Mzumeni Ngidi relocating his belonging to his Ndwedwe homestead as they have been asked to vacate the area so that proper infrastructure and low cost housing can be built there. Picture: Shelley Kjonstad

Violence erupted at the Cato Crest informal settlement in Durban early on Sunday after residents were ordered to vacate their homes to make way for new low-cost housing.

The DA says the evictions are illegal and are being challenged. The party has opened cases of illegal eviction at the Cato manor police station.

DA proportional representational councillor Hlanganani Gumbi and party leaders, including MP Dianne Kohler Barnard, visited the area on Sunday.

Gumbi said his party had told residents that the eviction notice was issued by the ANC instead of the municipality. He said the eviction was illegal because it had not been authorised by a court.

Residents said they had been told to remove their goods because tractors would demolish the shacks on Monday.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said a case of illegal eviction had been opened at the Cato Manor police station by the DA.

Gumbi said he had to intervene when residents toyi-toyied and blocked roads after midnight. Irate residents also barricaded roads with burning tyres.

However, many residents were seen removing belongings and demolishing their shacks. They believed that the eviction was a temporary measure and was for their own benefit.

Others, who admitted to being supporters and members of the DA, refused to comply and said the eviction was illegal and they would not move until they were given alternative accommodation.

The DA chairwoman in the area, Mpume Dlamini, told residents that if they agreed to move they would never be allowed to return and their houses would be sold to other people.

“We have previously seen people’s houses being sold. This happened in the newly built low-cost houses three times last year and police refused to open cases against people who were selling the houses,” said Dlamini.

Welcome Mpungose, who is a member of the ANC and also a member of the local community development committee, said they were working with local ward councillor Mzi Ngiba to clear the area to make way for about 2 000 new houses.

“We are not doing this under the name of the ANC, but we are the development committee. We want better houses to be built for people in this area. The houses cannot be built if there is no vacant land.

“I will also demolish my seven-room shack,” he said.

Ngiba confirmed that excavators would be used to demolish the shacks on Monday. He said local residents had agreed to comply by removing their shacks.

“The DA is angry to see that we are delivering services. They hate the fact that we are working hard to get rid of shacks,” he said. - The Mercury