Thursday, 30 July 2015
Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement
Road Blockade Happening in Siyanda Now
The ANC in eThekwini now support land occupations but only ANC members are allowed to build
When we began our struggle in 2005 the ANC was attempting to ‘eradicate’ shacks. We successfully opposed attempts to ‘eradicate’ numerous shack settlements in different parts of Durban and smaller towns in KwaZulu-Natal. We have also supported many land occupations which we see as the ‘peoples’ land redistribution programme’ or ‘land reform from below’ and as a form of ‘grassroots urban planning’. The ANC has long referred to land occupations, which they have called ‘land invasions’, as criminal acts and have used state violence and other forms of repression to try and prevent them.
While some senior leaders in the ruling party continue to act from above to try and criminalise land reform from below there has been a major shift at the lower levels of the party in eThekwini. The programme of land occupations from below is winning support from the ruling party. We are pleased that our hard fought struggle against landlessness is being supported. However the same logic that applies to ‘service delivery’ is now being applied to the occupation of land. Just as you have to be a member of the ruling party to benefit from service delivery so to you now have to be a member of the ruling party to benefit for the occupation of land. In a number of areas where we have branches – including Siyanda, Shallcross, Sisonke, Palmiet and Joe Slovo – our members report that people are being told that members of the ruling party are now mandated to occupy land. In all of these areas members of the ruling party are not being evicted while others, especially those who are independently organised, face evictions. These evictions are always unlawful and often violent. This selective eviction has caused anger in communities as a whole.
In some cases ANC members are willing to unite with people outside of the ruling party to oppose evictions. After the assassination in September last year of Thuli Ndlovu, our chairperson in KwaNdengezi, residents in the area united across political lines. Our members worked with members of the South African Communist Party to demand the arrest of the local councillor. He has since been arrested and charged with the murder. Where ever possible we will build the broadest possible alliances against evictions.
We have been told that in Siyanda the Ward 41 Councillor, Lucky Mdlalose, has allocated sites to his supporters in order to build shacks. His supporters were able to successfully build but the shacks of other residents who built without the mandate of the councillor were demolished. On the 4th July the Land Invasion Unit came to demolish shacks but left those of the supporters of Lucky Mdlalose. We hope that the ruling party will now stop these selective evictions and endorse a fair and equitable people’s land redistribution programme that does not discriminate on the basis of political affiliation or where people come from.
Right now in Siyanda both Abahlali and ANC members are on the street and are blockading the road in protest against the selective evictions of Lucky Mdlalose. This comes after the Land Invasion Unit arrived to demolish shacks built by non ANC residents. The media can rush to Siyanda right now to speak to protestors and see the situation for themselves.
Nogolide 078 577 3757
Zoliswa 078 6923945
TJ Ngongoma 084 613 9772