21 May 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
ANC Intimidation in Newcastle
Abahlali baseMjondolo continues to grow and to expand throughout Kwazulu-Natal, and the country as a whole. People in this country have had enough of impoverishment and oppression. People in this country have had enough of the lies told by the politicians when they seek votes. Abahlali baseMjondolo has become an alternative home for such people. Thousands of people are joining our movement in search for land, dignity and freedom.
The leadership of the movement is currently in Newcastle where today, the 21st May, we will be launching our first branch in Osizweni Township in the Majuba District Municipality, Newcastle. Yesterday we had held a political education meeting in Volksrust in the township of Vulindlela in Mpumalanga.
The people of the Vulindlela Township are face with a lot of challenges. They are not recognised as human beings by the council. The municipality consist of 11 wards but the mayor is failing to address the issues face by the communities in these wards. People who want to develop their own livelihoods are not receiving any support from the government in Mpumalanga. They are not even given land to develop livelihoods. There is a lot of corruption and nepotism taking place in the municipality. There are serious questions about how jobs are allocated in the area. In order for one to be employed in the municipality must either be related to the mayor or the manager of that portfolio.
In Osizweni, Newcastle, the ward 32 councillor Ms. Fikile Gama has threatened our members who are organizing there. She went to our organizer’s house with her bodyguards and threatened our member and warned her to stop organising Abahlali in the area. She told our member that if she continues to organise Abahlali in ‘her land’ she will open a case against her. It is very strange that in this day and age there are still ward councillors who do not understand the Constitution of the country that allows the Freedom of Expression and the Freedom of Association. These rights are enshrined in the Constitution that the very ruling party claim to be custodians of. These rights were won in the struggles of the people and they will be defended by the struggles of the people.
This kind of intimidation is one of the reasons why we say that we are led by thugs who have no regard whatsoever for the people whom they lead. The very people who are supposed to allocate land and bring development in our communities are the ones that oppress us.
We have informed the police station of Osizweni regarding this matter and have encouraged our organiser in Newcastle to open a case against the councillor. We affirm that if anything happens today as we launch, or if anything happens to our organiser, we will hold councillor Gama and the ANC in the province accountable. It seems as though these thugs who are politicians by day have forgotten that the arm of the law is very long when it is backed by powerful and sustained organisation and mobilisation. It seems that we need to remind them about the two ward councillors who are serving life sentence for murdering our comrade in Durban.
We are aware that the struggle that we are in is dangerous and can lead to people losing their lives. We however are prepared to lay down our lives for the truth. We owe it to the next generation to fight for justice and against this disease called corruption which has impoverished many people in our country.
Nothing will deter us from the struggle to liberate our people from these thugs. No one will get away with threatening our members. Our movement is powerful and we stand our ground. We do not accept repression.
The struggle for land, dignity and freedom continues.
Thapelo Mohapi – 062 892 5323
Zandile Nsibande – 062 947 1947
George Bonono – 073 067 3274