Abahlali baseMjondolo protesters marched to Durban City Hall last month. Picture: Bongani Mbatha

At least 14 people were injured and two others arrested this morning when members of Abahlali baseMjondolo in ward 31, Sydenham, embarked on a protest.

The two arrested people are expected to appear in court today.  

They are said to have been angered by the failure of the municipality to respond to their demands handed to the office of the mayor during a march to City Hall on the June 26. They had given the city seven days to respond, and the deadline expired yesterday.

They had demanded an investigation into housing corruption and the end to Metro Police “harassing” them.

“The deadline for the response was yesterday and there  had been no response, the people then decided to protest early this morning,” said a community member.

“The police responded with violence, shooting at people. They said they had fired rubber bullets but we saw shells (of live ammunition). Some of the people are seriously injured, they are bleeding and have serious wounds to their legs,” he said.

In a statement, the leaders of the group said they felt they were under attack because of their challenge to the Ethekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede.

“The response has been brutal. Fourteen activists have been seriously injured and are currently in King Dinizulu Hospital. At least four activists from George Hill, in Sydenham, have been arrested and are being detained at the Sydenham police station. One of the arrested comrades is also seriously injured,” said the statement.

“We presented ourselves, in our thousands, to the political leadership in the city and the province to demand that that they engage us democratically. They have refused and have instead chosen to send out the police. We are under serious attack,”said the statement.

Mthunzi Gumede, the spokesperson for Mayor Zandile Gumede, said the mayor was still engaging with the memorandum and would respond in due time.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane said about 100 residents from Lacy road informal settlement blockaded Stanley Copley and Randles road intersection with burning tyres. Two  suspects were arrested for public violence. The situation is calm at the moment.
In another protest, in  the Mariannhill area, Captain Nqobile Gwala said they were investigating a case of public violence This morning  Itshelemnyama community members embarked on a protest action blockading the road with burning tyres and stones complaining about services delivery The situation is calm at the moment. - The Mercury