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ANGRY residents living in the Tumbleweed Village in Howick protested outside their homes yesterday, after alleging that uMngeni Municipality representatives have threatened them with eviction, as the area now belongs to a school.
The 61 families told The Witness that attempts yesterday by representatives from the municipality to demolish their homes with tractors were unsuccessful as they fought back.
One resident, who did not want to be identified, said this was not the municipality’s first attempt to remove them forcibly.
“Two weeks ago, three armed police officers together with a representative from the municipality came and told us to vacate the area within 24 hours. Failure to do so would result in them demolishing our houses.”
Another resident said they are not against the building of the school, but believe that the area is big enough for both the school and community members.
“We are not going anywhere, we have invested so much in some of these houses and we cannot afford to build new houses elsewhere,” he said.
The chairman of Abahlali baseMjondolo shack dwellers’ movement, Sbu Zikode, said: “We support the building of schools and have fought for education for all. We support development in the area and in other communities, but this should be done by engaging and speaking to the community and in accordance with the law, not by illegally rendering people homeless. Development should improve and not smash the poor.”
Ward 6 councillor Pam Passmoor said she was not aware of the matter until recently and is trying to get clarity from the municipality as she knows the site is earmarked for a school.
The local inkosi, Makhosonke Mkhize said he was told by the municipality the people had built on a school site and were told to apply for sites in other areas, which they never did. At the time of going to print, uMngeni Municipality’s operations general manager, Mbali Myeni, could not be reached for comment.