We Reject the Poisonous Politic of Division

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement


Unyawo Alunampumulo

A person is a person where ever they find themselves.

Our movement has a proud history of taking a clear and strong stand against xenophobia. Our movement has always been open to everyone who lives in the shacks and agrees with our politic. We ask people many questions before they join our movement. But we have never asked someone what country they were born in before welcoming them into our struggle. A neighbour is a neighbour no matter where they were born. A comrade is a comrade no matter where they were born or what language they speak. During the xenophobic attacks in May 2008 we insisted that a person is a person where ever they may find themselves. We insisted that South African belongs to all who lives in it. We took a decision to shelter and defend anyone under attack. We acted on that decision. There were no xenophobic attacks in any settlement affiliated to our movement.

We were so sad to hear about the xenophobic attack in the Jika Joe shack settlement in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday. It brought back very painful memories of the attack on our movement in Kennedy Road in September 2009 as well as the xenophobic attacks around the country in May 2008. We used to have members in the Jika Joe settlement but it was not possible to form a branch there due to the serious intimidation from the shack lord who runs the settlement. She gives shelter to criminals in exchange for their support for her authority. It was been impossible to organise freely in this settlement. However we are making contact with our old comrades there to see what can be done.

We have discussed this matter at our meeting today and we wish to make it clear that we will mobilise against xenophobia in all of our branches. In every branch we will continue with our commitment to shelter and defend anyone from another country who is under attack.

We are also deeply concerned about the notorious Phumlani Mfeke and his Mazibuye Africa Form. We also discussed Mfeke at our meeting today. This man, this rich man, justifies his poisonous anti-Indian politics in the name of African shack dwellers. We have never met this man or anyone from his organisation. He does not speak for us. We reject his poisonous politics of division completely.

Many Indian people are as poor as anyone else in this country. We have Indian members in our movement. We have lived together and struggled together. We have faced repression together and won victories together. We have been together in camps, in marches and funerals. Some of our closest comrades who struggled with us when we first built our movement are Indian people. In Clare Estate our movement has recently formed an alliance with the mostly middle class and Indian ratepayer’s association to work together to build a Clare Estate for all.

We are against all forms of discrimination. We are against discrimination by Indian people towards African people and we are against discrimination by African people towards Indian people.

We are against all corruption. It makes no difference to us whether Shauwn Mpisane or Jay Singh is doing the corruption.

We are against all repression. It has never made any difference to us whether the name of the person who is repressing us is Nayager or Mnganga.

We are against all concentrations of land, wealth and power. It makes no difference to us whether we are struggling against Ricky Govender or Mzi Ngiba.

We stand for a fair distribution of wealth, land and power. We stand for the right to the city for everyone. It makes no difference to us whether a poor person is Indian, African or any other race. A neighbour is a neighbour. A comrade is a comrade. That is our politic.

The rich will always try to divide the poor to make us weak. The rich will always try to mobilise us for their own agendas. We will stand firm against the politic of division.

A person is a person where ever they find themselves.

South Africa belongs to all who live in it.


S’bu Zikode 083 547 0474

Bandile Mdlalose 084 557 5090

Thina Khanyile 078 289 1314

Mzwakhe Mdlalose 072 1328458