Daily Maverick

Durban shack dwellers close roads in service delivery protest

KwaZulu-Natal police have advised motorists to use alternative routes, as Bellair Road and Jan Smuts Highway in Cato Crest, Mayville, Durban were still closed following a protest on Monday morning.

Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele told News24 that about 200 protesters had blockaded roads around the area with burning tyres and tree logs from as early as 05:00.

“There are no damages to property that have been reported as yet,” said Mbhele.

Police were still at the scene to stabilise the situation, added Mbhele.

Abahlali baseMjondolo’s provincial executive committee member Blessing Nyuswa told News24 that the protesters were shack dwellers from the Cato Crest informal settlements.

She confirmed that the protesters were members of Abahlali, a movement which represents shack dwellers.

“They were complaining about lack of water, electricity, proper toilets and housing in their area. People are dying there of illegal connections,” she said.

Nyuswa accused the eThekwini municipality of making empty promises.

“The municipality keeps saying that it would get back to people in the next seven days. People are tired. They said the same thing at a protest in Bambayi in Inanda last week,” she said.

She said they had handed over their memorandum of grievances to the municipality.

“After they gave their memorandum to a municipal official, police used a water cannon to disperse our members. They have now gone back to their homes to come up with plan B,” Nyuswa said.

She claimed that they’ve heard that the municipality had no budget to deliver essential services in the area. DM

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