Abahlali to march to the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal to demand an end to state corruption, forced evictions and violence

Friday, 16 October 2020
Abahlali press statement

Abahlali to march to the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal to demand an end to state corruption, forced evictions and violence

We as Abahlali baseMjondolo, as umbutho wabampofu, exist because we have a great responsibility. A responsibility to our members, a responsibility to our country and the world at large. Covid-19 has taken the world by storm and has shocked us all. Many lives have been lost and many economies have collapsed.

Huge resources have been invested to fight this pandemic and protect lives.

However in South Africa many thugs in suits and ties at high levels of government have seen this crisis as an opportunity to enrich themselves. They have stolen vast amounts of public money in broad-day light. There have been shocking media reports that R25 million allocated by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development to provide food relief to the poor has gone missing. It is reported that this money was meant to provide food relief to about 88 000 people in distress, and yet only 1 026 people benefited. We are not just calling for the investigation and prosecution of the culprits. We also demand that the Department of Social Development recover the money and redirect it to people who are still in need of food relief. 

It is a well-known fact that former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede is alleged to have corrupted almost R430 million rand from a Durban Solid Waste tender. It is now reported that at least R700 million rand meant to provide water and sanitation has also gone missing within the eThekwini Water and Sanitation unit. This is very disturbing. It exposes our communities to greater health danger. It robs our communities of the potential to develop and improve living conditions. It denies our communities the right to life. The act of corruption in the middle of pandemic should be viewed as an attempted murder and the culprits should be charged as such.

While we welcome all the arrests and swift action taken by law agencies against the politicians and officials who have looted public funds in this crisis. But we still feel we have the responsibility to assist and to expose corruption at municipal level. We simply cannot keep quite when more than R2 billion is lost from the eThekwini Municipality while millions cannot to suffer without basic service. We are disturbed by the silence of the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs with regard to this massive corruption. What happened to Manase report which reported that billions of Rands in the City were looted without anyone being held accountable?

Violent forced evictions during the State of National Disaster have displaced hundreds of families. The state decided to wage a war on its poorest citizens in the middle of deadly pandemic. We demand all that have been displaced during the State of National Disaster be reinstated on their lands. We demand that they be compensated for the destruction of their property. We demand that all the municipal officials and private security workers who engaged in violence during the evictions be held accountable for their actions. We demand, also, that the positive role of land reform from below, and grassroots urban planning be recognised, and that we swiftly towards the decommodification of land.

The economic crisis has seen huge numbers of people losing their jobs, deepening poverty and inequality, and growing anxiety, anger and hate. This has manifested itself into gender-based violence. It has manifested itself into xenophobia and multiple forms violence against the most vulnerable groups in our society including LGBTIQ+ communities. We call on the state and all progressive forces to join us as we unite to expose and isolate these crimes of hate. We call on all progressive forces to work together to build a politic of solidarity.

The march will be held on Monday, 19 October in Durban. We are going to assembly at King Dinuzulu Park, on the corner Berea and Umbilo Road at 9:00am and proceed to the Durban City Hall. The Memorandum will be received by both the Premier of the province, Mr Sihle Zikalala and KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Coorporate Governance and Traditional Affairs Mr Sipho Hlomuka.


Busiswe Diko: 060 305 8224
Lindokuhle Mnguni: 081 491 4027
Nhlakanipho Mdiyata: 073 2838080
Ayanda Ngila: 067 983 3345