3 January 2018
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
Justice for Nqobile Nzuza
Nqobile Nzuza was murdered by a police officer on a road blockade in Cato Crest on 30 September 2013. She was seventeen years old and doing her matric. She joined the road blockade in protest against the brutal attacks on the Marikana Land Occupation in Cato Manor by the eThekwini Municipality.
When impoverished people struggle for land and housing we are taken as criminals, as people who are beneath the law. We are treated as people who do not count, as people whose homes and property can be destroyed, and as people who can be subject to slander, assault, torture and murder with impunity.
The eThekwini Municipality continued to demolish people’s homes in the Marikana Land Occupation even though there was a court order in place that prevented the Municipality from destroying people’s homes. Many comrades were injured during this occupation. This is the same area where the chairperson of the local branch, Nkululeko Gwala, was murdered.
After a long struggle there was an arrest, a trial and a conviction for the murder of Nqobile. The police officer who was found guilty of the murder will finally be sentenced at the Durban Magistrate’s court on 4 January 2018. Even though the conviction and sentence will not bring Nqobile back the movement and the family will find some closure in that justice will finally be served. It is also very important that we always struggle to resist the impunity that is usually granted to our oppressors. We have to insist that our lives must count the same as all other lives.
Today there is another land occupation, eNkanini in Cato Manor, which is being subject to illegal and violent evictions by the eThekwini Municipality. On the 24th of this month the movement will be going to court to hold both the Mayor and the City Manager personally liable for the continuous illegal and violent evictions in this land occupation.
Land is at the centre of our struggle. Land comes before housing. We cannot enjoy the right to the city unless we have access to well-located land. Since our movement was formed in 2005 we have struggled for land from below and demanded that the state expropriate land in the interests of justice. We continue to support the expropriation of land in the interests of justice. However we do not believe that that taking land from the white elite and giving it to a black elite will solve the problem of land.
Land is a basic need that all must have access to. It is a resource that is essential for people to live, to build and to produce food. Land is a question of life, a question of dignity and a question of justice. Land should not be bought and sold. It should be distributed on the basis of social need. A government that does not implement proper land reform is not a government that has taken the side of the people and the side of justice. A government that allows land to be bought and sold is an oppressive government.
We are calling on all progressive organisations and individuals that support the struggle to restore the land to the people to join the movement outside the Durban Magistrate’s Court on 4 January as the police officer who murdered Nqobile is sentenced. We hope that the justice system will not let the country and militants around the country down. We hope that the sentence that will be given to this police officer will send a clear message to all those who continue to defame, assault, torture and murder people who are struggling for land from below that our lives count as all other lives count and that we cannot be oppressed with impunity.
In November last year a devastating fire ripped through the Foreman Road settlement leaving three people dead. On New Year’s Eve the settlement burnt again. Around 80 homes were destroyed. We continue to be left to burn because we do not count as human beings to this society.
The struggle continues.
Thapelo Mohapi 062 892 5323
Zandile Nsibande 062 947 1947
George Bonono 073 067 3274