Riot police, shack dwellers in tense stand-off over 'misunderstanding'
A misunderstanding was at the heart of a tense stand-off between riot police and protesters at Durban’s Kennedy Road informal settlement on Tuesday.
It is understood that several shacks‚ built on the banks of a river that runs through the settlement‚ had been flooded due to recent rains.
The eThekwini Municipality’s Disaster Management authority had given approval for the shacks to be rebuilt - but when they were erected in a different location‚ the City’s Land Invasion Unit responded with haste‚ destroying the newly erected shacks and peppering residents with paintball bullets.
Residents then responded by setting up burning barricades and blocking the roads‚ as the officials from the Land Invasion Unit fled.
eThekwini Municipality’s Des Moodley‚ who was at the scene‚ said the issue was based on a misunderstanding.
“The councillor in the area gave authority to rebuild the shacks but the location was not specified. When these shacks started going up‚ the Land Invasion guys came and demolished the structures and now we are in this situation‚” he said.
After some negotiation between police‚ Moodley and the shack dwellers‚ the road was cleared.