We Will Mark UnFreedom Day in Durban on 21 April

19 April 2024
Abahlali baseMjondolo press statement

We Will Mark UnFreedom Day in Durban on 21 April

 There is no freedom for the poor in South Africa. Thirty years after Nelson Mandela became president and we were told that freedom had come the poor and marginalised in shack settlements, hostels, white farms and former Bantustans have nothing to celebrate.

The rich have become richer and the poor have become poorer. Far more people live in shacks than in 1994. We remain landless and without work. Millions are without even the most basic services, such as water, sanitation and refuse removal. Millions are hungry. We continue to live in terrible violence. We continue to be violently repressed by the politicians, the police and private security companies. For thirty years our humanity has been vandalized in the name of freedom. The lives and dignity of the poor mean nothing in the eyes of the ANC.

The ANC serves an elite in the name of the people while continuing to oppress and repress the people. It continues to rob the people.

Under the ANC it has become a crime to be poor. We are taken as beneath the law, as people who can be robbed, assaulted, dispossessed and murdered with impunity. We regularly face illegal evictions at gunpoint and armed raids on our settlements. Rubbish is regularly dumped in our communities sending a clear message that we ourselves are seen as less than human, as rubbish.

Under the ANC we have paid the price for land and dignity in blood. Many of our comrades have been murdered by the police, private security and the izinkabi. Comrades in other struggles and organisations have also been killed. Striking miners were massacred in Marikana in 2012. The politic of blood must be brought to an end.

Our movement has been marking UnFreedom Day since 2006 when we decided to contest the lie that real freedom has been achieved. We refused to allow the politicians to bus us into the stadiums to tell us that we were free when it was clear that we are not free. On UnFreedom Day we insist that the struggle for land, housing and dignity continues, that the struggle for freedom continues. We also remember and celebrate our fallen comrades who have given their lives in the struggle for real freedom.

This year we will hold our annual Unfreedom Day rally at the eNkanini Sports Ground in Mayville, Durban, on 21 April 2024 at 9 am.

This year the focus of UnFreedom Day is on the 2024 General Elections and a question that has become urgent: ‘How can we use our vote as a tactical tool to advance the interests of the poor and marginalised?’.

We will present The People’s Minimum Demands, a list of twenty minimum demands that we have put to all the parties seeking our vote. These demands come out of a process of collective discussion including thousands of people in hundreds of meetings.

We will also make a special announcement on the position of the movement regarding the General Elections on 29 May. We are clear and unashamed that we want the ANC removed from power. The ANC has kept us poor, denied us land and dignity, stolen from the poor and killed us when we have stood up for our humanity. It must be removed.

We are calling on the progressive organisations of the impoverished, the marginalised and the working class to join us at this very important gathering as we reject fake freedom. We will not be able to overcome oppression if we are not united and strong. We will not be able to overcome oppression if we do not build the democratic power of the oppressed from below. We will not be able to develop and manage a credible electoral instrument for the oppressed if we are not organised from below at a mass scale.

We will not be free until the question of land is resolved in our country, and until it is resolved in the interests of the majority.

Land, wealth and power must be fairly shared, and the dignity of all people must be respected.

Thapelo Mohapi 084 576 5117
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274
Zandile Nsibande 073 611 8279