Monday night, a group of flood victims from KwaZulu-Natal who had been kicked out of a Durban civic hall had to sleep on the street because other displaced people wouldn't let them back in.
About 300 people, including women, the elderly, and children, were kicked out of the Transnet building, where they had been living illegally in a hostel for two weeks. This group was from Mega Village in Umlazi, but they had to leave because of the floods. They decided to move from the Yellowwood Park civic hall to the Montclair Lodge, which was a hostel in the Transnet building that was empty at the time. This was done to put pressure on the provincial government to move them out of community shelters and into homes as quickly as possible.
On Monday, the sheriff of the court, the police, and private security carried out an eviction order and moved the group back to the hall they had come from. Ward councillor Gavin Hegter says that their fellow flood victims, who didn't join them in the hostel invasion and instead stayed at Yellowwood Park, wouldn't let them back in on Monday night.
"Most of the people who were kicked out of there [Montclair Lodge] are now at the Yellowwood Park hall, and the people who stayed behind and decided to go the legal route instead of staying there illegally say they don't want the people back. "Unfortunately, the city's disaster management did not take part in the eviction, even though Montclair SAPS tried very hard to get them on board to help put these people in proper facilities or take them back to where they came from.
Hegter said, "There's no way to keep track of who used to live here but moved away and who moved back because the disaster management team has lists but hasn't done anything." The flood victims who were locked out, on the other hand, said that the lists were made by the disaster management unit and that the people in the hall have them.
"They have all of our names on multiple lists inside, not just one. "If they came with it and read the names, you'd find us all on it. No one here is not on those lists," Thulani Sindane said. Zama Mkhize was surprised that people they had lived with for four months could say they didn't know them after they had been gone for two weeks. "What's worse is that we were also fighting for them. You can't be happy living in a community hall for almost half a year, which is close to five months. No one comes to tell you what's going on, which is fine with you.
"But if another bus comes in the morning and says we're going to occupy another place to fight for our rights, I will go there. I'll have to be locked out again." Nokuthula Gumede just wanted her baby to sleep in a warm place. "Are we becoming homeless now? Now you're sleeping on the street? "If they could just find a place for my child, I could sleep on the street in peace," she told TimesLIVE.
Around midnight, the group asked the metro police if they could light a fire in the empty parking spot outside the hall to keep warm, but they said they couldn't.
"We are now in a very dangerous situation where the people in the area are saying, 'We don't want hundreds of people moving back into our hall,' and the people who stayed in the hall are saying, 'We stayed behind and did everything by the book, and now people who broke the law are coming back, and we don't know who they are.' Hegter said, "It's a very tough situation, and I've asked metro police and public order police to keep an eye on it."
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