South Africa: Violence Directed At Durban Shack Dwellers a Betrayal of COVID-19 Ethos of National Solidarity


The demolition of Abahlali baseMjondolo-organised shack settlements in Durban is the latest manifestation of municipal-state orchestrated violence which has been ongoing since 2005, in which time 18 members of the movement have lost their lives.

The South African national government has - like some other countries - shown itself to have been efficiently responsive to the crisis befalling the nation as a result of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. It has not procrastinated and has taken extraordinary measures, including a 21-day lockdown - during which people are required by a law of exception to remain in their homes - and announced countrywide testing to battle the virus.

In order to confront the crisis, the language used has rightly been one of war against an enemy for which the resources of the whole country must be mobilised. This is always the case in times of war, irrespective of who the enemy might be. Given the vulnerability of millions of our people to the virus, including people already living with HIV and TB, and people living in shack settlements and hostels where self-isolation is not possible, the language of war is neither exaggerated nor inappropriate.

In times of war, a national compact has...

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