Protesters close down Durban roads
Amanda Khoza, News24
Durban – Public order police have been deployed to the Kennedy Road informal settlement in Durban on Monday after protesters blocked roads and burnt tyres.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said the community took to the streets demanding housing after their shacks were destroyed by fire last week.
Chacklas Hadebe, 42, who has been living in Kennedy Road for 18 years, said the community blocked roads in Umgeni and Springfield.
"During the last elections, the municipality… employed 10 people who were going to be involved in a housing project. The project commenced on Duduma Road and the community received a tractor, which only worked for one week," Hadebe said.
The project was stopped after claims by some groups that they were building on land where their ancestors were buried.
"Authorities came to us in April and told us that the project would commence again. Two weeks ago we had a community meeting where we discussed the housing issue. We sent people to the [municipality] and there was no response."
Hadebe said on Sunday city officials had given the project the green light.
"But they were not specific about when the project would start again. We want the truth. We have waited for 20 years and we voted for the ANC and they have not delivered," said Hadebe.
Hadebe said the officials called the police to escort them out of the community hall.
"We were surprised that they would call the police on us, when all we wanted were answers."
Shack dwellers' movement Abahlali Basemjondolo president Sbu Zikode said eThekwini Municipality’s Human Settlement department had a history of "lying to the community".
"[On Sunday] they came to renew those lies. We are not sure if they came because the elections are around the corner," Zikode said.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Tozi Mthethwa was not immediately available for comment.