Defence: Kamelo Msaka, a Philippi backyard dweller, fought the destruction of his newly built shack.
Angry residents clashed with police sent to dismantle their shacks in Philippi East on Sunday in a commotion that stopped short of turning into a bloodbath.
“Qina mhlali, (stand strong my people). They should kill us. We won’t move because they do not have a court order and away with the apartheid law enforcement away.”
These were shouts made by angry residents as the large contingent of Cape Town police and council personnel dismantled illegally built shacks.
Danger was averted when Abahlali baseMjondolo Social Movement members calmed down the stone-throwing residents.
This was after police had fired stun grenades and rubber bullets to maintain order in the tense confrontation.
Kamelo Msaka, 35, a backyard dweller, was teargassed and arrested when he prevented police from destroying his newly-built shack.
Cops also pinned down and locked up a social movement activist when he confronted them about the operation.
With some standing on their shack rooftops, residents of the newly established settlement in the outskirts of Klipfontein Mission Station and along Symphony Way Road, also used their cellphones to record the unfolding action.
Zoe Zulu, 35, became one of the new shack owners who resisted the move.
“What must we do, where should we go? They ordered me to vacate my shack but I do not know where I should go because I was born here in Cape Town,” a frightened Zulu said as she crammed in a tiny shack space with her four weeping small children that included a one-month-old baby.
An unnamed Rastafarian fought back when police allegedly assaulted him when he demanded to be allowed to remove his belongings before his shack was dismantled.
He later ran for his freedom and disappeared into the nearby bush after armed police attempted to arrest him.
“I refused to cooperate because they showed me no court order when I demanded it.”
Cindy Tetani, the Abahali base Mjondolo chairperson at the Langa branch, complained that police had undermined people’s rights because they conducted the operation with no court order.
“When we demanded a court order they claimed that they did not require it because the shacks were erected illegally.
“It’s very wrong and we won’t allow this to happen again,” Tetani said.