Abahlali baseMjondolo files court papers over 'illegal evictions' in Cato Crest

High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)
High Court. (Duncan Alfreds, News24, file)

Shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo has filed court papers in the KwaZulu-Natal High Court in Durban on Thursday in an effort to interdict the eThekwini municipality from carrying out what the organisation called "illegal and brutal evictions" in Cato Crest.

The movement's spokesperson Thapelo Mohapi told News24 that the matter was adjourned indefinitely.

"The municipality was granted time to prepare for their responding affidavits," he said.

Mohapi said the municipality had recently targeted the community of eKhenana in Cato Crest.

"In the past six months the notorious anti-land invasion unit, with the support of the eThekwini metro police, has been regularly demolishing and burning down people's homes in the eKhenana land occupation," he said.

More than 46 homes were demolished and three were burnt down by the anti-land invasion unit last Thursday, December 20, according to Mohapi.

Organiser murdered

"There was no court order and this was, therefore, another illegal attack on the occupation. This occupation has not come easy as many people have been injured after being shot with live ammunition by the anti-land invasion unit," he said.

He said "a leader in the protests organised to defend the occupation", Senzo Gumede, was shot and killed by unknown men in a nearby area.

"Senzo was vocal against those who opposed the occupation. He took a leading role in organising the road blockades used to defend the occupation when it was under attack. He had been threatened by the ward councillor in the area and, on a number of occasions, he was also threatened by taxi owners who said that the road blockades were hampering their business," he said.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane confirmed Gumede's murder.

"On 22 December 2018 at about 19:50, a 29-year-old male was allegedly shot and killed by unknown males at Cato Crest. He was found with gunshot wounds to the chest," said Zwane.

A case of murder was opened at Cato Manor police station for investigation, Zwane added.

Msawakhe Mayisela, eThekwini municipality spokesperson, was not immediately available for comment.

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