Yesterday Abahlali baseMjondolo presented to the Human Rights Commission in Johannesburg. This is the statement that was sent to the Commission in advance of the hearings.
12 February 2015
Statement for the Human Rights Commission Hearings Relating to Access to Housing, Local Government and Service Delivery
We first met on the 5th of January 2015 to begin the process of developing a response to the questions asked by the Human Rights Commission and we concluded the process on the 12th of February 2015.
We note that we have been invited to the hearings as a civil society organisation. We would like to begin by stating that we do not identify ourselves as a civil society organisation. Mostly when people talk about civil society what they mean is NGOs. Most NGOs have no members and no mandate to represent anyone. When NGOs are taken to represent the people in the name of civil society this is one more way of excluding oppressed people from important spaces and discussions. Some NGOs are as hostile to democratic membership based peoples’ organisations as the worst elements in the state. We are also not a political party. We are a democratic membership based movement of shack dwellers and other poor people (umbutho wabantu). We currently have twenty two branches in good standing in KwaZulu-Natal, and one in Cape Town, and just over 11 000 individual members in good standing. The government, and some NGOS, have always been saying that our movement will not exist in a year’s time. They are always excitedly announcing the death of our movement. But this year we will be celebrating ten years of our existence. Continue reading
Thursday, 06 November 2014
Abahlali baseMjondolo joint press statement with the Durban Congolese refugee community
Abahlali baseMjondolo and the Durban Congolese Refugee Community to March on Saturday
We do not count to this society and this world. We can be driven from our homes, beaten, tortured and murdered with impunity. We are placed outside of citizenship and even humanity. When we insist on our dignity, when we take our place in the cities and in the discussions and when we resist the violence that constantly rains down on us like an endless storm we are shown to the world as criminals. We are expected to suffer and die in silence. We are expected to leave a world for our children in which their only future is suffering. We are not alone in having to live under this cruelty. In Palestine, in Haiti, in the Congo and in the favelas of Brazil and the gecekondus of Turkey it is the same.
It is our responsibility to build a new politic, a politic that respects the dignity of all people, a politic that restores the land and wealth of the world to the people, a politic in which there are no people that can be freely driven from their homes and freely killed, a politic in which everyone counts. Continue reading
Aftermath of a road blockade organised in defence of the Marikana Land Occupation, Cato Crest, 22 June 2014
by Jane Duncan
The South African Constitution guarantees the right to assemble, demonstrate and picket. But to what extent are South Africans able to practise this right?
Research undertaken into 12 municipalities suggests that, although this right is still being largely respected, there are signs that it is being eroded.
My research was precipitated by a pilot project on the Rustenburg municipality’s response to protests. The research found that, in 2012, the year that industrial protests peaked in the platinum belt, the municipality banned 53% of them, largely on the grounds that they were not recognised by the Regulation of Gatherings Act, which gives effect to the right.