Durban authorities evicting shack dwellers despite Covid-19 lockdown

3 April 2020 - 7:45am
Press release

PRESS RELEASE: For immediate release, 3 April 2020

Durban authorities illegally evict shack dwellers with army and police despite Covid-19 lockdown

Durban authorities are continuing to evict shack dwellers despite a national Covid-19 lockdown issued by the South African government. The city government have used the police, the army and private security to carry out a series of violent and illegal evictions, leaving people injured and homeless.

The eThekwini Municipality, which governs Durban, started the first round of ‘unlawful’ evictions on 27 March, the first day of the national lockdown, employing private security firm Calvin Security. At least eight homes were demolished in this first wave, with one resident hospitalised, according to the movement of Shack Dwellers (Abahlali baseMondjolo).

The latest round of evictions occurred just yesterday. In this fourth wave of attacks, the municipality employed the police and the army, prompting Abahlali baseMondjolo to state that the eThekwini Municipality government is “using the lockdown to wage a war against our movement”.

The Women's League of Abahlali baseMondjolo said in a statement:

“It has been promised by national government that there will be no evictions during the lockdown. But by day five of the lockdown the eThekwini Municipality had already attacked us, violently, and unlawfully, three times. They destroyed our homes and left many people injured. It is very sad and unjustifiable what they are continuing to do to us as impoverished people. They are undermining us and rendering our rights useless even during this time of darkness, not only in our country but even globally. Is this happening because we are not counted as human?”

Ruth Ogier, Head of International Programmes at War on Want, said:

“These evictions are murderous. Communities living in informal settlements who have faced violent and illegal evictions for years are being targeted, leaving people injured and homeless when they are at their most vulnerable. The national government must step in to stop the evictions immediately.”

UK charity War on Want, an international partner of the movement of Shack Dwellers, has launched a petition to the South African Embassy in London, calling on the National Coronavirus Command Council of South Africa to control the actions of eThekwini Municipality, bringing to an immediate end all evictions.

Photos available on request

Press Contact

TJ Chuah, Communications Officer: tchuah@waronwant.org | 0798 355 0728

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