Urgent Call for Journalists to Rush to Kennedy Road as Tensions Rise Again

Update: 15/01/2011 Zandile Mdletshe and the Kennedy Road ANC did not pitch up to the mass meeting on Wednesday. The new KRDC then sought and obtained a meeting with Yakoob Baig and Jackson Gumede who said that development projects had always been allocated through the area committee of the ANC but they agreed (clearly aware of the popular pressure and the collapse in any significant support for the Kennedy Road ANC) to let the Kennedy Road community decide. The new KRDC called another mass meeting the following evening and invited the police to attend it and to witness it. At that meeting it was decided that the project must stop pending a resolution to allow democratic decision making about this and other development projecets.

Update: 18:28 Officer Mqadi intimidated the (elected) KRDC and said that they are opposing the (unelected) ANC leadership in the settlement and that he will arrest them if the cleaning work is stopped pending a meeting with the Municipality. He made it quite clear that he is not neutral. He brought Zandile Mdletshe to address the mass meeting in the hall where she was vigorously opposed. At that meeting it was agreed that the KRDC would meet with the ANC and that both parties will report back to a mass meeting on Wednesday. Three state witnesses in the Kennedy 12 trial openly opposed the ANC leadership in today's mass meeting in the hall. A number of state witnesses have already refused to testify against the accused and one has testified, as a court witness, that she was asked to give false evidence against the accused.

Abahlali baseMjondolo Emergency Press Statement
10 January 2011, 14:37

Urgent Call for Journalists to Rush to Kennedy Road as Tensions Rise Again

Today Jackson Gumede, chairperson of the BEC of the local ANC in Clare Estate and Sydenham, brought people to begin work on an eThekwini Municipality cleanup project in the Kennedy Road settlement. This project was requested by the new democratically elected Kennedy Road Development Committee. The people that Gumede brought to begin work are ANC supporters, some from outside the settlement and others who are followers of Zandile Mdletshe, who, without election, took over the settlement after the state backed violence against Abahlali baseMjondolo in September 2009.

Some people at Kennedy Road, including elected community leaders, stopped Gumede's people from doing the work. They said that they have a right to insist on the democratic allocation of jobs (which has previously been achieved in the settlement either by lottery or by election) and that the local ANC has no right to only give work to their supporters.

Mdletshe phoned Officer Mqadi, the crime intelligence officer who was based full time at the settlement since 2008 and who was present during the whole night of the attacks in 2009. He is now at the settlement. The protesters demanded that he address them and explain his role. He is now with Mdletshe and her supporters at her home. It seems like he is protecting them.

There is now a big meeting in the community hall. Some of the people are now blaming Mdletshe for the attacks and the violent state backed removal of the
elected committee in September 2009. Surprisingly some of the state witnesses
in the Kennedy 12 case are leading the challenge to Zandile. The are saying that
the violence in September 2009 was due to her and the local ANC. The people in
the hall are demanding that the project managers from the Municipality come
and address them, that Mdletshe stop trying to run the settlement without a democratic mandate and that Mqadi clarify his role in the settlement.

The violence in September 2009 began with a dispute over whether jobs in the settlement should be allocated by the local ANC or by the democratically elected community structure. If the ANC insist on misusing all development for their party political agenda there is a risk that there could be a new round of violence in the settlement. The last time that there was a democratic challenge to the ANC's assumption of a right to allocate jobs the party responded with violence.

We also note that yesterday Shamita Naidoo's water was illegally disconnected in the Motala Heights settlement and that her neighours warned not to give her or her family any water. This is an act of intimidation directed by the local landlords who are trying to clear their way to evict the poor from Motala Heights. Our solidarity is with Shamita.

We call on the journalists to rush to the Kennedy Road settlement to witness
the unfolding events for themselves. There is no doubt that the ANC and the
police will lie about what has happened later so journalists should see things
for themselves.

As with all emergency press statements some details in this statement may need
to corrected once events have calmed down.

For further information and comment please contact the AbM office at 031 – 304