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With Most Coronavirus Cases In Africa, South Africa Locks Down
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City governments maintain that the shacks destroyed throughout anti-land invasion operations are unfinished and unoccupied. But Edward Molopi, a analysis and advocacy officer at SERI, says that this claim is an attempt to flee their authorized obligations to get a court order and to find various accommodation for affected individuals.
“These evictions are dehumanizing people whose dignity is already compromised in many ways,” says S’bu Zikode, the president of Abahlali baseMjondolo, a group group whose Zulu name interprets to “the individuals of the shacks”. While eThekwini claims to be a caring metropolis, local activists say the evictions present otherwise. If they were occupied, says Msawakhe Mayisela, a spokesman for the eThekwini municipality, the city would get a court order before conducting an eviction.
For him, it’s a continuation of the practices of the colonial and apartheid governments, pushing poor folks, most of whom are Black, to the periphery of cities. “There’s a scarcity of police resources and those very few police sources that they've, they use to destroy people’s properties, to destroy individuals’s peace, rather than fighting crime, real criminal parts that we see in our society,” Booi says. The actions by municipal regulation enforcement are breaking down social belief, says Buhle Booi, a member of the Khayelitsha Community Action Network, a neighborhood group within the largest township in Cape Town.
“Everything we’re doing is inside the ambit of the regulation,” Mayisela says. But “rogue elements” are profiting from Covid-19, he added. Around 900 people were evicted from three casual settlements in eThekwini during the eviction ban, based on the Church Land Programme, a neighborhood NGO.
But “there are still very, very, very few tasks” of that nature in South Africa, Huchzermeyer says. Around one-fifth of South Africa’s urban population stay in shacks or informal dwellings, in accordance with a 2018 report by SERI.
Its director, Graham Philpott, says it’s also conscious of evictions in different informal settlements. Yet main cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg and eThekwini , have continued to use municipal regulation enforcement businesses and personal safety firms to remove people from informal housing. In many instances these operations have been carried out without a court order – something required under regular South African law. On the morning of 15 July, a South African High Court judge dominated that the town of Cape Town’s Anti-Land Invasion Unit had illegally evicted a man when it destroyed the shack where he was residing.