ZACF Statement of Solidarity with Sebokeng Community Struggle

On Tuesday morning, 14th of August, over 1000 community members from Sebokeng’s “informal settlement” attempted to blockade the Golden Highway between Sebokeng and Johannesburg in protest at the ANC government’s inadequate service delivery since its election in 1994.

The police arrived in numbers and fired randomly at the community members, allegedly with live ammunition, seriously injuring 6 people and injuring others, including small children.

Thirty-five people were then arrested and taken to the Sebokeng police station, and are being charged with public violence and illegal gathering. When leaders of the Anti-Privatisation Forum and Coalition Against Water Privatisation, under whose banner the protest was held, arrived at the police station to enquire about the situation and try and have their comrades released nine of them were also arrested, for addressing a community gathering.

The fact that the SAPS police, under the ANC, can shoot with impunity at poor people who are merely attempting to have their most basic human rights met reminds one of the Apartheid era police. And it only goes to prove that all governments, even those democratically elected, soon turn on those they are supposed to represent, in order to defend their newly acquired wealth, power and privilege. We know very well by now that the ANC is not concerned with providing for the majority of the population in South Africa and delivering on the promises that got the ANC into power, but that it is only concerned with making a profit out of the people, and further enriching the already disgustingly rich new back elite. Even if it means charging the poorest of the poor for the most basic necessities and essential human rights such as electricity and water, which are laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which South Africa is one of the signatory states, as well as in the ANC People’s Charter.

We make take the following stand:

1. We are absolutely disgusted by the ANC leaders, who flagrantly flaunt their wealth in the face of so many poor and hungry people. We are equally disgusted by the police responsible for this atrocity, who have once again shown us that their role is not that of serving and protecting the people, but serving and protecting the interests of big business and capital.

2. We are encouraged and inspired by this bold action by the people of Sebokeng which, by sabotaging the circulation of goods and obstructing the flow of money, struck at that which the government – through the police – most wishes to protect, big business and capital. It is important to note that these protests come only after years of the community having exhausted all legal means – including ANC Alliance channels – to have their voices heard.

3. We wholeheartedly support the poor communities of the Vaal, and all those across South Africa, who are struggling for their basic rights. We are not convinced, however, that the ANC government, or any other for that matter, will ever adequately deliver to the people. But we support these struggles nevertheless as necessary for building the confidence and power for a larger struggle. The struggle for total liberation, that is, the struggle for the people to own and control all the industries and the land, for them to be in control of the communities the live in, and to have power to decide over all that which affects them.

4. The ZACF – which has done numerous workshops in Sebokeng, and has good relations with community activists – calls on all our comrades around the world, and everyone who supports the struggle of the poor and working poor for a dignified existence, to please organise actions in solidarity with the struggling people of Sebokeng.

5. We call on everyone who can to picket South African embassies, as well as to send protest letters and make phone-calls to the Sedibeng District Council Mayor, Mr. Mlungisi Hlongwane, Media Liaison to Minister of Safety and Security Mr Trevor Bloem or to carry out any other actions you deem fitting to protest this atrocious act, and warn the ANC government against the course of action they have take. Which is to declare war on the poor, and decree a new form of Apartheid, social Apartheid, which excludes the poor from their rights to a dignified life.

In Solidarity with the struggling people of Sebokeng,
Jonathan Payn – Federation Secretary
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation