Intimidation Continues

This addendum to yesterday's press release was received late last night via cellphone text message from Reverend Mavuso Mbhekeseni. Please contact the Reverend for further details on the threats to the clergy, the chairperson of the AbM Women's League and others, at the court yesterday.

The ANC mob was swearing at us in court saying that we are corrupt church leaders who support criminals. They threatened to catch us and kill us in the city. They said that they would describe us to all their people by the clothes we were wearing. They also threatened the chairperson of the AbM women's league although she was not present at the court. They threatened her by name, shouted and swore at her name, and said that she is a "a thief who wears pants bought with the money from Kennedy Road people." The ANC mob was armed with sticks and other sharp objects. They were highly intimidating and it was clear that their threats were serious – they meant what they were saying.
Reverend Mavuso Mbhekeseni

We also need to note that some of the ANC mob threatened AbM people with knobkerries, that they also claimed to have bush knives in the bus and threatened to kill people leaving the court and that threatening sexual gestures were made against elderly AbM women. One of the mob also openly said that their plan, when they attacked the AbM Youth Camp at Kennedy Road, had been to kill S'bu Zikode. Also, it is clear that the mob confused the chairperson of the AbM Women's League with her daughter – they are threatening her because she spoke on TV after the victory in the constitutional court.

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Update
Monday 19 October 2009

Kennedy Thirteen Bail Hearing Adjourned

The Kennedy Thirteen appeared in the Durban Magistrate's Court today for a bail hearing. Once again the ANC bussed in its supporters. Once again they were hostile and aggressive and openly threatened to kill the Kennedy Thirteen if they are given bail. The arguments were heard and the decision will be given on Monday 26 October. In the meantime the Kennedy Thirteen will be kept in the notorious Westville prison.

Our movement was vindicated in the case of the Kennedy Six – we will be vindicated in this case too.

For comment on today's bail hearing please contact:

Reverend Mavuso Mbhekeseni: 072 279 2634
Shamita Naidoo: 074 315 7962

Eight More Arrests in Two More Settlements

On Thursday last week there were another eight arrests. Four people were arrested in the Foreman Road settlement and another four in the Arnett Drive settlement. This has extended the current wave of repression against the movement to 3 settlements and brought the total number of arrests to 21.

The police first descended on the Foreman Road settlement where they kicked in doors and arrested 4 people for Operation Khanyisa (i.e. connecting themselves to electricity in a city where shack dwellers have been officially denied access to electricity since 2001). They then went to the Arnett Drive settlement where they also kicked in doors and arrested 4 people for 'drinking in public'. In the previous wave of repression – from 2005 till late 2007 – this charge was often used against the movement. The police act as if a shack is not a private space and then arrest people having a beer in their own homes. This is a very dirty trick aimed at making being poor a criminal offense.

The politics of the poor developed by our movement was criminalised from 2005 till late 2007. Our movement came out of that phrase of repression stronger than we were when it began. We did not give up our struggle. We kept going. And after the March on Mlaba the City realised that it had to negotiate with us. From late 2007 until last month things were much easier in Durban (although not elsewhere) – we were negotiating with the City and making all kinds of progress. But now a decision has been taken to return to repression. We survived the first attempt to criminalise our movement and we will survive this attempt. Every arrest makes the real nature of the state more clear to more people. Every arrest makes the real nature of our democracy more clear to more people. We have no choice but to keep going forward with our struggle. Without struggle there is no hope for us or our children. We cannot accept that. Therefore we will not be defeated.

For comment on the arrests in Foreman Road and Arnett Drive please contact:

Philani Dlamini: 078 583 5451
Mama Nxumalo: 076 579 6198