Further Update on the Mpanza & Shange Trial

Rural Network S.A Press Statement
Tuesday, 21 September 2010


While the Rural Network S.A and Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement S.A were in court in solidarity with the Mpanza and the Shange families they faced a painful experienced. They were thrown out of court, along with the family members, on the trial day of the late Vukani Shange and Thembinkosi Mpanza which was Friday, 17 September 2010.

For several times over the last few years the families were in pain seeing the accused walking up and down the community and throwing bad remarks at friends and families of the murdered boys. But they decide to be patient and to hold their anger as they did not want to take the law into their hands. The families have waited for too long for this day to come as their children were shot dead on 17 June 2006 after the National Youth Day, a commemoration day in this country, were the youth of 1976 died on a brutal killing. Those youth that were shot in 1976 dieed not knowing that the past will repeat itself in the future when two boys from the Sibekezelo High School were shot dead by the notorious Farm Watch on the farm called Horse Shoe Farm.

As this trial day came, all the community members and poor people’s organizations (Rural Network, Abahlali baseMjondolo) were looking for justice. But when there were in the court premises during the lunch break one of the accused, who is nameed Phumlani Sithole, passed painful words to the parents saying that he will walk scot free. When the parents asked what was the meaning of his words he then ran to a police who is his brother in law claiming that he was threatened by the families. The police took the matter with out confirming from the families and sent it straight to the magistrate. He then took a decision of banning the families, Rural Network, Abahlali baseMjondolo and the friends and supporters of Mpanza and Shange from the court.

The families were in tears when they were thrown out of court, because their hope was seeing justice taking its place. For it was the first day of the testimonial of the accused and they truly wanted to find out the truth why their children were shot dead on such brutal way. They felt that their children’s souls will not rest in peace when justice has not come, It has already been delayed and denied for so long. And we all know that if it was a farmer or some other rich person who had been killed the trial would have happened years ago.

But after some pressures the magistrate has finally decided to place back the family, Rural Network, Abahlali baseMjondolo, Friends and supporters to court for the trial on Friday, 15 October 2010 at eShowe Court. It will be the testimonial of the second accused.

The Rural Network and Abahlali will be there in their masses to be in solidarity with Mpanza and Shange. As this trial has been delayed for years now both organisations want to see justice take its place. We also want to see if the law works fairly for everyone in South African including the poor.

We are struggling for justice on the farms and in the cities. We are struggling for a world where everyone counts and where the land and wealth are shared. We are struggling for land and for freedom.

For more information please don’t hesitate to call the following:

Rev Mavuso
Rural Network Spokesperson
072 279 2634

Ms Bandile Mdlalose
Abahlali baseMjondolo General Secretary
031 304 6420
074 730 8120