26 shacks at the Azania land occupation were demolished on June 18 by the police forces. The possessions of the shack dwellers were then set on fire. This is the third attack on the settlement this month. Located at Cato Manor near Durban, this piece of land was occupied in February by the shack dwellers’ movement, known as Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM).
Using scrap materials, Abahlali members had built 110 shacks, walled and roofed with tin sheets, to house the urban poor who are denied access to decent housing.
60 of these were demolished on June 6 when the residents were not present at the site. Even as members were laboring over the following days to rebuild their homes, another attack followed on June 13, in which 70 shacks were razed down. The entire community which was thus rendered homeless was accommodated for the night in a large makeshift structure that was quickly built.
Speaking to People’s Dispatch the following day, an elected member of AbM’s interim national council, Mqapheli George Bonono, had said, “Right now, everybody is busy rebuilding. Some of them have gone out to look for the materials.. These are poor people. They have no money to go to a hardware shop and buy materials. So they search around factories to collect [mostly scrap materials] to rebuild their homes.”
Within new four days, the members managed to rebuild 26 shacks. These were the ones that were destroyed yesterday. “Around one hundred and fifty people will have to sleep in the open tonight,” a statement released by Abahlali soon after the incident read. However, “the comrades will rebuild once again. The land will be held.”