War on Want calls for an end to violence against South African shack dwellers
War on Want has expressed grave concern over the recent attacks by armed assailants against shack dwellers residing in informal settlements in Durban.
According to reports from Abahlali baseMjondolo, a non-violent community-based advocacy group and a War on Want partner organisation, on 26 September a violent mob of 30-40 men wielding knives and guns broke into the homes of people living in the Kennedy Road settlement. The assailants proceeded to burn and destroy their shacks, many of which belonged to members of the Kennedy Road Development Committee, a group affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo.
An unknown number of people have been killed and seriously injured in the violence, and hundreds of families who fled the scene have lost their homes and possessions. Abahlali baseMjondolo has indicated that local police forces failed to intervene in defence of the shack dwellers. It has also been reported that some local representatives of the ANC supported the attacks.
War on Want is calling for an immediate end to the violence at Kennedy Road. It also demands an immediate investigation into those who instigated the hostilities, as well as into the reports of police failure to defend residents' lives and properties.
We express our solidarity with Abahlali baseMjondolo and all those committed to peaceful, democratic and inclusive community action to improve the living conditions of South Africa's shack dwellers.