Shack dwellers in the cold as Durban officials and police demolish their homes
Scores of shack dwellers in Chesterville‚ just west of Durban‚ will be out in the cold on Monday night after the eThekwini Metro police and the city’s Land Invasion Unit demolished a cluster of shacks on land which flanks the N2 highway.
Members of the Unit‚ backed by police officers‚ took hammers and axes to shacks and homes in the valley. Families – seated around piles of furniture - looked on as the makeshift structures were razed.
In an apparent act of retribution‚ shack dwellers attempted unsuccessfully to torch a TimesLIVE vehicle at the scene.
Nkululeko Khanyile‚ who works as a security guard at the nearby Pavilion Shopping Centre‚ had been roused by a friend when the shacks started coming down around him.
“This morning I came home from work so I could sleep and just now my friend came running to me to say I must wakeup‚” he said.
The security guard‚ who is working the night shift‚ said that the Land Invasion Unit usually demolished shacks once a week.
“They come every week and do it because they say the shacks are on land which is owned by the municipality. They just smashed it and they fight with us. Sometimes they even shoot us with rubber bullets‚” he said.
“I need to build my house again today and my boss thinks I’m lying when I say I am going to be late but right now I have nothing and I need to get this done before I leave for work‚” Khanyile added.
Attempts to get comment from the municipality were unsuccessful.