PICS: Umlazi protests flare up after shacks demolished
Durban - Disgruntled residents blocked Prince Mcwayizeni Drive, which separates Isipingo and uMlazi, with burning tyres after shacks were demolished on Wednesday.
Durban Metro Police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said the land invasion unit and eThekwini Municipality had demolished illegally built shacks in the vicinity which caused discontent on Tuesday.
Their anger spilled over on Wednesday morning when residents barricaded the road and set alight debris.
Sewpersad said the SAPS and Durban Metro police public order units were called in to disperse the residents and open up the road to traffic.
"Water meters were damaged outside a place called Jeena's. We are also investigating if the protesters were using live ammunition,"he said.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said that at 6am a group of people blockaded Mcwayizeni Road with tyres and stones.
"The road has been cleared and members are monitoring the situation,"Mbele said.
In October 2019, protesters said they were tired of empty promises, adding that they had been waiting for houses for 11 years.
They had a meeting held by eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda, the chairperson of the Human Settlement and Infrastructure committee, Thanduxolo Sabela, city manager Sipho Nzuza and the residents of Isipingo Transit Camp, Uganda and Pilgrim X informal settlements in Isipingo.
Ayanda Mnguni, the general secretary of shack-dwellers’ movement Abahlali baseMjondolo, said residents had been evicted by the municipality and relocated to transit camps in Isipingo in 2009.
“People were promised they would be provided with houses within 18 months. The municipality met with us on Sunday, but the residents were not happy about the response,” Mnguni said. He said the community believed that the municipality had failed to deliver on its housing promise.
“It has been 11 years now that the municipality has been promising houses, and they are living in fear because it’s summer and the rains and flooding are coming.
Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela confirmed that the city had prioritised the delivery of housing for residents who had been pre-screened and registered.
“Delays are due to a lack of funding and a legislative process that need to be complied with,” Mayisela said. “The municipality reiterates that everything is being done to ensure the delivery of houses for those who are affected. We call on these communities to continue to engage with the city.”