14 June 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement
We March on the Durban City Hall on 26 June 2017
When the new mayor, Zandile Gumede, took office last year we were promised a new era in the City’s relationship with its impoverished residents. We asked for and were promised an end to evictions and repression. We asked for and were promised participatory democracy and participatory development. We asked for and were promised honesty and respect. We asked for and were promised justice for the repression that we had faced in the past, including the armed attacks by ANC supporters in 2009, and the assassinations in 2013 and 2014.
For some time repression and evictions stopped. But now all the mayor’s promises have proven to be lies. Armed and violent evictions have returned. Armed and violent repression, sometimes fatal, has returned. The old dirty tricks, trying to divide the movement by offering development and tenders to some while excluding and repressing others, have returned. Now we face the politic of lies and the rule of the gun. We face a gangster state that only sees development as a way for politicians and their friends to get rich.
We are in full support of the need to build women’s power in all parts of society. We are in full support of women’s leadership in all parts of society. We are not opposed to Zandile Gumede because she is a woman. We are opposed to her because she has chosen the politic of lies and repression. She has chosen the rule of the gun. She has chosen the politic of oppression. She has betrayed all of us, including the thousands of women in our movement, and all other impoverished women in the city.
The new Mayor has lied to us for several times. She lied to the elderly, physical challenged and most vulnerable group of our society omkhulu no gogo. She promised them blankets but only to deliver lies, futhi akanamahloni nanembeza ngalokho. She went on to make promises to the victims of ANC attacks and assassinations. She promised to engage and commit her administration to work with Abahlali on a clear program of action that will see lives of shack dwellers changing. But her administration failed even to produce a plan and status of each settlement. Instead all we have seen is some of her party councillors becoming monsters and gangsters again, just like how Nqola behaved before going to jail. We have seen Cllr Zulu threatening our comrades in Bhambayi resulting into shooting one person there. We have seen Cllr Khekhe in eKuphumeleleni threatening Abahlali members. We have seen the returned of armed, violent and illegal evictions across the city. We have seen the killing of a two weeks old baby, Jayden Khoza. Yesterday we lost another comrade and neighbour, Samuel Hloele, in eMansenseni, in Marianhill, during a violent eviction. Others were seriously injured. All our efforts to engage the mayor on these matters are either falling into deaf ears or we are lied to.
Several communities have been subject to violent and illegal evictions in the last three months.
Marianridge (New City) in Marianhill has been evicted four times already. On 1 April 2017 they came at about 10am. They returned on 2 April. On 13 April they came at about 5pm, leaving about 105 families homeless. The Councillors from Ward 13 and Ward 15 were present with municipal security when the evictions took place. One woman who was 6 or 7 months pregnant when her shack was destroyed in her presence had a miscarriage and the baby passed on.
Cato Manor has also been evicted four times already. The first attack was on 8 May 2017 and there were further attacks on 1 June 2017, 3 June 2017 and on 4 June when 75 families were left homeless. The City did not only destroy people homes and confiscate their property but it also burnt the remains of their homes and belongings down to ashes. This is where Nompilo was arrested after she was found looking at the remains of her home and her property.
In Asiyindawo in Lamontville about 63 families have been evicted. Their homes were destroyed on 12 February 2017, 5 March 2017, 20 April 2017 and 17 May 2017.
In Nagina near Klaarwater at least 22 families have been evicted on the 19 May 2017. The residents took down this registration number of a municipal vehicle: NDM 7982
In Polokwane 4 families were evicted from the transit camps provided by municipality on 26 April 2017 and 6 families were evicted on 2 June 2017. The following registration numbers were noted: NDM 16077, NDM 13861, NDM 6789 and NDM 13504. These families have been staying here since 2014. They were relocated from their shacks into the transit camps to allow in-sute upgrade, but now the new councillor is evicting them from transit camps to allocate their spaces to other families.
In eMansenseni, which is also in Marianhill, 15 families were evicted on 30 May 2017 and on Tuesday 6th June 36 families were evicted. Yesterday there was another brutal attack resulting in the loss of one life and a number of serious injuries.
In eKuphumeleleni (Shallcross) 12 families were been evicted on 11 June 2017 at about 16:00pm
In all of these evictions Abahlali have been rebuilding after each eviction. We will always try and rebuild after an eviction. But in some areas, like Marianridge, the City has hired a private security company to guard the land all day and night and prevent anyone from rebuilding.
All of these evictions have been unlawful and violent. We are in consultation with our legal team and we will not hesitate to go to court to interdict the City and defend our right to occupy land in our city. Every eviction is an outrageous attack on people who are already impoverished. But this new strategy in which the City also burns people’s building material and belongings has escalated the levels of anger. The City is being run on a violent and criminal basis yet the police do not act against this criminality, or even open cases. It is a Mafia politic.
The Mayor and all corrupt and criminal politicians must go. There must be an end to the rule of the impoverished by the gun, and to evictions and repressions. There must be an end to the politic of lies.
We are willing to negotiate on land and housing but out dignity is not negotiable. We insist on democratic forms of engagement and will never accept rule by armed force.
We have then decided to organise a big protest on 26 June to put pressure on the City and help her Worship to stop lying to the impoverished, to stop evictions and to stop repression. We will meet at Curries Foundation and the march on the City Hall. Each branch of Abahlali will be discussing and drafting their own Memoranda to be delivered to the Mayor and the KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. We believe that COGTA has a responsibility to ensure clean and proper governance in the province. We cannot be murdered and evicted and have COGTA quite about this kind of governance. We cannot be denied access to information and subject to frauded IDPs without COGTA saying a word.
We stand for land. We stand for housing. We stand for dignity. We stand for a democratic resolution of the crisis of land and housing, a resolution that puts the social value of land before its commercial value. We will not accept the return to the rule of the gun. We refuse to continue to be made poor.
Thapelo Mohapi: 062 892 5323
Zandile Nsibande: 062 947 1947
Mqapheli Bonono: 073 067 3274