Despite assurances that the planned illegal evictions in Cato Crest had been stopped, late this afternoon residents were surprised when 5 dwellings were destroyed in what would appear to be a politically motivated action.
Today at 3pm the DA’s councillor in Cato Crest Hlanganani Gumbi and DA Spokesperson on Housing Cllr Warwick Chapman met with Mayor James Nxumalo to discuss the illegal threats of evictions in Cato Crest by the ward councillor and ANC Branch Executive Committee in the area. While the meeting was taking place, unknown to the DA or the Mayor, earthmoving machinery demolished 5 dwellings in Cato Crest.
Mayor Nxumalo and Chairperson for Human Settlements Cllr Nigel Gumede both unequivocally stated the evictions must be lawful and alternate accommodation must be provided. Mayor Nxumalo requested that the DA compile a formal complaint and submit it to the Muncipal Manager Mr Sbu Sithole as soon as possible and forward a copy to his office. He assured the DA that an investigation would take place from the City Manager’s office into how it is that a political structure of the ANC could be handling evictions and demolitions in Cato Crest.
The demolitions which were taking while the meeting was being held were undertaken under the supervision of the ward councillor’s assistant who is said by community members to have told them that, “We are coming here to show you that you must move”, and after demolishing the structures said, “Now you can call your DA.”
Cllr Gumbi, took affected residents to Cato Manor SAPS to lay charges relating to the demolition of their structures and destruction of property, however SAPS declined to open any cases. “We were told not to open new cases but instead to meet with the investigating officer Tuesday morning to include these charges in the existing case”, said Cllr Gumbi.
Cllr Gumbi has spend the better part of 48 hours working with community members to stop this illegal action. The SAPS have been extremely reluctant to enforce the law and prevent these illegal evictions. Only after senior MPs and MPLs intervened was any assistance from SAPS forthcoming. At the demolitions which took place today, SAPS did not respond.
The DA reiterates its full support for the eradication of shack settlements and the provision of formal housing in eThekwini. We however require that each step in the process of converting shack settlements into formal housing are undertaken lawfully and with respect for the dignity of those affected as a result. “We condemn the direct involvement of political structures in the work of our City government and cite it as a blatant example of the conflation of party and state”, said Cllr Chapman.
“We call on Mayor Nxumalo and City Manager Sbu Sithole to intervene as a matter of urgency and stop any further illegal action. SAPS also need to ensure they enforce the law without favour.”, said Cllr Gumbi.
Gumbi 076 288 8844
Chapman 083 7797 094