Thursday, 19 May 2016
URGENT Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement
Death threats in Bizana after an Abahlali protest march against Rumdel mining and road construction
On Monday Abahlali baseZilalini ,who are part of Abahlali baseMjondolo, organised a protest in Bizana. It has invited all sort of trouble.
The peaceful march was a success with more then 800 people in the protest. Rumdel representative Mr Johan Human received the Memorandum of demands despite all threats that were made by Mbizana municipality claiming that the march was illegal. The police were friendly to us and work closely with us knowing that we had followed all the legal procedures in term of the Regulation of Gathering Act. We had the support of workers and some local taxi owners’ associations.
However after the march the organisers of the march started receiving death threats from some well know taxi bosses in the area. Yesterday at about 14:00 the organisers of the march were attacked in the broad day light by few taxi bosses in front of the police while at a meeting. Later in the afternoon, at around 16:00, four women wearing Abahlali t-shirts were assaulted and their t-shirts were torn. One woman was from Lukholo, one from Madadane area and two from Redoubt. Another woman was attacked by a well known traffic officer by the name of Chester at Mancakweni. These attacks were all separate incidents.
Some Bizana Taxi Owners Association bosses are beneficiaries in the mining company, so the march was limiting their possibilities for profit and benefit. Mr Faku who is a Forman at Rumdel had made some threats that he would send taxi bosses to assault organisers of the protest. Last night our leadership in Bizana were hunted by taxi bosses, their drivers and their assistants. Some of the leadership had to sleep in different safe homes fearing their lives. Some had to be hospitalized as a result of these attacks. We will be opening criminal charges this afternoon with the police. We take death threats very seriously given the recent killing of Bazuka Hadebe who was killed in eXolobeni as a result of the struggle against mining saga. The politic of blood has arrived in the Eastern Cape.
Right now anyone wearing an Abahlali t-shirt in Bizana is being attacked. Those who are attack our members claim that we are EFF members, or Delangokubona of whom we have no knowledge, or SACP because the SACP in the province happened to have dispute with the ANC. Our movement, the EFF and the SACP all have red as our colour however we are separate organisations. We want to make it clear that we are members of Abahlali baseMjondolo and not of any political party or Delangokubona.
We call on the Eastern Cape government, Rumdel Construction Company and all progressive organisations and democrats to defend democracy in Bizana and the Eastern Cape. We ask them to reject corruption, nepotism, sexism, and mining mafia and promote peace and a fair distribution of wealth in the area.
Democracy is under sustained attack in our country. Too many people have been too silent for too long. We all need to stand up against the gangster state.
Thokozane Mthwane 063 882 8642
S’bu Zikode 083 547 0474
TJ Ngongoma 084 613 9772