Category Archives: Bizana

Abahlali to March in Durban and Bizana on Monday

Saturday, 24 June 2017
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Abahlali to March in Durban and Bizana on Monday

Abahlali baseMjondolo will march to the Durban Mayor Cllr Zandile Gumede on Monday, 26 June 2017. The march will start from Curries Fountain Sports Grounds at 9:00am and finish at 12:00pm at the Durban City Hall. The Memoranda will be handed over to both the Mayor of eThekwini and to the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Each branch has carried out its own process to produce its own set of demands. We will be demanding the restoration of our dignity, an end to violent and brutal evictions and land, housing and dignity for all.   Continue reading

Abahlali to Launch its First Village in Bizana, Eastern Cape

Friday, 17 February 2017

Abahlali press statement


Abahlali to Launch its First Village in Bizana, Eastern Cape

For more than ten years we have waged a struggle for land, housing and dignity in the cities. Our struggle in the cities has often been influenced by ideas and practices from rural areas and struggles. From time to time our comrades have taken some of the ideas and practices of the movement back to rural villages and rural struggles.

On Sunday we will launch our first village in Bizana in the Eastern Cape. For some time we have been part of the solidarity work undertaken to reject corruption, nepotism, and the theft of the land by black capital monopoly in Bizana. In early 2016 Abahlali supported the march by Bizana Abahlali baseZilalini against unfair business practices by Ramdel, a construction company contracted to build a road. The local community was not consulted on the project and job opportunities were denied to local communities. Among those employed there were strong allegations of bribery, sexism and nepotism. Continue reading

Death threats in Bizana after an Abahlali protest march against Rumdel mining and road construction

Thursday, 19 May 2016
URGENT Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement

Death threats in Bizana after an Abahlali protest march against Rumdel mining and road construction

On Monday Abahlali baseZilalini ,who are part of Abahlali baseMjondolo, organised a protest in Bizana. It has invited all sort of trouble.

The peaceful march was a success with more then 800 people in the protest. Rumdel representative Mr Johan Human received the Memorandum of demands despite all threats that were made by Mbizana municipality claiming that the march was illegal. The police were friendly to us and work closely with us knowing that we had followed all the legal procedures in term of the Regulation of Gathering Act. We had the support of workers and some local taxi owners’ associations. Continue reading

Seven Wards to Protest Against Mining in Mbizana on Monday

13 May 2016

Seven Wards to Protest Against Mining in Mbizana on Monday

On Monday the 16th of May 2016, Abahlali baseZilalini Mbizana in the Eastern Cape, who are part of Abahlali BaseMjondolo Movement SA, will hold a protest march which will start at Bulala Sports Ground at 08:00 am and proceed to the Rumdel Construction premises at Pele Pele Bus Stop where the officials from Rumdel Construction, representatives from the Department of Public Works and representatives from the Mbizana Municipality are expected to receive a memorandum of demands. Continue reading

Dream of true freedom lies smouldering in the grave


Dream of true freedom lies smouldering in the grave

INSIGHT – Nomboniso Gasa

“THE democratic genie has been let out of the bottle” pronounced Neil Coleman, of Cosatu in the heady days after the election of President Jacob Zuma and his government.

It was a government described as open, accessible, people friendly and pro-poor.

Coleman is not only a decent man. He is also a man of principle.

There was no rancour, populism or triumphalism in his words. His was a deep yearning to see our democracy maturing.

So what has happened to the democratic genie?

Today, images and messages are everywhere, they give us a glimpse of what lies ahead. Slowly and systematically our hard won freedom is being limited. The stranglehold is political, economic and geographic.

In Makhaza township in the Western Cape, the DA gave the poor its Hobson’s Choice – open toilets or continues the bucket system. “The choice is yours.”

This of course, was not about a provincial government that was willing to explore options with the citizens in the light of financial constraints. No, it was an open and direct display of contempt for the poor.

The DA is not alone in its contempt for the poor. In Bizana, Eastern Cape, people were forcibly removed from the “squalor” in which they lived, their shacks mowed down in an action reminiscent of the apartheid era. Yet some of the hands and brains behind the bulldozers this time were those of comrades with whom some of the community had once shared battle trenches.

For some, these were their sons and daughters, metaphorically and literally.

These shacks probably took a long time to put together. Squalid as they seemed, they were the only homes the people of this community had. The people were given no alternative accommodation as the law requires.

Municipal councils flout the very laws they are supposed to uphold and enforce. They do so unabashed because they know crimes against the poor are crimes for which they will not be held accountable or risk losing their jobs. Why should they?

The minister of human settlement, in a fit of populism, knocked on someone’s door and spent a night there, while the owner went to sleep with the neighbours. She hoped this unwanted intrusion was a small price to pay for the change that would be brought once the minister had “experienced” sleeping in the shack.

Well, things did not turn out that way. As soon as the cameras stopped clicking and ink of journalists had dried, Tokyo Sexwale promptly forgot about the tourist experience in the shack. It was only when people claimed their agency and began to protest and reminded the one- time, one-night visitor of their existence that the minister went back.

He partly remembered his word.

This is an era of short term mass appeal – camera, lights and action.

Even the President took time to help someone settle in a better home. We saw him unpacking the refrigerator, lounge suite, microwave and all, including, I hope electric vouchers.

The government with a human heart was in full swing.

Now, the other day, Sexwale described informal settlements as ugly eyesores and this was not for the first time. People live there wena, we muttered accusingly at the television screens, shaking our heads with embarrassment.

Why do people live in these conditions, we asked angrily pointing at the screen.

Look at what has become of this democratic genie.

Now, if the promise of the President to the National House of Traditional Leaders is realised, by December 2010 South Africa will have a dual legal system. The areas that were formally marked as “homelands” on the map before 1994 will be rezoned as “traditional communities”.

The Traditional Courts Bill is no Mickey Mouse law. We are Africans, are we not? In the name of restoring our cultural dignity and honouring the wise ways of our forebears, “traditional” leaders will decide on economic development and even hear criminal cases and disputes and much more. For the subjects in traditional communities, the magistrates’ courts will not be courts of first instance.

Reading the draft Traditional Courts Bill the question arises, why should people in these communities vote in the forthcoming local government elections? The municipal and local government system has nothing to do with these communities. There leadership and governance are predetermined. So, what will they be voting for?

Everywhere, we see images of a troubled land and its people. The dream lies smouldering in the grave, says the poet.

The gap between grandiloquent statements, cameo appearances amid the drama of poor people’s lives and the real lived experiences of a world shrunken by poverty and the indifference of the powerful is becoming wider by day.

Freedom will only have any real meaning if citizens claim it for themselves. This requires careful and deliberate building of a promised nation. Freedom is earned every day. Only then, shall we find that democratic genie which we will have to continually protect.

Nomboniso Gasa is a researcher, writer and columnist on gender, politics and cultural issues