News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday September 15th 2019

Marikana squatters’ shacks demolished for the third time

Zoe Zulu, 36, who has a one-month-old son and five-year-old daughter, breaks down in front of impassive Anti-Land Invasion Unit officials as her shack is demolished. Zulu said she has lost all her possesions, including the milk formula for her baby. Police retaliated with rubber bullets and tear gas after residents started stoning them following one resident being arrested for trying to insist on demolishing his shack himself so as to prevent his building materials being damaged by city officials. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

: Zoe Zulu, 36, who has a one-month-old son and five-year-old daughter, breaks down in front of impassive Anti-Land Invasion Unit officials as her shack is demolished. Zulu said she has lost all her possesions, including the milk formula for her baby. Police retaliated with rubber bullets and tear gas after residents started stoning them following one resident being arrested for trying to insist on demolishing his shack himself so as to prevent his building materials being damaged by city officials. Photo: Nombulelo Damba/WCN

01.05.2013

For the third time in two weeks, the City’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit clashed with residents in Marikana informal settlement next to Symphony Way in Philippi East, where 126 shacks were demolished on Wednesday.

Rubber bullets were fired and one person arrested as Marikana residents opposed the demolition of their shacks, which they have re-erecting after having previously seen them demolished.

Anti-Land Invasion Unit spokesperson Stephen Hayward said the city will continue to take down illegal structures in Marikana because, however, residents have vowed not to leave the area until the city provides them alternative accommodation.

The situation got tense yesterday when police arrested a 22-year-old Mzwamadoda Fingo, who wanted take down his shack himself.

When Fingo was taken to a police van residents started accusing the police of taking sides in the protracted struggle for housing. Then when resident Xolani Mswabi was seen being held down by police, residents started throwing stones at the police, resulting in the police retaliating by firing rubber bullets.

Residents said they have nowhere else to go because they are unemployed and cannot afford to pay rent.

Fingo said police refused to let him take down his own shack, which he wanted to do to ensure his building materials were not damaged. When he insisted on doing so two police officers hand cuffed him and took him to the Philippi police station.

Mswabi said he was also trying to retrieve his building materials when a city official pushed him. Mswabi fought back but police officers restrained him before letting him go.

Resident Zoe Zulu, 36, who is a mother of two children, said officials started demolishing her shack while she was still inside feeding her five-year-old daughter.

She said the Anti-Land Invasion Unit officers first asked her for water, which she gave to them, before destroying her house.

When West Cape News, arrived Zulu was carrying her one-month-old son while the five-year-old was crying. She did not know where to go.

“This is very painful. I’ve been renting a shack in Lower Crossroads, paying more than R500 a month. Recently I lost my job, so I could not afford to pay rent, that’s why I decided to build my shack here. It’s not nice living here with a one-month-old child but I do not have a choice,” she said.

Zulu said she did not manage to save anything from her home, all her belongings were inside her shack. She could not even find her child’s milk formula.

“My child will drink water for the whole today, until I find the milk. These people didn’t even care that I have a one month child who is suffering from a chest problem… I can’t wash him because we do not have a house,” said Zulu.

Another resident, Tina Bhawuthi, 27, said she doesn’t know where she’s going to sleep with her three-year-old daughter.

“There’s no other way, I will sleep here in the bushes with my child,” said Bhawuti.

When the Anti-Lland Invasion Unit left the area a group of boys chased them, throwing stones, warning that next time they come to Marikana they will burn their cars.

Residents said they will simply re-build their shacks again, while more than 100 residents marched to Phillip East police station looking for a place to sleep.

On Wednesday afternoon Hayward said the situation is calm at the moment but they will continue to monitor the area. – Nombulelo Damba

 

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