It has been just over five years since the South African state massacred thirty-four striking miners under the washed out blue of a winter afternoon. That event has come to mark a decisive rupture in the standing of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa and abroad.
During the mass struggles of the 1980s the ANC came, for many people, to be entwined with the very idea of the nation and its aspirations. But five years after the massacre there is a general sense that the vision of collective emancipation that was once widely thought to animate the ANC has collapsed. It has been replaced with a politics of brazen venality undergirded with organized dishonesty, slander and violence. The party, and the state it manages, are increasingly seen as more of a predatory excrescence on society than an expression of society – as a route to personal enrichment and a mechanism for exercising social control in a context of mass impoverishment and escalating dissent. Continue reading →
On May 11, Karabo Mokoena’s body, burnt and mutilated, was found in a ditch, discarded along with the ordinary detritus of our lives, in Lyndhurst, Johannesburg. Her name took a very public place, along with Anene Booysen, Reeva Steenkamp, Nokuphile Khumalo, Rachel Tshabalala, Nosipho Mandleleni and so many others, in the grim record of what our society does to women. Continue reading →
This chapter provides an account of some of the contestation around a landoccupation in Cato Manor, Durban. It shows that none of the actors aspiring toexercise control – party structures, the local state, the courts, NGOs and popularorganisations – were, in the period under study, able to exercise full control over thepeople or territory in question. It also shows that actually existing forms of contestationfrequently operated outside the limits established by liberal democratic arrangements
Published in The Mercury as ‘The Dynamics of Informal Housing’ on 12 December 2015.
The Transit Camp is a Form of Social Control
Development is often held up as the answer to some of our most pressing social problems. Corruption is often seen as a key threat to attaining the efficient ‘delivery’ of developmental gains. But development and corruption are often – although of course not always – phenomena best understood as strategies for securing political containment. Continue reading →