Today Even More of us are S’bu Zikode

7 October 2013

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Today Even More of us are S’bu Zikode

Our movement has faced serious repression since it was formed in 2005. Our protests have been banned, they have been attacked by the police, we have been arrested on trumped up charges, beaten in the police stations, driven form our homes, tortured and murdered.

We have always made it clear that we want to negotiate with the government, that we want to bring the people to the government and the government to the people. But it is clear that the politicians prefer a politic of violence to a politic of negotiation.

This year three people have been murdered in Cato Crest, two others have been shot, a number have beaten by the police and others have been evicted over and over again. Politicians, from the local councillor of the chairperson of the party in eThekwini have made death threats. One of the people who has been threatened is Bandile Mdlalose. She has harmed no-one and has not destroyed anyone’s home yet she is in Westville Prison denied bail. Another person who has been threatened is S’bu Zikode. Strange men are coming to his home at all hours looking for him. The same men are searching the taxi ranks for him. Journalists are phoning him to report that they have been told all kinds of lies about him by powerful people.

S’bu Zikode has been subject to serious repression before. He has been beaten by party thugs. He has been beaten by the police. He has had his home destroyed by party thugs. In 2009 he had to go underground for some months due to all the threats of assassination that were being made. The statements made by Willies Mchunu, MEC for Safety and Security in the province, and Nigel Gumede, head of housing in the eThekwini Municipality after the attack on our movement in Kennedy Road in 2009 made it clear that they supported the politic of violence. In 2011 Nigel Gumede publicly threatened S’bu Zikode.

S’bu Zikode is not making us to rebel. It is the condition of our lives that is making us rebel. It is evictions, transit camps, shack life with its rats, mud and fires, the brutality of the land invasions unit and the police, politicians that only talk to us before elections and then ignore us and the repression of our movement that is making us rebel. It is our eviction from this democracy that is making us to rebel.

We also want to express our concern about the article on our movement published by the Sunday Tribune. In this article it is said that we are funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Broadway Cares Foundation, the Equity Fight Foundation, the Calamus Foundation, the Charles Stuart Mott Foundation, the Cobble Creek Foundation and the European Climate Foundation. We have never been funded by any of these organisations or even met with them. It may be that the newspaper is confusing us with Shack Dwellers’ International – an international NGO that is also funded by the South African state and is an official partnership with the South African government. We expect the newspaper to acknowledge its error and to publish a retraction.

But we are deeply concerned by the fact that his newspaper has decided to publish a photograph of S’bu Zikode’s home and thereby to make his address known. Everyone in Durban knows that S’bu Zikode’s shack in Kennedy Road was destroyed by ANC supporters in 2009 and that he has been subject to public death threats on a number of occasions. Everyone in Durban knows that two housing activists have already been assassinated in Durban this year.

Any newspaper has a right to enquire into our funding and we will always be happy to answer such questions honestly. We have always been open about money and we will continue to be so. However when a newspaper decides to show the home of a person that has been threatened with murder, and who has already had their home destroyed and looted once, at a time when political assassinations are taking place this is a deeply irresponsible decision. S’bu Zikode and his family will now have to flee this home with immediate effect and the movement will, one again, have to find a safe place for him to stay.

It was the movement that took a decision that S’bu Zikode should move out of a shack because we needed him to be in a safer place. When his home was attacked in 2009 and he was threatened with death the police refused to intervene. The least that we could so was to make sure that he could be moved to a safer place. In this we were supported by human rights organisations and churches. It is no crime for a person to move from a shack and into rented accommodation in a place where they will be safer. In fact we always try and secure safe houses for any member that is under threat of assassination and we will continue to do so. It would be grossly irresponsible for any newspaper to publish the details of any safe house.

Despite the repression our movement is stronger than ever before. Thousands of us can march on the City Hall. We can organise road blockades 500 strong around the city. The police can beat us, shoot us, arrest us and we are back on the streets the next day. The Land Invasions Unit can demolish our homes and we rebuild them the next day. We have thousands of members and supporters. We have shown our determination. We have shown that we will not give into intimidation. This morning eight of branches organised road blockades around the city including Clare Estate, Isipingo, Mayville, Shallcross Siyanda and Umlazi. There were five arrests. Our protests will continue until our comrades are released and the City responds to the memoranda that we delivered to them on our march of thousands on 16 September.

We call on all our comrades around South Africa and around the world to take urgent action in solidarity with us and against the repression we are facing. We call on all comrades to support our call for the authorities in Durban to cease their violent repression of our movement; to clearly condemn the violence of the police, the Land Invasions Unit, the party thugs and the assassins and negotiate rather than repressed the organised poor; to act against those that have perpetrated this violence and embrace a democratic politic, a politic of negotiation.

This morning we will be going to the Durban Magistrate’s court to support Bandile Mdlalose and we will be going to the court in Umlazi to support Themba Msomi, Thembeka Sondaba & Fikiswa Mgoduka.

We wish to make it clear to the ANC, to the country and to the world that we all stand with S’bu Zikode. We are all S’bu Zikode.

Our struggle is just and it will continue.


Mnikelo Ndbankulu 081 309 5485

Bheki Simelane 078 598 9491

Note: This statement was slightly edited after it was issued to make it clear that the Sunday Tribune published a picture of the house where S'bu Zikode is renting acommodation. Those who know the area will easily be able to recognise the house, and therefore to know the address, from the picture. The paper did not publish the actual address of the house. Arrangements have had to be made for the Zikodes to move to a new safe house. Our concern at the decision to publish a picture of the Zikodes' home at a time when activists are being assassinated and so many threats have been made to Zikode is unchanged.



Sunday Tribune article (pdf)

Sunday Tribune article (jpg)

One thought on “Today Even More of us are S’bu Zikode

  1. Pingback: Heute sind noch mehr von uns S’bu Zikode | klassentreffen

Comments are closed.