Ten Thousand to March on S’bu Ndebele in Protest at eMacambini Evictions

Tuesday, 25 November 2008
eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee Press Statement

Ten Thousand to March on S’bu Ndebele in Protest at eMacambini Evictions

Date: Wednesday 26 November 2008
Time: 10:00
Route: From Isithebe airstrip to the Mandeni Municipal Offices

At least ten thousand people are expected to march on KwaZulu-Natal Premier S’bu Ndebele tomorrow morning. A memorandum will be handed to the Premier warning him to immediately retract his plans to evict 10 000 families from eMacambini and to cease his collaboration with new forms of colonialism.

The march has been organised by the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee which has been formed by the eMacambini Development Committee which has been democratically elected by the community. The eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee is rejecting all forms of party politics.

eMacambini stretches over 19 000 hectares of coastal land. It is a very beautiful place. The soil is rich and the land is fertile. Our ancestors have lived here for generations and they have always defended this land against every threat. Their graves are on this land.

S’bu Ndebele has promised 16 500 hectares to Ruwaad Holdings from Dubai so that they can build a playground for the rich of the world including the AmaZulu World Themepark, a shopping mall eight times the size of the Gateway mall hotels, a game reserve, six golf courses, residential areas, sports fields and a R200 million 100m high statue of Shaka Zulu at the Thukela river mouth. They will take the beach from the Thukela River past the Amatikulu river until Dodokweni.

The plans hatched by Ndebele and Ruwaad will result in the forced removal of 10 000 families from their land. Those that qualify for housing subsidies will be resettled in tiny RDP houses in a 500 hectare township near Mandeni. Even if you have a big house now you will be forced into a tiny RDP house. Those that do not qualify for housing subsidies will be left homeless and they will have to fend for themselves. More than 300 churches as well as 29 schools and 3 clinics will also be lost. The government statistics say that there is 40% unemployment here in eMacambini. What they don’t understand is that 25% of the people here are not willing to go to work and want to be the bosses of themselves – they are living through the land and through the ocean.

Here we are growing sugar cane, vegetables and fruit. Here we are raising cattles, sheep and goats. Here some of us survive on fishing.

Here some of the land is owned by private individuals but there is a lot of communal life too. The sea, the rivers and the valleys are all held in common. The water in the rivers, the wood in the forests, the fish in the sea, the sand on the river banks, the medicinal plants and the pastures are all free for everyone.

There will be no compensation for what we will lose. There will just be a swop of land – a 500 hectare township for 16 500 hectares of beautiful and free land with rivers, valleys, pastures and beaches. In the townships there will be nothing for free. We will have to pay rates there.

People are feeling like they are being forced to give up on their heritage. They do not want to leave the land of their ancestors. They do not want to leave the graves of their ancestors.

What was called ‘forced removal under apartheid’ is now called ‘relocation’. We are told that we ‘do not understand development’ and that we ‘need a workshop in order to understand development’. We understand this kind of development very well. It is new words for old forms of oppression. Relocations are forced removals. This is a new kind of colonialism. We will not be workshopped into accepting the loss of our land and our heritage. We will not be workshopped into accepting our own oppression.

It is not that we are against all development. If development can be negotiated with the community and plans can be made that will benefit everyone in the community then we will support that development. There are some vacant lands here and we are prepared to negotiate about how that land can be developed. We have been discussing plans for the development of the vacant lands.

S’bu Ndebele is suing the eMacambini Inkosi for R2.5 million and he is suing the SABC for R2.5 million because he claims that we was defamed when the Inkosi told the truth on SABC. He must know that he is suing the whole community. This is just a way to try and intimidate us so that we will be silent about this forced removal and the theft of our land. We will not be intimidated and we will not be silent. We are angry. We are red. We will show our anger. We hope that the SABC and other media will also refuse to be intimidated.

This is supposed to be the time in which land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid. This is supposed to be the time of redistribution. We never thought that this would be the time of a new colonialism – a time when our land would be taken to us and given to Ruwaad Holdings so that rich people in Dubai can get richer by turning our land and our heritage into a playground for the rich of the world. We know that Dubai is based on a ruthless apartheid between the rich and the poor. Apartheid was defeated in this country. We will not allow the people from Dubai to bring a new apartheid here and we will not allow S’bu Ndebele to sell us to this new colonialism.

We have a right to a good place to live. We have a right to our place.

The first phase of AmaZulu World is supposed to begin in December this year. The last phase is supposed to conclude twenty five years later. People are living in fear and uncertainty about their future. Children wake up scared in the night. Old gogos are having high blood pressure.

Our ancestors fought for this land. We will fight for it. If necessary we are prepared to die for it.

For further information or comment please contact the following members of the eMacambini Anti-Removal Committee:

Moffat Chili: 073 409 8625
Herbert Mbambo: 082 309 1637
Bheki Lushozi: 083 885 1448
Shando: 083 684 4562

The march on S’bu Ndebele is also supported by the KwaZulu-Natal Regional Christian Council. For further information or comment please contact Rev. Buthelezi on 082 754 6476

This press statement and the march on S’bu Ndebele are also supported by the Poor People’s Alliance. The Poor People’s Alliance is an unfunded alliance of radical grassroots movements that is constituted by Abahlali baseMjondolo (KwaZulu-Natal & Western Cape), the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (Western Cape), the Landless People’s Movement (Gauteng) and the Rural Network (KwaZulu-Natal). Comrades from Abahlali baseMjondolo (KwaZulu-Natal) and the Rural Network will be physically present at the march tomorrow.

For further information or comment please contact:

Abahlali baseMjondolo (KwaZulu-Natal): Zodwa Nsibande – 082 830 2707
Abahlali baseMjondolo (Western Cape): Mzonke Poni – 073 256 2036
Landless People’s Movement (Gauteng): Maureen Mnisi –082 337 4514
Rural Network (KwaZulu-Natal): Rev. Mavuso – 072 279 2634
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign (Western Cape): Ashraf Casiem – 076 186 1408