Durban - A Durban magistrate has described service delivery protests in the Cato Manor area as being “total anarchy”.
In granting bail of R5 000 to Abahlali BaseMjondolo general secretary Bandile Mdlalose, 27, from KwaMakhutha, Magistrate Vanitha Armu ordered that she not be allowed in the Cato Manor area until the finalisation of the trial.
Mdlalose was arrested and faces a charge of public violence. It is alleged that on September 30 Mdlalose unlawfully assembled residents who blocked Dumisani Makhaye Road in KwaMashu with debris and burning tyres.
In an affidavit by investing officer, Constable Godfrey Goss, it is alleged that Mdlalose was the leader of the protest and she showed no respect for peaceful protest.
He said that if she were released on bail she could incite another violent protest.
The court heard that Mdlalose was a second-year student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg.
Her role with Abahlali was on volunteer basis and she is unemployed, her lawyer said.
Prosecutor Blackie Swart called for Mdlalose to report to a police station twice a week in order for police to monitor her movement.
“People need to use our roads without the fear of being intimidated.
“Burning tyres in the road and obstructing traffic is absolutely unacceptable. Protests in the Cato Manor area are becoming more violent by the day.”
Swart told the court that there have been 11 cases of public violence in the past seven months.
The matter returns to court later this month.
On Monday morning a number of service delivery protests were held across the city by eight Abahlali BaseMjondolo branches who organised road blockades using branches and burning tyres, including at Clare Estate, Isipingo, Mayville, Shallcross, Siyanda and Umlazi.
This year three people have been killed in Cato Crest, including a 17-year-old. Two people have been shot and survived and a number of others beaten. Evictions have also seen shack dwellers turn repeatedly to the courts for help.
Spokesman and former Abahlali president, S’bu Zikode, said this morning that the protests were a sign that poor people were tired of being lied to by government.
Zikode said the truth was that people were angry.
“We have always warned that their anger will go in some direction and this is it. People are tired of living in hope that is never fulfilled.”
According to Zikode politicians knew why these protests were happening.
“They are the ones who have been promising people houses, but in the end don’t deliver. It’s time people were told the truth,” he said.
Unless government comes up with a genuine proposal that states when the houses will be built, how many there will be and over what period, people will continue to protest.
Zikode called for the evictions to stop, stating that this was the reason why people were becoming so angry.
The arrest of Bandile Mdlalose, general secretary of movement, last week had also angered shack dwellers.
Metro Police Spokesman Senior Superintendent, Eugene Msomi, said that police had dispersed the crowds who had been burning car tyres and rubbish around the city. “These illegal protests were not big and were not very well supported. However police have remained in the areas to keep a close eye on the situation,” he said.
Durban Solid Waste workers were early today already cleaning up the roads that were affected.