A few of us from #OccupyCop17 were contacted last week by a community in KwaMashu, a nearby township to Durban, and were invited to go hear their story. The General Assembly agreed to send members of the assembly to go meet with them. The community had been evicted from their homes to build a road for the World Cup, and never received any compensation or help. They then built homes using materials they bought with their own money on vacant land. Two weeks ago they were evicted and told that they were “dirtying” Durban for the COP17. Their homes were then destroyed by police and the building materials stolen. They also took their food and clothing. The community, including about 12 children, is now sleeping on neighbors floors after spending a week sleeping on the land where their houses had been – too afraid of the police to set up tents or build structure, so sleeping under plastic bags and sticks. During the police raid, a woman fleeing broke her leg in two places. During the abnormally strong rain-storm the day before the COP, one man from their community got sick, went to the hospital, and died.
Tomorrow this community from KwaMashu are coming to the #occupycop17 / Speakers Corner Space (4 min walk from ICC, corner of Walnut and Braam Fischer) for the 7pm General Assembly. The children from the community had previously created a play about the eviction, and will perform it tomorrow. We want to help share their story, to remind the world of the role justice plays in the climate debate. Pablo Solon and others will also be participating in the General Assembly, which will be followed by an all-night vigil for Climate Justice at the same location.