Shack Fire in Kennedy Road

What is affected
Housing private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 03 July 2010
Region AFA [ Africa anglophone ]
Country South Africa
Location Durban

Affected persons

Total 3000
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution


Forced eviction
Housing losses
- Number of homes 800
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative At 2am in Kennedy Road last night, on 3 July 2010, approximately 3 people were killed after eight hundred shacks were destroyed in a fire. It is thought that one of those killed in the blaze was a young child.

An estimated three thousand people were left homeless, all their belongings burned. Now, they have nowhere to go. Emergency vehicles came to the scene but could not control the flames.

If people were given land, houses and electricity, there would be no fires. The only reason that there are fires in the shacks is because they are un-electrified. The only reason there are fires in the shacks is because of the failure of the Municipality to provide services.

We have said this since 2005. Meanwhile, the Municipality has made it illegal to electrify informal settlements. Since January 2010, the Municipality has been disconnecting shacks from electricity on a daily basis in Kennedy Road. Abahlali has been very clear that this policy contradicts the Constitution of the Republic.

After Abahlali was attacked in September 2009, Nigel Gumede from the eThekwini Housing Department came to Kennedy Road. He promised that houses and electricity would be brought to the people of Kennedy by February 2010.

The Provincial Minister of Transport, Safety and Security Willies Mchunu also came to Kennedy Road. He said, after the attacks, that the settlement had been “liberated.” He also promised that development would start anytime soon.

Instead of bringing houses or electricity, Gumede and Mchunu brought the Amatins, also known by the people as government shacks, or transit camps. Instead of bringing development, for the few months of the World Cup, the government spent billions of Rands on stadiums, fan parks, airports, and tollgates.

The government can bring the World Cup, but cannot bring housing, electricity, rubbish collection, water, toilets, or land for the poor.

Abahlali had a march in the city on 22 March 2010, which was initially banned by the Municipality. At that march, we raised our concerns. Up until today, there has been no response from government.

Abahlali condemns the Municipality for making these promises, and for failing to deliver. Abahlali calls for support for all victims of the fire, and for a fair distribution of relief.

When fires have happened in Abahlali areas in the past, it is only the Councillor’s friends who first receive support. After a fire that left 2000 homes destroyed at Foreman Road, the ANC Committee demanded that the community show ANC membership cards before receiving blankets, food, or any relief.

Today, on 4 July 2010, Abahlali was asked to come to Kennedy Road after the fire. A delegation, including Abahlali President S’bu Zikode, went there. More than 700 people openly attended an Abahlali meeting in the settlement that was addresed bu S`bu Zikode. The Municipality sent no one, as they were all too busy working on the World Cup.


(Source:, 4 July 2010)
Costs €   0