Cops kick out MK Vets trying to occupy Durban CBD building
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Durban - MEMBERS of the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) who were thrown out of an unused government building in the Durban CBD by the police on Thursday have vowed to return to the building.
The members who attempted to occupy the building say they did so out of desperation following a long wait for what they believe is due to them.
MKMVA KwaZulu-Natal convener Zibuse Cele confirmed that the organisation’s members had been removed from the building, but insisted that this would not deter them.
“We were promised a better life, with jobs, proper housing and medical care but nothing has happened and we just had to act on this,” said Cele.
He added that it pained them that former members of the South African Defence Force, who served under the apartheid government, were living a better life with benefits whereas liberation Struggle combatants were neglected.
“We live in small and overcrowded houses and with Covid-19 and the insistence on social distancing we identified this building for occupation and we don’t believe that we have committed a sin,” Cele stressed.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said the police could not comment on the matter.
“This is a civil matter, kindly contact the concerned parties,” she told The Mercury.
Human Settlements MEC Jomo Sibiya condemned the invasion of the building by the MKMVA members, saying it amounted to lawlessness which should not be tolerated.
He said his department has committed to building 261 houses for military veterans across the province citing areas such as Maphumulo in the north, uMgungundlovu in the KZN Midlands and Savanna Park in Durban where construction was already under way.
The construction of the houses, he added, was a landmark moment as this had not been done before by government.
“Building homes for military veterans is our prioritised programme, we know that this has been delayed over the years. We are having a plan and are busy implementing it,” said Sibiya.
He pointed out that while the efforts of constructing houses were under way there should not be any acts of criminality from the veterans as this would not be allowed by government.
“What happened (at the Durban building) is not what we want to see. We are a country with laws. Lawlessness will not be tolerated, it won’t be accepted, where there is lawlessness the law must take its cause,” the MEC concluded.
In Pietermaritzburg, MKMVA members took over some flats at Aloe Ridge, a Msunduzi Municipality-owned housing project in 2018 and have been occupying the flats since then.