On the 22nd of May 4:15am, a group of community members from the Cottonlands community, next to LIV Village, started a protest against LIV. LIV is a children’s village for orphan and vulnerable children in Durban, providing them with holistic residential care. Part of the vision of LIV is to create jobs for the local community through the village, factories and training facilities.
The protest was called by the community to show dislike for the employment of people from outside communities. Early in the morning, the protesters blocked the main entrance and side entrance to LIV Village by burning tires. Around 6am all the mothers and children were evacuated to the multi purpose hall in the middle of the village, due to some protesters throwing rocks at the LIV security and staff.
By 7am, the protesters made their way to LIV’s first security gate where they forced the gate open to make their way onto LIV property. They pulled down fences, burned down a wooden hut and pulled out road signs as they made their way towards to the main gate. They forced the main gate open but did not enter areas where the mothers, children and staff were.
The group then made their way back towards the main entrance. They broke down the main gate to our factories, Training Centre and clinic and broke down the back wall. They broke into all our factories, training centres, clinic and offices hydroponic tunnel offices. They proceeded to completely loot and vandalise the property.
Tich Smith, founder of LIV Village, together with the leadership team met the Area Committee and SAPS at 10:30am at the Verulam Police station. The outcome of the meeting was that LIV Village and the Area Committee have committed to working together to resolve the issues. All of the parties have committed to set up a task team to address the issues.
“The vision of LIV has always been to not only look after the vulnerable orphaned children in a village environment but also to come alongside our neighbouring communities. The biggest problem in the communities is the high percentage of unemployed people. Our aim is to skill, train and employ as many people from the community as possible, but LIV is limited by funding. We continue to look for funding all over the world for both the village and the businesses. We hope to grow the businesses so as to employ more people as the businesses become profitable. We have also set up a Culinary School, Welding School and Clothing Factory where we train people from the community and hopefully help them to get jobs or employ them in the businesses. It is heart-breaking to see the community clinic being vandalised as well as the clothing factory, the printing factory and the welding school. All these were set up to benefit the community. We hope that our meeting today which lasted four hours at the Verulam police station with the community leaders will lead to a closer working relationship with the community.” Tich Smith, LIV Village Founder
Partner with us to restore the community clinic and training centres so that we can continue to serve the children of this nation and the community of Cottonlands.