UN Climate Conference Leaves People Homeless Amit Torrential Deadly Storms
In solidarity with the 31 families from Durban who were unlawfully evicted for the UN’s COP17 Climate Change Conference, activists from the Occupy COP17 movement will stage a colourful protest at the South African Embassy in London, England. At 3:30pm on Thursday 5 January, they will gather with giant cardboard cut-outs of the community members in an international solidarity action that aims to draw local and international attention to put pressure local Councillor Lucky Mdlalose to provide immediate housing for these 31 families.
Just days before the international summit last November, residents of KwaMashu Above (an area north of Durban) had their houses destroyed and all their possessions and food stolen from them in an unlawful eviction. There were told by local officials that they were making the place look untidy for visiting dignitaries and so were being moved on. The next night, as members of this community crouched in the rain under plastic bags in the spaces where their houses used to stand, Mwempi Caka caught a chill and died soon after. To this day, this community of grandmothers, mothers, babies and sons sleep each night on the floors of the kind neighbours that surround the empty land where their own houses once stood. Weeks later, this community is still without shelter and is being ignored by their local government.
“The municipality said we were messing up the community and they didn’t want the people coming to Durban for the United Nations conference to see us,” said Jabulile Mdlalose, 36, who is now one of the displaced. “They are ashamed of us. We have nowhere to go in our own country.”
Article 26, Section 3 of the South African Constitution States: “No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.” The PIE act was also violated: “whether people have been living lawfully or unlawfully they cannot be evicted without there being alternative accommodation.”
This creative action is part of an ongoing international campaign, that began in Durban, in support of the community from KwaMashu Above.
On Friday, there will be an international “Call-In”, with people from all over the world calling the office of Councillor Lucky Mdlalose’s to put further pressure on him for immediate action. Please join us this Friday by calling Councillor Lucky Mdlalose at +27 822565398 to demand that he respect the constitutional rights of these families and provide them with immediate housing.