Solidarity from our comrades in the United States

Statement of Solidarity with Abahlali baseMjondolo: Freedom for Mqapheli Bonono & Siniko Miya

Earlier this week in South Africa, Mqapheli Bonono and Siniko Miya, members of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) or the Shackdwellers Movement, were arrested on false charges of “conspiracy to commit murder.” Bonono is the movement’s Deputy President and an important political figure in South Africa.

Abahlali baseMjondolo is the most significant poor people’s movement to have emerged in post-apartheid South Africa. Over 15 years of struggle, Abahlali baseMjondolo has faced unrelenting repression, attacks, and threats against the leadership and members of the movement – including campaigns of well-organized slander and hundreds of wrongful arrests. As many as ten of its members have been assassinated in the past five years among numerous other acts of violence, some of it fatal, by the police and the South African state. 

The arrest of Mqapheli Bonono and Siniko Miya is a shameful and terrible misuse of the power of arrest by South Africa’s police. An actual murder was used to fabricate a false case. It is another crude frame-up, another political plot against the movement, and one more incident in a long history of activists being arrested on entirely trumped-up charges.

Since its inception, Abahlali baseMjondolo has been a model of the democratic self- organization of the poor, putting human dignity over profit and elite contempt, and holding elected officials accountable for fulfilling their obligation to the country’s poor. Through their work, they have inspired and collaborated with movements of the poor and dispossessed around the world.

We declare our full solidarity with Abahlali baseMjondolo and call for South African authorities to drop all charges. Mqapheli Bonono and Siniko Miya must be released immediately!

ANSWER Coalition

Border Agricultural Workers Project

CodePink: Women for Peace

General Baker Institute

Kairos Center for Religions, Rights and Social Justice

Michigan Welfare Rights Union

National Union of the Homeless

Party for Socialism and Liberation

The People’s Forum

Popular Education Project

Put People First! Pennsylvania

Union de Vecinos

University of the Poor

Vermont Workers’ Center