Slums in South Africa
Imraan Baccus writes in the Mercury:
This week academics from around the world arrive in Durban for a major international conference on poverty.
The conference will be opened by a high profile city official and would have been an ideal opportunity for Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to put their best foot forward. But instead delegates will arrive in the aftermath of the arrest of 500 street traders and a growing wave of international concern about the sudden passing of the Elimination and Prevention of Re-emergence of Slums Bill.
The mass arrests of the street traders and the Slums Bill are both clear indications that the city and the province are planning to deal with the poor by expelling them from the cities.
The most sober-minded critics are arguing that here in eThekwini and in KwaZulu-Natal we are beginning to see a slower and legislated version of Operation Murambatsvina, the notorious Operation Drive Out Trash, which drove street traders and shack dwellers out of Harare.
Within days of the Slums Bill being passed churches, NGOs, academics and the huge shack dwellers’ movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, were making plans to mount a major campaign against the Bill, which they argue is both immoral and unconstitutional.