Sandile Biyela was an active member of the Solomon Mahlangu branch of Abahlali baseMjondolo.
Abahlali baseMjondolo is a grassroots movement of poor shack dwellers across South Africa, including Durban, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg and the Western Cape. The movement advocates for the rights of people living in shacks including access to decent housing, services and education through participatory democracy. The movement uses a number of methods to promote the rights of shack dwellers and the homeless, including through peaceful land occupations and protests.
On 11 January 2018, human rights defender Sandile Biyela was killed while police officers and security guards were using live ammunition during a land rights protest at Solomon Mahlangu. The human rights defender was participating in an occupation due to the demolition of shacks. Police officers and security guards used live ammunition which caused the protesters to run. Sandile Biyela was killed while running away from police although the authorities have not yet released the results of the autopsy as to the cause of death.