City of Struggle

Couple of days back, I posted on the fight around the Bisaser Road dump in Durban. We’re still trying to get journalists interested in the largest streetfight in Durban since the end of apartheid, and trying to lawyers interested in freeing people from jail.

According to the excellent Richard Pithouse, the comrades in jail refused state legal representation, opting to represent themselves at the preliminary hearing. This because they’ve had nothing but racism from the (interpellated Indian) police. When the (Indian) magistrate heard the case, the prosecutor announced that the accused had run amok, smashing windows and setting fire to tyres. They said nothing in their defence, not knowing they could. So they were sent back to the holding cells, with a bail hearing postponed until next week.

At this hearing, the state may well consider them a flight risk, because they are in an informal settlement, and therefore presumably could just walk away. This is, clearly, bonkers. The informal settlement is and has long been home for many of them. If they’d as much contempt for their homes as the court does, they wouldn’t have been fighting to defend it in the first place.

Richard is on this case, and has been dialing his fingers to the bone, trying to get any lawyer to take on the case. But none of the lawyers who ordinarily might have taken on the case in Durban seem interested, perhaps because it’s a criminal, not a civil case, perhaps because it’s a holiday weekend. Either way, there’s little chance that they’ll be out before Tuesday when the courts re-open.

But while the ANC has successfully incarcerated one lot of people, their tactics towards other groups has been, well, more discreet. Read about how the repression of the Bayview Flats Residents Association has developed here.

Reminds me not a little of another Bayview, the one in Northern California…