‘We’re solely good for votes,’ say Cato Crest households

Residents of Ekhenana have been evicted several times. (GroundUp)

Households who have been evicted from Cato Crest in Durban have cleared area in a close-by forest to construct themselves Ekhanana – a “Place of Hope”.

Although they’ve been evicted a number of occasions they’ve informed GroundUp that they’re ready to “die” for his or her new properties.

The final eviction was on Tuesday and shortly after the land invasion unit had left, the residents rapidly put up their properties once more.

They have been evicted from Cato Crest, the place they’d been renting shacks, as a way to make manner for a brand new highway. In August they arrange dwelling within the forest close by.

In response to the eThekwini municipality, the land belongs to the provincial division of human settlements.

The group lives from hand to mouth, gathering and sharing constructing materials and meals. A central space is a communal cooking space.

One man who calls himself the chef prepares vegetable soup for lunch.

“They kick us out like canines. They do not even recognise us as people. They even destroy the meals we prepare dinner and throw sand all over the place. With out even participating with us they demolish and burn our properties and go away. We’re solely good for votes, nothing extra. We’ve no jobs and no land,” says resident Wiseman Buthelezi.

Buthelezi, 32, says he’ll keep in Ekhanana as a result of he has nowhere else to go.

Zinhle Dlamini, 27, from Richards Bay says they dubbed the place Ekhanana as a result of they’d hoped to search out peace and belonging. She says it’s a place the place misplaced people united to type a group.

‘We’re respectable individuals’

“Every day you reside in concern however you must be robust. I’ve three kids to take care of and I can’t return dwelling to be a burden to my household as a result of they’re additionally struggling. This place is shut to colleges, public roads and a clinic,” says Dlamini.

She makes a residing plaiting hair and is ready to ship some a refund dwelling. She says Ekhanana is a spot the place misplaced and displaced individuals united and fashioned a group.

“We’re all right here as a result of we share one unhappy sentiment – we’re homeless. We’re respectable individuals who could also be seemed down upon as a result of we can’t afford hire and even materials for our shacks. However we assist one another out.

“Even the meals that is being cooked is a results of our unity as a group. We aren’t going anyplace, our finish and starting is correct right here,” she says.

Ward councillor Mkhipheni Ngiba denies any information on the occupation in Cato Crest, although residents say he got here personally with the anti-land invasion unit and the police.

“The councillor got here right here two weeks in the past and demanded that we go away instantly. He was accompanied by the land invasion unit and the police, he witnessed our shacks being burnt to the bottom. He mentioned we had no proper to be right here.

“Teargas and rubber bullets have been shot with out take care of our youngsters. All we ask is for an engagement with them. They need to a minimum of wish to hear what we now have to say,” says 26-year-old Maphiwe Dladla.

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