South Africa: Christian Aid Slams Durban Violence

The on-going brutality by Durban city officials against residents of the densely populated Cato Crest informal settlement has been strongly condemned by Christian Aid local partner organisation, the Church Land Programme (CLP).

In recent weeks, armed police have used live ammunition to shoot a group of peaceful protestors, including 17-year-old Nqobile Nzuza, who died at the scene after being shot in the back. Another protestor was shot in the arm, and one remains in hospital recovering from rubber bullet wounds sustained in a previous attack by the city’s Land Invasion Unit.

Bishop Rubin Phillip of the KwaZulu Natal Church Leaders’ Group said: ‘We are outraged by the failure of our state to provide the most basic of necessities to those that live in our city. Their actions undermine the dignity we hold onto.

‘The police have failed to protect members of our society; instead they shoot and kill protesters and act outside of the law themselves. Their behaviour is destroying the fabric of our society. We will continue to pray and to protest against these abuses of power.’

The catalyst for the recent protests was the outright refusal of properties for Cato Crest shack dwellers in a new city housing project, while those closely connected to local political leadership were instantly allocated homes.

Despite the ruthless clamp down, protestors are continuing to take to the streets in response to city authorities repeatedly flouting court orders to halt the illegal evictions and the demolition of their homes.

Graham Philpott, of Church Land Programme said: ‘If the courts have given orders, they should at least be respected by officials. It cannot be tolerated that people protesting for their rights are shot by police, and criminalised by the justice system. This immoral behaviour by city officials and political leadership is destroying our society.’

3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

4. Follow Christian Aid’s newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

Categories: Africa

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