Category Archives: The Kennedy 12

The Struggle for Human Dignity Continues in the Shadow of Death

Friday, 12 February 2016

Abahlali basemjondolo press statement


The Struggle for Human Dignity Continues in the Shadow of Death

Life is always difficult in the shacks. If you are poor and black you can be killed with impunity. But it is not only the politicians and their izinkabi, or the police or private security companies that take our lives. We live in life threatening conditions every day. We die in the fires, from disease, drugs and crime. Our children die from diarrhoea. Our neighbours die because the roads next to the settlements are not made safe for pedestrians. The economy excludes us. The development of the cities excludes us. We are denied access to land, electricity, water, housing, education and work. We are also denied the right to participate in the discussions about the future of our society and in decision making about our lives and communities. Continue reading

Amnesty International 2012 South Africa Report

There were substantial improvements in access to treatment and care for people living with HIV. However, discriminatory factors still limited their access to HIV health services, particularly in rural areas. Discrimination and targeted violence against asylum-seekers and refugees occurred and policy changes reduced their access to the asylum system. Police used excessive force against protesters, and their misuse of lethal force remained a concern. Systematic hate-motivated violence against lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people began to be officially addressed. The National Assembly passed the Protection of State Information Bill, which threatened freedom of expression.

High levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment continued to fuel protests in poor urban communities. Local government authorities were often the targets of these protests because of corrupt practices or slow delivery of basic services. Some members of President Zuma’s government and senior police officials were dismissed or suspended pending investigations into alleged corruption. There was increasing concern that the conduct of state business was being affected by political tensions within the ruling African National Congress party linked to its 2012 national conference, in which the party’s new leadership will be elected. Significant rulings by the higher courts compelled the government to amend or reverse decisions affecting the independence and integrity of prosecution and investigation bodies. There was widespread opposition to proposed legislation curbing access to state information.
Top of page

Right to health – people living with HIV

An estimated 5.38 million people were living with HIV. The number of AIDS patients receiving antiretroviral treatment had increased to 1.4 million people by the end of June. This resulted from progress in implementing new policies and guidelines, including people being able to access treatment at an earlier stage of the disease and expanding access to treatment at the primary health clinic level.

Despite these improvements, discrimination still prevented many from accessing HIV-related health services, particularly people living in poor rural households. Their access to treatment or their ability to remain on treatment continued to be affected by the cost and unreliability of local transport systems and poor road infrastructure in rural communities. Food insecurity, as well as arbitrary processes and decision-making regarding people’s eligibility for support grants, were also important factors. Persistent patriarchal attitudes continued to affect rural women’s access to services and their autonomy in making decisions about their own sexual and reproductive health.
In October, the Ministry of Health launched a new Human Resources for Health Strategy. Its aims included solving the country’s critical shortage of public health care professionals, particularly in rural areas, which are home to 44 per cent of the population but served by less than 20 per cent of the country’s nurses and doctors.

On World AIDS Day on 1 December, following a national consultation led by the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), the government launched a new five-year National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis. The document was intended to guide the efforts of provincial governments and other institutions to achieve five main goals. These included ensuring access to antiretroviral treatment for at least 80 per cent of those needing it, reducing HIV-related social stigma and protecting the rights of people living with HIV.

In December, civil society organizations launched the National Health Insurance Coalition to campaign for adopting a scheme to reduce inequalities in access to health services.

Refugees and asylum-seekers

The government initiated potentially far-reaching changes to the asylum system, including access to asylum determination procedures. In May, the Department of Home Affairs closed the Johannesburg Refugee Reception Office following successful litigation for closure by local businesses. No alternative office was opened. All applicants for asylum or recognized refugees needing to renew their documents were directed to two existing and over-burdened refugee reception offices in Pretoria. In the following months, new or “transferred” applicants struggled to gain access to Home Affairs officials there. Some queued repeatedly from the early morning and were subjected to verbal abuse or beatings with sjamboks (whips) and batons by security personnel, according to evidence submitted in the North Gauteng High Court. Their inability to lodge applications or renew their documents left them at risk of fines, detention and direct or constructive refoulement.

On 14 December, the High Court found unlawful the decision not to open a new refugee reception office in Johannesburg, and ordered the Director General of Home Affairs to reconsider it and consult those most affected. Evidence had emerged during the court proceedings that the refusal to open a new office was linked to a government decision to move all asylum services to ports of entry. The case was brought by the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa and the Coordinating Body of the Refugee Communities, with the assistance of Lawyers for Human Rights. At the end of the year legal proceedings challenging the closure of the Port Elizabeth Refugee Reception Office were postponed until February 2012.

In August, the Department of Home Affairs stated that only Zimbabweans without valid immigration or asylum permits would be deported when the 2009 moratorium against deportations of Zimbabweans was lifted in September. However, when the moratorium ended, human rights organizations and the International Organization of Migration recorded incidents of refoulement and unaccompanied minors being deported without proper measures to protect them.

Violence and property destruction targeted against refugees and migrants occurred in many areas throughout the year. Local business forums appeared to be linked to many of the attacks. During May, over 60 foreign-owned shops were forcibly closed, looted or destroyed completely in different areas of Gauteng province and in the Motherwell area of Port Elizabeth. Police officers in the Ramaphosa informal settlement area near Johannesburg condoned or actively participated in the Greater Gauteng Business Forum’s action, including threatening non-nationals with violence and forcibly closing or removing property from their shops.

In many of these attacks, local police stations failed to call in reinforcements to stop the violence from spreading. However, despite the efforts of humanitarian and civil society organizations, by the end of the year the police authorities had still not set up a systematic and effective national strategy for preventing or reducing violence against refugees and migrants.
In October, police allegedly used excessive force during mass arrests of “suspected illegal foreign nationals” in Nyanga township, Cape Town, and verbally abused them as unwanted foreigners. Those affected included recognized refugees who had shown their documents to the police. One refugee from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who required medical treatment for his injuries, was actively obstructed from lodging a formal complaint against the police.

Death penalty

On 22 September, the High Court ruled in a case involving two Botswanan nationals that the government must not extradite individuals at risk of the death penalty, without first receiving written assurances from the requesting state that the accused will not face the death penalty under any circumstances. The state lodged an appeal against the ruling, which had not been heard by the end of the year.

On 15 December, at a ceremony to honour the memory of 134 political prisoners executed at Pretoria Central prison by the apartheid state, President Zuma reconfirmed his government’s commitment to abolition of the death penalty.

Deaths in custody and extrajudicial executions

The police oversight body, the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD), reported a 7 per cent decline between April 2010 and March 2011 in recorded deaths in custody and resulting from “police action”. However, KwaZulu-Natal province continued to have a high rate of such incidents, with more than one third of the recorded national total of 797 deaths.

Members of police special units, particularly Organized Crime, were implicated in incidents of suspicious deaths allegedly resulting from torture or extrajudicial executions. Victims’ families faced obstacles in accessing justice because of poor official investigations, lack of legal aid funds or intimidation. In December, media exposure of information about alleged assassinations by members of the Cato Manor Organized Crime Unit led the ICD to establish an investigation team to review the evidence.
No charges had been brought by the end of the year against police officers responsible for the death of 15-year-old Kwazi Ndlovu in April 2010. Forensic and other evidence indicated that the boy was lying on a couch in his home when he was shot and killed with high velocity rifles by police from the Durban Organized Crime Unit.

Excessive use of force

Police used excessive force against demonstrators protesting against corruption and the failure of local authorities to provide access to adequate housing and other basic services, including in Ermelo in March and in Ficksburg in April. ICD-led investigations and pre-trial proceedings against police officers charged with murder, assault and other offences were continuing at the end of the year.

In December, police officials announced restrictions on the police use of rubber bullets against protesters due to increased reports of serious injuries.
In April, Andries Tatane died after he was beaten with batons and shot with rubber bullets at close range by police in Ficksburg.

Torture and other ill-treatment

In May, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) Act became law, but it was not operational by the end of the year. Under the Act, the ICD’s original mandatory investigation obligations were expanded to include incidents of torture and rape by police. Police failure to report suspected incidents or obstruction of ICD/IPID investigations were made criminal offences.
In July, the National Commissioner of correctional services ordered an internal inquiry into the alleged torture of a prisoner by six prison officers using an electric shock stun device. A police investigation was also instituted, but no progress had been reported by the end of the year.

A draft law to make torture a criminal offence had not been presented in Parliament by the end of the year.

Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people

Hate-motivated violence, in particular against lesbian women, caused increasing public concern.

On 24 April, 24-year-old Noxolo Nogwaza was brutally murdered in KwaThema township. An active member of the Ekurhuleni Pride Organizing Committee (EPOC), she was raped, repeatedly stabbed and beaten to death. The police responsible for the investigation into her murder had made no progress by the end of the year, and no suspects had been arrested. EPOC began a campaign to have the case transferred to another police station.

In May, the Ministry of Justice announced the establishment of a government and civil society “Task Team” to seek solutions to preventing further such incidents. The Task Team was still meeting in November, but without clear results. There was also slow progress in the development of a draft law to prosecute hate crimes.

In December, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights organization, OUT Well-Being, gave expert evidence about the impact of hate crimes on victims and the wider community during the sentencing phase of a trial in the Germiston magistrate’s court. The defendants had been found guilty of assaulting a gay man and the court noted that the accused had been motivated by hatred and disrespect for gay people.

Human rights defenders

Harassment of human rights defenders and criminalization of their work continued. Those affected included journalists, staff from the Public Protector’s office, anti-corruption investigators and community-based organizations promoting economic and social rights.

In July, 12 supporters of the housing rights movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, were acquitted of all charges in the state’s case against them. These included murder, attempted murder and assault relating to violence in the Kennedy Road informal settlement in September 2009. In its ruling the court noted “numerous contradictions and discrepancies in the state’s case” and the lack of any reliable evidence to identify the accused. The court also found that police had directed some witnesses to point out members of Abahlali-linked organizations at the identification parade. At the end of the year, Abahlali supporters who were displaced after their homes were looted and destroyed in 2009 were still unable to return safely and rebuild their homes. In October, at a meeting with the Executive Mayor of the Ethekwini Metropolitan Municipality about this issue, a senior official allegedly threatened Abahlali’s president, S’bu Zikode, with violence. A police investigation into his criminal complaint against the official had made no progress by the end of the year.

Freedom of expression

In November, the Protection of State Information Bill was passed by the National Assembly and referred to the upper house of Parliament for consideration. The bill was opposed by a campaign involving hundreds of civil society organizations, including media. The bill’s provisions included minimum prescribed terms of imprisonment of from three to 25 years for a range of offences, including collecting or communicating or receiving classified state information or “harbouring” someone with such information. The bill did not include an explicit defence on the grounds of public interest, although a court could impose a lesser sentence if “substantial and compelling circumstances” existed. In response to the campaign, some changes were made to the bill before it was passed by the National Assembly, including making punishable the classification of state information deliberately to conceal unlawful acts by officials. Other concerns remained unaddressed.

Celebration of the 6th Anniversary of AbM

25 August 2011
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Celebration of the 6th Anniversary of Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement S.A.


Gogo Shange Speaking at the 6th Anniversary Celebration of Abahlali baseMjondolo


“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” Romans 8: 31-36

Continue reading

Kennedy Road 12 Freed on Mandela Day: Spurious Charges Seen as Politically Motivated

Kennedy Road 12 Freed on Mandela Day: Spurious Charges Seen as Politically Motivated

by Nigel Gibson

Abahlali baseMjondolo is the largest poor people’s movement to have emerged in post-apartheid South Africa. The movement has confronted considerable repression at the hands of the state since its formation in 2005. This repression came to a head on the night of September 27th 2009 when an armed mob, self-identifying as ANC supporters many of who were intoxicated, massed in the Kennedy Road settlement, launching an assault on its inhabitants. They framed their attack in ethnic terms, declaring Abahlali, a multi-racial and multi-ethnic organisation, to be a ‘Pondo organisation’.

The mob descended on the Community Hall where Abahlali youth were holding an all-night camp. And later the mob attacked individual homes looking for Abahlali members and saying openly that they were going to deal with the movement’s president and vice-president. The police were called; but they did nothing, turning a blind eye. The violence continued into the next day leaving two people dead. Up to a thousand people were driven out of the settlement. Clearly the police had their orders. At the provincial level the criminalization of Abahlali was already occurring and it seemed far from coincidental that the coup at Kennedy had been planned and went to the top of the provincial government as retaliation for the movement’s successful challenge to the province’s Slums Act; a challenge that was won in the constitutional court just a few days after the attack. [i] At the local level, Abahlali was violently purged from Kennedy Road. Democracy was replaced by ANC patronage; staying in the settlement required publicly demonstrating allegiance to the ANC. For months after the attack the homes of Abahlali members were brazenly looted and destroyed.

Abahlali, with the support of many others, called for an independent commission of inquiry that would examine all aspects of the violence. But the ANC instead set up a ‘task team’ that treated Abahlali as an illegitimate and criminal organisation and the police arrested 12 of its members on a range of charges relating to the attack including murder.

Almost two years later the magistrate, Sharon Marks, threw out the whole case saying that the charges against the 12 were baseless. She described the state’s witnesses as ‘dishonest’, but it was on their apparent evidence that five of the 12 accused had been denied bail for a year and suffered in the notoriously brutal Westville prison. Abahlali knew they had been set up and they knew the twelve were innocent; but a politically motivated campaign aided by paid and unpaid hacks for the provincial state and its political patronage machine launched a major disinformation campaign aimed at discrediting Abahlali.

Most of the time the left in South Africa does very little to effect change or promote the rights of those living in astounding poverty, seventeen years after Nelson Mandela’s historic election. But what is shocking is when leftists who are supposed to have a theoretical understanding of politics, uncritically support the state’s criminalization of a grassroots political movement of poor people, and give credence to the lies perpetuated by local political entrepreneurs and the police. When the Bishop of KwaZulu-Natal, Rubin Philip and the distinguished historian Jeff Guy, among others, called for an independent inquiry into what had happened at Kennedy Road, they were accused in the Durban press of supporting the murder of innocents. It meant that a real investigation into the violent attack on Abahlali could be brushed aside while the perpetrators of the violence went free and the real circumstances of the deaths of the two men went unexamined.

While the authoritarian edge of the left had sentenced Abahlali in the court of public opinion, the state was not able to present any credible evidence against any of the accused at the trail. The state could not find a single reliable witness to testify against the accused. And Witness X, who had pointed out the accused in an identity parade, said in court that she was only pointing out people who had been part of an imfeme dance group and that three statements written down at the police station against the accused were false. She added that she had actually seen three other men involved in the stabbings and would be prepared to testify against them if they were charged.[ii]

The magistrate concluded that the witnesses against the 12 were belligerent and contradictory, and she voiced concern that they had been coached. So the Kennedy Road 12 were freed, but they had been robbed of two years of their lives, as well as their homes and livelihoods. It is clear that we need an independent enquiry to uncover the truth of what happened.

Much of the time, criminal acts against the poor are not even prosecuted or at the very least is delayed. And on the other hand, the time and money needed to prove means that often the courts are stacked against poor people. In the case of the Kennedy 12, without the support of Church organizations, human rights and other grass roots organizations as well as academics around the world, justice would have been denied. The Kennedy 12 were represented in court by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI) whose executive director, Jackie Dugard, said after the verdict that ‘It has been clear for some time that the Kennedy Road accused were charged not because they had done anything wrong, but because they were associated with Abahlali’. She went on to say that the verdict was not only ‘a complete vindication of Abahlali’ but ‘raises worrying questions about police complicity in attempts to repress Abahlali’s legitimate and lawful activities on behalf of poor and vulnerable people living in informal settlements across South Africa’.

The case was thrown out on Mandela day 2011. The day commemorates Mandela’s sacrifice and struggle and what he called his ‘long walk for freedom’. But in post-Apartheid South Africa, political repression continues. ‘We will be celebrating our daily Mandela day,’ said Abahlali who don’t need to be taught about the class nature of the state: ‘This is what the state can do. It can take you out of your home, away from your work and lock you up in a place … where you are regularly beaten. It can do this to you with no evidence against you and with no apology … we don’t enjoy the so-called “freedom” that we are always being told to celebrate’. This, Abahlali continued is ‘the lie of our democracy, the democracy that serves the interest of the few, while the majority of us live in deep poverty.’

Conditions at Kennedy Road have deteriorated and the ANC promises about ‘development’ remain unmet. Against the attacks on those who resist repression Abahlali remains defiant, ‘we will beat you in the streets and in the courts.’ Reminiscent of the wonderful poem by Shelley, ‘the mask of anarchy’, they conclude, ‘we are many and have proven to the world that we have the courage to stand together and to face repression and lies … our Movement will move forward without any fear of any thuggery from any politician. We will continue to be together and to find courage in our unity’.

Nigel C. Gibson is a visiting research fellow at the School of Development Studies, University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa and author of Fanonian Practices in South Africa: From Steve Biko to Abahlali baseMjondolo.

[i] . See Nigel Gibson and Raj Patel, “Democracy’s everyday death: South Africa’s quiet coup,”

[ii] A full transcript of the trial is available at

Daily News: ANC cannot be seen as a democratic force

Click here to read the article in pdf.

ANC cannot be seen as a democratic force

Richard Pithouse

At about 10.30 on the evening of September 26, 2009, a group of armed men, about 100, many of them clearly drunk, began moving through the thousands of homes in the Kennedy Road shack settlement in Clare Estate.

They knocked on some doors and kicked others in. They identified themselves as ANC supporters and as Zulus, and made it plain that their enemies were leading members of the shack dwellers’ movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, who they described as Pondos.

They demanded that some men join them and assaulted others.

Those who refused to join them were also assaulted. The entirely false conflation of Abahlali baseMjondolo, an organisation that is admirably diverse at all levels, with an ethnic minority in the city emerged out of an attempt to cast the organisation as a front for Cope.

Cope had often been presented in ethnic terms in Durban at a time when mobilisation in support of Jacob Zuma was taking on an overtly ethnic form.

Abahlali baseMjondolo had long been accused of being an ANC front in IFP areas but is, in fact, firmly independent from all political parties.

As the attackers continued their rampage through the settlement, the conflation of Abahlali baseMjondolo with an ethnic minority resulted in violence that was both politically and ethnically organised.

The police, usually ready to swoop on shack dwellers in spectacular fashion at a moment’s notice, failed to respond to numerous and desperate calls for help.


Most of the people under immediate threat hid or fled, but as the night wore on, some people tried to defend themselves. At times this was organised in terms of a defensive ethnic solidarity.

By the next morning two people were dead. One, who died with his gun in his hands, had been one of the leaders of the attack. The homes of the elected local committee affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo and those of a number of other prominent people had been destroyed and looted.

The ANC, which usually responds to the crisis of urban poverty with an unconscionable lethargy, moved into action with remarkable swiftness.

The local ANC seized control of the settlement from the elected structures that had governed it.

The provincial ANC organised an Orwellian media circus in the settlement where ANC members from elsewhere pretended to be “the community”. Wild and patently untrue allegations were made about Abahlali baseMjondolo.

The MEC for Safety and Security, Willies Mchunu, and the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Hamilton Ngidi, issued a statement declaring that the settlement had been “liberated”.

People without ANC cards were excluded from public life in the settlement and death threats were openly made against a large number of activists, with the result that Abahlali baseMjondolo was effectively banned in the settlement.

Thirteen people, all Xhosa speaking and all linked, in various ways, to Abahlali baseMjondolo, were pointed out by the local ANC as being responsible for the violence. They were arrested and charged with an astonishing array of crimes, including murder.

At least 1 000 people had to flee the settlement. More than 50 people and, in Durban, the previously public activities of a whole movement with more than 10 000 paid-up members in 64 settlements, had to go underground.

Abahlali baseMjondolo issued a widely supported call for the recently retired Chief Justice Pius Langa to head a judicial commission of inquiry that would carefully examine all aspects of the violence in the settlement.

This call was ignored. Instead the provincial government set up a high-level task team to investigate what it called “criminality”. In a series of thundering press statements, Mchunu sought to present Abahlali baseMjondolo as a criminal organisation.

“Let us not,” he insisted, “give crime fancy names, criminals are exactly that – criminals – and they must be treated as such.”

He declared that “I hate criminals” and called for communities to compile lists of “criminals”.


The task team began its work by summarily announcing that “the structure that is called Abahlali Base Mjondolo be dissolved” and then proceeded to invest its energies in trying to frame the men who had been arrested after the attack while allowing the open demolition and looting of the homes of Abahlali baseMjondolo activists to continue for months without consequence.

At the bail hearings of the men arrested after the attack, ANC supporters, some armed, came to court hearings where public death threats were openly issued.

The bail hearings were carried out in a way that was patently politicised and patently illegal.

The accused, who became known as the “Kennedy 12” after charges were withdrawn against one of them, were severely assaulted in prison.

The attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo didn’t come out of nowhere.

There had been an ANC meeting at the settlement at which it was said that S’bu Zikode, the national president of Abahlali baseMjondolo, had to be “chased from the area” because “the ANC couldn’t perform as it wanted”.

At the ANC regional general conference a week before the attack, the chairman of the eThekwini region, the late John Mchunu, warned against “counter revolutionaries… colluding with one mission to weaken the ANC and its alliance”.

Under the heading of “CRIMINAL”, his speech referred to Abahlali baseMjondolo as: “The element of these NGO who are funded by the West to destabilise us, these elements use all forms of media and poor people (sic).”

Before that there had been extremely violent assaults on Zikode and Lindela Figlan, the chairman of the Kennedy Road Development Committee.

Mzonke Poni, the chairman of the movement in Cape Town, had also been attacked.

The moment had been subject to sustained and often violent harassment by the police, between 2005 and 2007.

The attack on Kennedy Road was not the end of the repression confronted by the movement.

On November 14 that year the police attacked the Pemary Ridge settlement in Reservoir Hills, also affiliated to Abahlali baseMjondolo, kicking in doors, beating people and firing live rounds into the home of activist Philani Zungu.


Thirteen people were arrested and 15 were injured. All charges were eventually dropped against the 13.

The police have never had to account for the injuries to the 15.

On July 18, Mandela Day, the case against the Kennedy 12 was thrown out of court. No credible evidence had been brought against any of the accused on any charge and crystal clear evidence had emerged of the State’s attempt to frame the men.

Witnesses contradicted their original statements and each other and some freely admitted that the police had told them who to point out in the line-up. Credible testimony was given that statements to the police had been concocted by the police.

One witness admitted she was lying and others were obviously lying.

Another witness said she had been told to give false evidence but that she would not do so. She was subject to death threats and was attacked in her home and only saved by the quick reaction of her neighbours.

Another witness, a police officer, gave credible testimony that confirmed, in important respects, the Abahlali baseMjondolo account of events, including the fact that the violence in the settlement was an attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo by the ANC.

The State could not find, with both bribery and intimidation in its arsenal, a single witness to credibly attest to the veracity of the avalanche of propaganda issued by the ANC in the wake of the attacks.

The judge made some strong comments from the bench about the extremely dubious manner in which the case had been investigated and the obvious dishonesty on the part of the witnesses that stuck to the ANC line.

The ANC continues to deny, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, that its members organised the attack. Hopefully the civil case that Abahlali baseMjondolo is bringing against the police will allow some of that evidence to be tested in court.

But the ANC cannot deny that violence was used to drive activists from their homes, that their homes were openly destroyed and looted, and that death threats were openly issued against activists without any sanction from the police.

There is now a court record that shows clearly that the police investigation into the attack was a failed attempt to frame people linked to a social movement rather than an attempt to mount a fair investigation into the violence that began to occur in the Kennedy Road shack settlement in September 2009.

The ANC is also in no position to deny that its leading officials presented the largest social movement in the country as a criminal organisation without a shred of evidence to this effect, issued no statement of opposition to the violence and extreme intimidation directed against the leading activists in the movement and sought to summarily disband it by decree.

The time when it made sense to consider the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal as a democratic force has passed.

* Pithouse lectures politics at Rhodes University.