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Violent clashes in Cato Manor over shack evictions

22 August 2017 - 17:42 By Jeff Wicks

Sustained tensions surrounding shack evictions and protest action in Cato Manor boiled over on Tuesday when private security‚ riot police and shack dwellers clashed. 

A group of about 200 protesters have overpowered private security on Wiggins Road‚ which flanks a patch of land occupied by shack dwellers.

Riot police were deployed to the scene after sporadic gunfire erupted as private security guards beat a retreat from the mob.

The clash comes after the eThekwini Municipality demolished shacks that had been erected in recent days as part of an illegal land invasion in the area.

Abahlali baseMjondolo shack dweller’s movement said that forceful evictions had begun at the weekend‚ despite the existence of a Durban High Court interdict preventing the eThekweni Municipality from demolishing‚ burning‚ removing or otherwise destroying and disposing of housing structures.

“The eThekwini municipality has continued with its violent and unlawful eviction in Cato Manor. They went on to destroy the homes of around 75 families‚” a statement released on Saturday read.

While police continued to monitor the situation‚ riot police were deployed to evictions in Sydenham and other service delivery protests in Mariannhill.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said that in Cato Manor‚ Public Order Police dispersed the crowd.

He said that no case was opened and no arrests were made.

“In Mariannhill the community blockaded the road demanding new houses in Milky Way. One suspect was arrested and he will be charged for public violence‚” Zwane said.

Zwane said that police received reports that in Sydenham a petrol bomb had been thrown at a municipal official.

“Public order police used rubber bullets to disperse the crowd and the municipal security officers used paintball guns. No injuries were reported and a case of public violence was opened at Sydenham police station for investigation. No arrest was made.”