Human rights organisation slams Kenny Kunene for unlawful raids and demolishing building

17 May 2023 - 09:33
By Unathi Nkanjeni
Former acting Joburg mayor Kenny Kunene and Dr Mgcini Tshwaku visited illegally occupied buildings in Randburg and Hillbrow.
Image: ANTONIO MUCHAVE Former acting Joburg mayor Kenny Kunene and Dr Mgcini Tshwaku visited illegally occupied buildings in Randburg and Hillbrow.

The Socio-Economic Rights Institute (Seri) has slammed City of Johannesburg transport MMC Kenny Kunene for unlawful raids, conducting searches, threatening to evict residents and demolishing a building. 

Kunene was appointed acting mayor over the weekend while Kabelo Gwamanda was away. He spent his two-day tenure focusing on hijacked buildings in the city.

He raided hijacked buildings in Hillbrow and Berea and demolished a building in Windsor East in Randburg. The deputy president of the Patriotic Alliance also joined public safety MMC Mgcini Tshwaku in his crusade against crime, demanding to know who owned the buildings.

In one video, there was a heated exchange between Kunene and the caretaker of a building in Hillbrow who refused to disclose the owners of the property.

Seri said it was appalled by the city's actions and approach under the leadership of Kunene, saying the raids were done without a court order. 

“At a time when the city is grappling with numerous challenges, it is disconcerting the primary focus of the acting mayor was to subject vulnerable communities to unconstitutional conduct that violates their fundamental rights to dignity and privacy,” it said

The institute said the unlawful raids predominantly affect the same people who have previously endured victimisation under Herman Mashaba’s mayoral regime. 

“In response to their suffering under former mayor Herman Mashaba’s tenure, the affected residents sought recourse from the Constitutional Court, culminating in the landmark decision in Residents of Industry House and Others vs Minister of Police and Others

“The court held that these raids 'were conducted for an ulterior purpose, which is an abuse of power indicating wanton and calculated disregard of the law by the city and a predacious, mechanical scheme to terrorise and forcibly evict suspected unlawful occupiers, under the guise of restoring public order'.”

The institute said Kunene undermined the ConCourt’s judgment on raids in the city, and this poses a direct threat to the rule of law and erodes the integrity of the legal system. 

“Seri strongly condemns the conduct and attitude displayed by the city towards its most impoverished residents. These residents already face the risk of eviction and are desperately awaiting adequate housing solutions from the city. 

“We call upon the city to rectify its course and refrain from unlawful conduct. We also urge the city to urgently devise and implement a comprehensive housing strategy that addresses the needs and rights of its vulnerable residents.”

Kunene thanked Gwamanda for entrusting him with his responsibility during his absence. 

“I would like to thank the honourable executive mayor of the City of Johannesburg for entrusting me with his responsibility during his absence. I hope I represented him well. I am at your service mayor Kabelo Gwamanda whenever you need me. Thank you all for your support. Salute.”


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