Category Archives: 2011 Local Government Elections

Mercury: ‘No Land! No House! No Vote!’

AbM opposes haphazard and dangerously put together electricity connections. But the movement does support carefully and safely organised connections which improve and save lives (from fires). The project of carefully and collectively safely electrifying Kennedy Road was, like much of the movement’s other work, badly set back by the attacks in late 2009 and the ongoing harassment of its members, and the demolition of their homes, for many months afterwards.

‘No Land! No House! No Vote!’

May 19 2011 at 09:55am

From left to right, the wires creep into the grubby maze of tightly knit shacks, cobbled out of discarded board and other material. Rubbish lies strewn about, mucky water runs freely on the ground and the stench of sewerage assaults your nose.

Welcome to Durban’s Kennedy Road informal settlement, which has been growing for about 20 years.

The shantytown is home to about 4 000 people sharing 12 flush toilets.

While taps are available, many residents walk several minutes to fetch water using buckets, a difficult task while manoeuvring through the shacks.

“When it’s time to vote, you see them (politicians) coming into the area, promising to deliver. But after the elections, you’ll never see them again,” said Zingisa Jili, 28, one of many people who decided not to vote in Wednesday’s local government elections.

“I’ve been living here for 11 years, but there’s been no change in that time,” he said.

Jili is a member of the shack dwellers’ organisation Abahlali baseMjondolo, whose members decided to withhold their votes as part of the organisation’s “No Land! No House! No Vote!” campaign.

The married father of two works for a Newlands East company, but cannot afford to rent even a cheap flat because he earns a meagre salary.

“My wife and kids live in Umzimkhulu. I would love to fetch them, but I can’t risk their lives. We use illegal connections because there’s no access to electricity. I can’t touch my fridge without being shocked. We are willing to pay for electricity, but the government refuses to install it,” he said.

Illegal connections in the area have claimed three lives in recent years.

Jili said they felt betrayed by politicians they had trusted. “We are living in painful conditions. Housing is a basic human right. Shacks are a temporary form of housing, but people have been living here for 20 years. There is land, but the government is failing us … I trust no one when it comes to politics.”

Jili said he would not use his vote to enrich “some councillor into driving a Pajero, because that’s the only change we see”.

Also boycotting the elections were poor residents of flats at Flamingo Court, Elwyn Court, Melbourne Court, Lantern Heath and Bencorrum. Fed-up with levy increases and living-standard decreases, they said no party cared about their plight, so voting was pointless.

The residents gathered at Flamingo Court in Umbilo Road, and launched the Poor Flat Dwellers Movement to voice their concerns.

The residents were angered by the conditions of their buildings, saying electricity did not work or had been disconnected, water had been turned off and the lifts had not worked for years.

Pensioner Betty le Roux said she had heart problems and was diabetic.

“Our levies go up, but nothing has been done,” she said. “For who must we vote? No one is interested in old people, only in their money. If the parties don’t help me, why should I help them with my vote?” – The Mercury

Backyarders to hold Anti-X protest on election day

Backyarders to hold Anti-X protest on election day

17 May 2011

The Mandela Park Backyarders will have a peaceful march in our own community tomorrow morning from 7am. It will be a symbolic event similar to our Anti-Vote Summit where we will be marking an “Anti-X” vote.

The march is an indication of our unhappiness regarding service delivery, the mismanagement of state resources by officials, and the inability of any political party to work with us rather than against us. Service delivery cannot happen without consulting us and involving us every step of the way. We will also be expressing our anger towards government and the police for their violent repression of peaceful protests and land occupations by the poor such as in Talfelsig over the weekend.

We take seriously the right to vote which we believe is as an individual right of each person living in South Africa. There are some people experiencing positive change in their communities and they therefore can vote if the feel they want to.

Equally, those of us who do not experience positive changes in our community because the system does not allow for a progressive people’s politics have a right to boycott the vote. Boycotting the vote is a vote against the political status quo which gives us a choice between Helen Zuma and Jacob Zille – which is really no choice at all.

Please note: Our members are warned not to undermine the right of others to cast their vote and we will respect all IEC rules and regulation to avoid unnecessary conflicts between poor people. (According to the Constitution and the Gatherings Act, we have a right to march on election day as long as we do not do so in the immediate vicinity of a polling station. We will follow the law tomorrow).

For more information:

Slu >> 0736200781
Loyiso >> 0737662078
Nomonde >> 0781862142

Five Hundred People Blockaded Road in Grahamstown this Morning

Tuesday, Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Five Hundred People Blockaded Road in Grahamstown this Morning

This morning five hundred people from eThembeni and Transit Camp in Grahamstown blockaded the N2. The eThembeni people were demanding housing, electricity and water. The Transit Camp people were demanding the completion of their houses. The project has stalled due to non-payment of the contractors.

The road was successfully occupied, fires were lit and posters declaring a refusal to vote were raised. The police, acting with their usual aggression and insults, managed to clear the blockade and put out the fires. When the television crews arrived the police behaviour became less aggressive and it was possible to reoccupy the road. But once they left the people were driven off the N2 and the road blockade moved into Joza where it was broken up again. The protest continued on the pavements until three in the afternoon. There were no arrests.

Aluta Continua.

The statement below was drawn up in a meeting last night but could not be issued until today due to a lack of access to email.

Monday, 16 May 2011

National Road to be Blockaded Tomorrow in Grahamstown

It is that time of elections, a season of lies and deceptions. Political parties and political leaders are visible and some visit our homes. If they find us cooking or eating, they take some and eat, let alone that there after they will get to their five star hotels, take a bath and wash their teeth, making sure their hands are clean because they were greeting us the unemployed and the poor. Elections are a time for free booze, free entertainment, free t-shirts and free pretences.

The people of eThembeni will be barricading the national road tomorrow, the N2 intersection that is between Extension 5 and Extension 6.

They will be barricading the road because they do not have access to water, roads, electricity and housing. Makana municipality’s backlog on housing is estimated to be 13 800. Recently a fire erupted and a couple was trapped in the fire. They died trying to escape. The power lines run over the burnt out remains of their shack on the way to the brick factory. But they were never seen as good enough to have electricity. In eThembeni the people live with snakes. There are number of cases reported where some residents were bitten by snakes. A snake is a cold blooded animal and when people collect woods and create fire to cook, the snakes are many times found next to the fire.

These residents have been voting, their votes have not translated into anything. The only translation they can see is their Councillor Rachael Madinda becoming a fat cat, affording two cars, one house in the township and another one in town. The voters are stuck in permanent poverty as the councillors rise into riches.

Councillor Rachael Madinda is on the ruling party candidates list for the district. This is promotion. Promotion for what, only the ruling party can explain. She is not the only one, Councillor Peter is also on the list for a mayoral candidate while people in his ward don’t have water, houses, unemployment is the order of the day, the dam level is said to be on 5,0 in his community, meaning its only mud. He has done absolutely nothing for his community. Now we know what the criterion for promotion is in the ruling party. We must be denied and stripped all of our basic rights. Those in power must enrich themselves, steal and plunder our resources. Politicians are rewarded for keeping the people under control while they are excluded from society. Any politicians that tried to represent the voters would soon be sidelined.

If indeed voting is the democratic right then we must remember that words acquire meaning in action. We can no longer allow ourselves to be fooled by the kleptocratic elites by imposing fancy words on us. Democracy means our voice. It means that we govern ourselves and we determine our destiny. It does not mean that every few years we give permission for a new set of politicians to rule us in our own name while we are excluded from all decision making.

We are rebelling because we are poor and because the political and economic elites in this country are united in their contempt for the poor. All over South African and all over the world the poor and the unemployed barricade roads as a means of protest. We cannot strike and therefore the road blockade is the logical tactic for us. We are rebelling because the better life for all is better life for the few elite. We are rebelling because those in power do not care for us; we are only voting cattles to them. We are rebelling because we are fed up and sick and tired of the elite, they are suppose to be looking after our interests and now they are jackals and we are sheep. Sheep is all we are to them. How can we entrust our lives to such heartless and cruel people?

Our destiny is in our hands. This is a realisation that we are our own liberators. Nobody will liberate us but ourselves.

Xola Mali – 072 299 5253 –
Ayanda Kota – 078 625 6462 –

Can Youth Show the Way?

Can Youth Show the Way?

Zodwa Nsibande
(Talk to the 'Democracy Forum', UKZN, Pietermaritzburg, Friday 13 May 2011)

Yes we can. In isiZulu we have a saying that says “Inkunzi isematholeni” – The bull is in the calves. If we are taking about the youth that have made a mark in our history we should not end the conversation without talking about the youth of 1976. And then you will ask the question “Where are youth of today?”. You will get the answer within the blink of the eye, “They are in the taverns”. Yes some of them are there. But they are not all there by choice. Many are there due to this capitalist system that is governing our country and puts some of us in heaven on earth and others in hell on earth. Many people are drinking to dull their pain in a world that offers them no future. But there are others who are committed to uplifting their communities. In our movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, and in many of the struggles around the country that have made the rebellion of the poor young people have been in the forefront.

Continue reading