Using the Constitution, Getting Assaulted and Shot at by the Cops

In August this year Abahlali used the Promotion of Access to Information Legislation to compel the city to make public its plans for shack dwellers. This audacious use of progressive legislation won the movement major media attention. The state didn’t like this. Abahlali were called in by the office of the Provincial Minister of Housing and instructed, in the most contemptuous manner, to cease speaking to the media. They noted their defiance in a press statement and proceeded to humiliate officials from the ministers’ office in two major radio debates. Then, working with community groups from Municipal flats in Chatsworth and Wentworth, they staged an impressive protest outside the International Convention Centre where various ‘stakeholders’ (government, business, the World Bank etc) were discussing housing for the poor. The t-shirts made for the occasion read ‘Talk to Us, Not For US!’ A few days later, on 12 September 2006, S’bu Zikode and Philani Zungu were arrested on trumped up charges and severely assaulted while on the way to a radio interview. Bahlali attempting to march on the police station were shot at with rubber bullets and live ammunition and defended themselves with bricks and stones.

Press Release for PAIA Press Conference:
PAIA_Press_Conference.doc  29.5 KB

Pictures of PAIA Application Delivery:,43,10,2732

Press Release Declaring a Refusal to Obey Inkosi:
Nkosi_press_release.doc  27.5 KB

S’bu and Philani Arrested, Protesters Shot At:
Press Release: Democracy_in_Tatters.doc  36 KB
Article by Niren Tolsi in the Mail & Guardian:
IndyMedia – Pictures outside the Sydenham Police Station:
IndyMedia – Pictures outside the court the next day: