Murder in KwaNdengezi

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
30 March 2013

Murder in KwaNdengezi

On Good Friday those of us who are Christians remember the murder of Jesus Christ who spurned the rich and walked with the poor. We never forget that Jesus Christ was murdered by the state for the crime of taking the side of the poor.

This year Good Friday in KwaNdengezi was marked with the blood, terror and grief of the poor.

At around 22:00pm on Thursday night Dumisane Mdletshe, a 31 year old man whose family live in KwaNdengezi although he no longer lives there, went to the home of a well known, well respected and brave AbM leader in KwaNdengezi. He kicked open the door and entered the home. He had a bush knife. He attacked her grandmother and her uncle and killed them both. They were both AbM members. He then asked for the AbM leader who had escaped in the dark. We are not giving her name until we have secured a safe house for her.

Mdletshe then went to another home, kwaShozi, which is about 2 kilometers away. Here he attacked Mr. Shozi who is the father of another well known, well respected and brave AbM leader. Mr Shozi fought back with the help of his sons. They overpowered their attacker and called the police who arrested Mdletshe. However Mr. Shozi, who is the head of that household, is in hospital in a critical condition.

Neighbours and family members of Mdletshe were shocked at what he had done. But they confirmed that he has no record of mental disturbance. He remained calm while he was attacking and killing which makes people think that he has done this before.

AbM leaders in KwaNdengezi, including the two whose homes were attacked on Thursday night, have been subject to serious, ongoing and armed intimidation by the local ward councillor and his thugs for a long time. Shots have been fired into their houses at night. They have often had to sleep outside. We have said very clearly that the Councillor of Ward 12, Mduduzi Christian Ngcobo, who is known as Nqola, is a gangster, a warlord. On the 6th of March the AbM Women's League entered and occupied the City Hall to demand that the serious accusations of intimidation and corruption against Nqola be investigated. They demanded that the City Council take his threats seriously and act to secure the safety of our comrades in KwaNdengezi. They did nothing. They said nothing. We do not count to them.

We have no clear evidence of Mdletshe's motivation. But he made no attempt to rape or to steal. It seems likely that he was hired to execute a political mandate just as it seems likely that the killers of Thembenkosi Qumbelo in Cato Crest two weeks ago were hired to execute a political mandate. If this proves to be true then the blood of KwaNdengezi well be on the hands of the City Council and especially the Speaker, Loggie Naidoo, whose office we occupied to demand action against Nqola. But the blood of KwaNdengezi will not only be on their hands. The media, the NGOs and the churches all failed to take our warnings seriously. With some exceptions it is clear that our lives do not really count to these people too. It is not just the ANC that have contempt for the poor. Words are just words. It is actions that count. Talking about us is not the same as walking with us.

When we stand up for the dignity of our lives we are being killed on the mines, in the farms and in the shacks. We are being killed by the police and by the ANC. This is the reality of what is known as democracy in South Africa. There is no democracy for the poor other than the democracy that we create in our own struggles.

The Community Policing Forum (CPF), the Councillor, and the Minister of Safety and Security did not pitch up to express their condolences with the family. Our leaders, elected directly by our members, have left their homes that they had traveled long distances to reach to be with their families for Easter. They have left their religious services and holidays. They are there with the bereaved, the injured and frightened. They are there in the dark where any danger can lurk.

Today we call upon the nation, the whole nation, to help us ask two questions: Why is the ANC and the eThekwini Municipality keeping Nqola and failing to investigate the allegations of corruption and intimidation against him? Who is benefiting from Nqola's use of violence and the barrel of guns to rule and police the KwaNdengezi community?

Today, on the eve of Easter when Christians remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have one question to poor people struggling across the country: How many of us must die before we rise up, defeat the forces of oppression and their politic of fear and death and build a new society that recognises the full and equal dignity of every person?

We will not stop our struggle until the land, wealth and power of this world are shared fairly.

For more information please contact:

Mnikelo Ndabankulu (AbM Spokesperson) – 081 263 3462
Bandile Mdlalose (AbM General Secretary) – 071 424 2815
T.J Ngongoma (AbM DC Chairperson) – 084 613 9772