29 August 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
Judgment on the Legality of a 2013 Shooting by the Anti-Land Invasions Unit to be Handed Down Tomorrow
On Sunday 22 September 2013 Nkosinathi Mngomezulu was shot, multiple times, with live ammunition during an illegal and violent eviction carried out against the Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Crest by the Anti-Land Invasions Unit, acting for the eThekwini Municipality. The eviction was carried out despite court interdicts prohibiting evictions. After he was shot Mngomezulu spent months in the ICU division at King Edward hospital. He was chained to the bed and always accompanied by a police officer during visiting hours.
Mngomezulu was not the only comrade to be subject to armed attack during the struggle for this land. On 30 September 2013 Nqobile Nzuza, who was 17 years old at the time, was murdered by a police offer with a shot from the back. Prior to the shooting of Mngomezulu there had been two assassinations. Nkululeko Gwala was assassinated on 26 June. Another activist, Thembinkosi Qumbelo, had been assassinated just over three months earlier.
Justice has not yet been secured for the assassinations of Gwala and Qumbelo. At the time of the assassination of Gwala it was widely reported that the then chairperson of the eThekwini ANC, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo had issued a public threat to Gwala hours before he was murdered. We do not believe that only local actors are responsible for the repression and violence, some of it fatal, that was experienced in Cato Crest. However after a long struggle justice was secured for Nzuza when a police officer was found guilty of her murder on 14 July this year.
Our movement has sued the Anti-Land Invasions Unit for the multiple shooting of Mngomezulu. Before we could continue to seek damages the court needed to determine whether or not the shooting of Mngomezulu was lawful. Judgment on this matter will be handed down in the Durban High Court tomorrow. If, as we expect, the court finds that the shooting was unlawful we will continue to seek damages from the Anti-Land Invasion Unit. We will also continue to do all that we can to build popular political opposition to this Unit, which was set up to subject impoverished people to rule by violence rather than democratic engagement.
In recent days and weeks the Anti-Land Invasions Unit has continued to engage in unlawful and violent evictions in Cato Manor, which is very close to Cato Crest. These evictions have left people with serious and permanent injuries. Smiso Maphumulo and Noluthando Masikiza have both been shot in the eye.
Our struggle for land is just but it is being met with violent criminality by the state and the ruling party.
We call on all progressive forces to support the popular struggle for land, and to oppose its repression, with all the force at their disposal. We have been encouraged by the recent meeting of various organisations engaged in the struggle for urban land in Cape Town and will continue to work to build the largest and most powerful popular force possible to take the struggle for land and the right to the cities forward.
S’bu Zikode 083 547 0474
Ndabo Mzimela 073 242 2043