Statement of Demands to the Eastern Cape Premier the Honourable Ms. Noxolo Kiviet

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Statement of Demands to the Eastern Cape Premier the Honourable Ms. Noxolo Kiviet

Dear Ms. Kiviet

We have been informed that following the television screening of the episode of Cutting Edge that exposed some of the horror of the lives of the poor in Grahamstown President Zuma has instructed you to meet with us as soon as is possible to receive and to try to resolve our demands. We have also been informed that you would like copies of our collected memoranda in advance of this meeting.

We appreciate your willingness to meet with us and thought that it would be easier for us to simply summarise our demands in one document.

As with poor people’s organisations and movements across the country our demands take two forms. We have demands that take the form of asking promises made within the current system to be kept. Many of these demands are very urgent as people are living in very undignified and dangerous conditions. However we are not only demanding that the current system be operated efficiently. We are also demanding that the current system be replaced with a system in which the dignity of all people is recognised. We understand that while you can attend to our first kind of demand in a meeting addressing our second kind of demand will take a long struggle in which the poor and the working class are politically empowered against the elites. However we do insist that if the ANC wishes to call itself a progressive organisation it must respect the formations of the poor as we work to redistribute political power as a first step towards redistributing economic power.

Our immediate demands are as follows:

1. The immediate and permanent eradication of the bucket system throughout Grahamstown.

2. The immediate electrification of the eThembeni shack settlement. Other settlements in Grahamstown are being electrified following protests and this process must also include eThembeni.

3. That a clear, transparent and consultative process is immediately begun to overcome the backlog of 13 000 houses in Grahamstown.

4. That clear, transparent and serious steps are taken to eradicate the cancer of corruption that has been eating at the Makana Municipality for years.

5. That the R58 million that has been returned to the central government due to the failure of local government to spend it is handed over to a democratically run community co-operative that will allow us to design, build and manage our own houses in a democratic and non-commodified way. If the government has failed to spend this money then it is only logical that it should be handed over to the people directly.

6. That a serious criminal investigation is instituted against the uBumbano sports training project following the corruption of R600 000.

7. That the unconstitutional and repressive bail conditions that ban our leaders from political activity be immediately withdrawn.

8. An immediate commitment to ban development by tender and to instead create state owned companies that can carry forward development such as housing etc on a non-profit basis.

9. An immediate expulsion of Nceba Faku from the ANC following his fascist attack on the media.

10. Setting up a genuinely independent investigative unit with power of arrest to deal with corruption in the province.

Our longer term demands are for:

1. Decent work or a decent guaranteed income for everyone over the age of 16 years.

2. A fair distribution of urban and rural land.

3. The socialisation and collectivisation of the means of production.

4. The decommodification of the provision of all basic needs like water, electricity, housing, sanitation, refuse removal, health care, transport, education, communication and so on.

5. Elected police officers and judges and trial by jury

6. State support for community controlled media.

7. Participatory democracy at all levels of society.

We are aware that these goals are only realisable in a new system and that we will only be able to move from this system to a better system via the political empowerment of the poor and the working class. However the formations of the poor are facing serious repression including regular arrests, the murder of at least seven protesters by the police already this year, torture (as in Ermelo) and armed state backed attacks on movements like Abahlali baseMjondolo in KwaZulu-Natal and the Landless People’s Movement in Gauteng. Therefore we demand an immediate end to all repression of the formations of the poor and a clear and public acknowledgement that all people in this so-called democracy have the right to organise themselves freely and in safety and, if they so wish, to do so independently of the ANC.

If these demands are not met we will, in alliance with our comrades across the country, have no choice but to continue struggling in support of this programme.

We are expecting to meet with you by Tuesday next week at the latest.

Yours sincerely

Ayanda Kota
Chairperson, Unemployed People’s Movement
Grahamstown, Eastern Cape