Abahlali to march against state repression, threats and assassinations

Friday, 5 October 2018
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement

Abahlali to march against state repression, threats and assassinations

On Monday 8 October Abahlali baseMjondolo will march against repression in Durban. There will be solidarity protests in Cape Town, Johannesburg and New York.

Since our movement was founded in 2005 we have faced waves of repression including assault, arrest, torture in police custody, organised campaigns of slander, the destruction of our homes, death threats, the murder of our members during protests and evictions, and the targeted assassination of our leaders. The price for land and dignity has been paid in blood. 

This repression comes from a very clear source – the ANC. The Anti-Land Invasion Unit and the police are part of the state that is controlled by the ANC. When we were attacked by the ANC in Kennedy Road in 2009 the police supported the attack, and the criminal justice system was grossly misused to support the attack. Senior ANC politicians like Willies Mchunu supported the attempt to drive us out of Kennedy Road with violence. This was not an isolated instance. In 2013 it was widely reported that the assassination of Nkululeko Gwala took place hours after public threats were made against him by another senior ANC politician, Sibongiseni Dhlomo.

Usually the threats against our comrades, and the assassinations that sometimes follow these threats, come from local ANC councillors. They use the izinkabi (hitmen) to carry out the assassinations. It is clear that the local councillors understand that they get their permission to make these threats, and to hire the izinkabi to do their dirty work, from the statements made by senior ANC politicians. We have noted the increase in threats following recent statements made by Zandile Gumede and Nelly Nyanisa.

After long struggle we have secured convictions in two cases. Two ANC councillors and their gun man are now serving life imprisonment for the assassination of Thuli Ndlovu, our chairperson in KwaNdengezi, in 2014. A police officer is serving a ten year sentence for the murder of Nqobile Nzuza, who was 17 years old at the time of her death, in Cato Crest.

Last year we lost four comrades. So far this year we have lost two comrades with S’fiso Ngcobo being the latest to be killed . He was murdered by three gunmen in Marianhill on the 22 May 2018. There has never been any arrest for Ngcobo’s murder. In fact it is clear that there has been no investigation. Just like many other comrades he was killed with impunity.

On the 12 June the Mayor of Durban and the Chief Whip in the eThekwini council made open threats to our movement and our leader S’bu Zikode. The police officers who confirmed that a hit had been planned on Zikode’s life have done nothing to protect him. Zikode’s car has been tampered with on two occasions and he has been forced into hiding. In the Eastern Cape our chairperson Fano Mathumbu, and two of Abahlali’s secretaries, have all had to go in hiding after Inkosi Thulani Mjanyelwa was killed in broad day light by a gang. When the killers were taken to court they were supported by people in ANC t-shirts.

Nobody in government has taken these killing seriously. We have appeared before the Moerane Commission which was set up to investigate political killing in KwaZulu-Natal to give testimony but that has not helped us. The Interministerial Committee instituted by President Ramaphosa to look at the political killings has not included Abahlali in its investigation. It is only concerned about the killings within the ruling party.
In June this year we wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister Bheki Cele about all this. We received no cooperation from them.

We have laid charges of against those who intimidate us and those who threaten us with death.

The repression that we have faced, and continue to face, places huge strain on our movement, and on families and individuals. The ANC have exploited the fact that we are being forced to operate in crisis mode to try and infiltrate our movement. They have not succeeded. Open democratic practices, and especially open assemblies in which everyone can speak freely, are our best defence against infiltration.

The ANC in Durban operates like a mafia. There is no distinction between criminality and politics. The rest of the country needs to understand this clearly and to face this directly.

We will march against the violence against our movement and our leaders, and all other activists, in Durban on Monday, 8 October 2018. We will gather at Curries Fountain (DUT) from 8 am then march into the city centre where a memorandum of demands will be handed over at the Durban City Hall at 12pm. The march in Durban will be supported by organised street traders, including the Market Users Committee, as well as Ubunye Bamahostela, the Congolese Solidarity Campaign and comrades from the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (NUMSA) and the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU).

Solidarity marches have been organised by our comrades in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Our comrades in New York City in the United States will protest at the South African High Commission.

We have written to President Ramaphosa and the Minister of Police to receive our memorandum.

We will demand an end to violence against our movement and all other struggling communities. We will demand the right to free and democratic organising outside of the ANC. We will demand that all the murders of our comrades be properly investigated. We will demand that all threats made by councillors, as well as the Mayor, be investigated. And, yes, we will demand that our leaders in hiding be protected.

For comment from Abahlali baseMjondolo contact:

Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274
Zanele Mtshali 062 437 9077
Thapelo Mohapi 072 072 0686

For comment from the Market Users Committee contact: Verushka Memdutt on 083 311 6397

For comments from the CBD Street Traders contact Richard Shezi on 072 324 0461

For comment from the Congolese Solidarity Campaign contact Raphael Bahebwa on 063 152 4082

For comment from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) contact Phakamile Hlubi-Majola on 083 376 7725

For comment from the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) contact Khonzeni Mkhize on 084 447 3071

For comment on the solidarity protest in Johannesburg contact Thami on 062 624 5992.

For comment on the solidarity protest in Cape Town contact Bels on 067 145 8744