South African government in general.
We write to inform you that we are watching the situation in Cato Crest very closely and to urge you to move as fast as you can halt the violent attacks on activists and their homes, to fully investigate the assassinations and other incidents of violence and to commit to resolve the tensions in Cato Crest through democratic negotiations rather than the gross intimidation that is currently taking place.
This petition closed about 2 years ago
As an international audience, your support is crucial. In addition to forced evictions, the shack dwellers of Cato Crest in Durban, South Africa, are currently facing state-sponsored violence and...
As an international audience, your support is crucial. In addition to forced evictions, the shack dwellers of Cato Crest in Durban, South Africa, are currently facing state-sponsored violence and intimidation. Two community leaders have been assassinated this year and several others assaulted during a wave of shack demolitions and evictions. Please lend your voices and support to speak out against these attacks.