Police to probe Cato Crest attacks

2013-09-26 00:00

POLICE have been asked to investigate the shootings and violent attacks that took place between Cato Crest shack dwellers and the municipality’s land invasion unit this past weekend.

According to yesterday’s media reports, there was a stand-off between the unit and Cato Crest residents during the demolition of informal structures, which resulted in violent outbreaks and the hospitalisation of three protesters and a municipal official.

DA eThekwini councillor Hlanganani Gumbi said in a statement relations between the unit and the shack dwellers have been frosty for years. “The city can no longer afford anymore casualties because of this matter and something needs to be done.

“The DA will therefore be engaging with the force to not only investigate the latest incident, but to also help devise ways to curb future violence in this area as the municipality is failing in this regard.”

Tensions threatened to boil over in Cato Crest last week after municipal officials tried unsuccessfully to implement a court order compelling them to identify shacks that were not allowed to be destroyed.

The officials found themselves at the centre of a confrontation between home owners and shack dwellers.

The Witness reported earlier that the Durban high court granted informal settlers a fifth court interdict preventing the eThekwini Municipality from demolishing their homes.

The court instructed the city’s legal team and officials to accompany the shack dwellers and to identify and mark the 31 shacks protected by the orders.

However, the process was stalled after home owners started protesting, saying that they were concerned the shack dwellers would get access to housing before them. Police, who accompanied the municipality’s land invasions unit at the time, urged them to leave as the situation was unsafe. At one stage more than 200 people faced off with just a few metres between them.

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