Category Archives: letter

Letter to the Motala Comrades from Jacques Depelechin

Dear friends, Dear Shamita Naidoo,

I am writing this to thank you all for your exemplary solidarity. At times
it is difficult to say thank you briefly. I wish i could be more brief,
but here it goes.

I have been meaning to write you since I heard of the latest attacks
against you. I still cannot understand how South Africa under the
leadership of the ANC is allowing the law of the land to be taken in the
hands of people whose behavior seems to come straight out of apartheid
South Africa. Such behavior seems to be widespread. It is happening in
Durban, in Joburg, in Cape Town, mostly against the poorest of the

The assault is against the poorest of the poorest. In our common histories
of discrimination inside and outside Africa, there is a pattern one can
observe: the poorest of the poorest are seen/presented (especially by the
richest of the richest and their allies) as incapable of thinking for
themselves, by themselves. In other times, the poorest of the poorest were
enslaved in Africa and shipped across the Atlantic and northward. The
process was a complex one and there are still academic battles going on as
to the responsibility for a genocide whose impact and consequences still
remain impossible to calculate in human terms.

Atlantic slavery is mentioned because, in various places, in Africa and
outside of Africa, people resisted the process. The most well known one
was what the Africans did in Haiti from 1791 through 1804. Then, it was
also thought by the french (the “owners” of Haiti when it was still known
as Santo Domingo and its black population) that the slaves could not free
themselves from slavery. In the mindset of the ones who became filthy rich
through slavery, the slaves could not be capable of thinking of freeing
themselves. Indeed, according to the Black Code (1685-1848), enslaved
Africans were nothing more nothing less than furniture to be discarded when
it became useless. How could pieces of furniture think?

From Atlantic slavery to post apartheid South Africa, the poorest of the
poorest have been treated as if they are not part of humanity, as if they
cannot think for and by themselves. But, as in Santo Domingo/Haiti, the
same people who have been discriminated systematically have shown that they
are the conscience of humanity, they are the ones who live, who think, who
breathe human solidarity.

People who are eager to become the richest of the richest, like Ricky
Ricky Govender will seek to eradicate the poorest of the poorest because
they are the only safeguard against the quickest realization of their
dreams/our nightmares. I am sure Govender has other explanations and has
used them, but in the process of seeking to realize his dreams, he must be
shown, systematically, constantly that he is also eradicating humanity,
just like the enslavers were doing centuries ago, when this system was
invented. Such a system is increasingly revealing itself, through people
like Govender and its known and unknown allies, devoid of any respect for
the sacredness of life and living people.

Motala Heights is a sacred place because there are people who live there,
people who are born there, people who die there. In this sacred place, the
residents built a temple, the Shembe Temple.

Govender thought it was ok to destroy the Shembe Temple because he had been
destroying little by little the people of Motala Heights, with impunity,
and, apparently, with the approval of those who are supposed to defend
every member of society against unlawful practices. That is how, little by
little, the law of the land gets eroded. That is how, little by little, a
whole country can slide toward situations which are reminiscent of nazism,

I have written all of this to say thank you to Shamita, thank you to all
the people who are living in Motala Heights, thank you to all those who
stand, actively, in solidarity with the poorest of the poorest against the
destruction of the constitution in South Africa, the destruction of people,
the destruction of humanity. Thank you for showing, by example, what it
takes to stand up for the emancipation of humanity.

Deepest thanks
Jacques Depelchin

A Report Back on the US National Tour: Building Living Solidarity among Movements to End Poverty and Ensure Dignity for All

January 2011

A Report Back on the US National Tour: Building Living Solidarity among Movements to End Poverty and Ensure Dignity for All.

The invitation to visit the US came after the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative (NESRI) invited Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA to participate in a series of leadership building seminars in the US. I was honored by Abahlali when the general meeting decided to send me into the USA. The aim of the visit was to learn, to share our experiences with other struggling organizations, to express our solidarity with other struggling organizations and individuals and to contribute in leadership building in the US.

Continue reading

Mandela Park 5 and My next Project – Letter to the Mayor

Mandela Park 5 and My next Project – Letter to the Mayor
3 05 2010

Hi Cde’s

Today is marked the 8weeks since the decision to handover the remaining 5 houses to the Mandela Park 5 was taken by the Mandela Park Steering Commitee & the community at large.

The Mandela Park steering committee which include councillor Mkhutshwana had discussed the subject and as normal it was expected that its decision be forwarded to the HD (Housing Department) on time. 4 weeks later since the decision was taken the M.E.C for housing was spotted at the Look-Out-Hill in his address to a group of Khayelitsha back yard dwellers particularly from H-section, whereafter he met a serious confrontation by Mandela Park Back Yarders in relation to his next project in Mandela Park & Mandela Park 5.

The M.E.C told us he was not aware of the Mandela Park 5 as the matter was never brought forward to his office.

He further pledged he was planning to visit Mandela Park area in April at an unspecified date but definitely in April. Today is the 29 April 2010 almost 5 weeks after he made this promise.

We regard his silence as not only a sign of ignorance but also proving his sentiments about Mandela Park area as a whole. Mandela Park is being taken for granted by all lumpen politicians who lack proper understanding of what democracy is about. They think democracy is about them telling us what to do and not the other way around, they think democracy is about us giving them respect without them giving it back to us. For so long we have been waiting for an IDP (Integrated Development Strategy) in our area to no avail.

As a resident in Mandela Park i wouldl like those closer to the MEC to remind him about Mandela Park once more.

I would like the MEC to understand that every action has its own reaction. In summary if you promise to marry your girlfriend tomorrow you cant turnaround tomorrow and say I will marry you when I like.



AEC: Open Letter to Dan Plato from Blikkiesdorp

DATE: 2ND November 2009

To: The Mayor – Dan Plato

From: Blikkiesdorp Anti- Eviction Campaign (Western Cape)

Subject: Installation of Electricity

It has become common knowledge that the government and politicians ignore the poor. Members of the Blikkiesdorp community have been trying to set up a meeting with Mayor Dan Plato for several weeks now regarding the installation of electricity in the area

Our first contact with Dan Plato occurred in May 2009. As has become customary for politicians, he arrived in our area with scores of bodyguards and great words of promise about how he was going to role out electricity in Blikkiesdorp Phase 1 and 2 by August 2009. As has also become customary with politicians, these words were a lie. Today, we are still standing without any electricity. In the mean time three shacks in Blikkiesdorp have burnt down because people have to continue to use paraffin for cooking. During these fires, sadly two people were injured. Added to this, at a public meeting, one community member also recounted how she is incurring serious health problems as she can’t refrigerate her insulin, which she needs to control her diabetes. So we continue to suffer.

Up until now we have tried to give Dan Plato the benefit of the doubt. We have continuously tried to make follow up appointments with Dan Plato about his promise to provide electricity. In September 2009, we contacted him to remind him of his promise and call him to a meeting. His curt response was that he was due to go on an overseas trip, but that he would make sure to set time aside for a meeting with us after the 15th of September 2009. Sadly, this promised meeting never happened as again his words turned out to be hot air.

This morning, 2nd of November, we once again contacted Plato to remind him of his promises. Again we asked for a meeting to discuss the issue of rolling out electricity in our area. This time round Dan Plato simply refused to meet with us. Sadly, this is yet another instance of the poor simply being brushed aside by politicians. First they dump us in Blikkiesdorp and then they ignore our outcries – ‘democracy’ South African style! So while Dan refuses to see us, shacks carry on burning and the sick become sicker. Clearly, Dan Plato doesn’t care – his plush Mayoral House, and the houses of the rich who he actually serves, have electricity!

Since Dan was not willing to help us we thought we would go straight to Eskom. Eskom was no more helpful than Dan. Eskom told us that the electricity poles, minus the electricity, that have been installed have been installed in the wrong places. They said these poles will have to be removed and maybe if we are lucky we will get electricity in 2010!. Are we actually to believe this?

We will not be ignored. We will also continue to contact Dan Plato and Eskom until we have our electricity. We call on all social movements, NGOs and unions to assist us by also contacting Dan at and Eskom at Power to the people in more ways than one!

For more information contact:

Willy at 073 144 3619
Marieta at 078 834 5339
Steven at 073 062 1309

Witness: Kennedy Road – The Facts[_id]=30091

Kennedy Road: sharing the facts
29 Oct 2009

WITH reference to last week’s article by Willies Mchunu, (The Witness,
October 20).

MEC Mchunu makes several statements, to which we feel it is necessary to
respond. The first relates to the claim that his invitation to
stakeholders, dated October 8, received no response from churches. On
October 14, a letter was addressed to the MEC, and copied to the
provincial premier, Zweli Mkhize, and President Jacob Zuma, and was
signed by Bishop Rubin Phillip on behalf of the Diakonia Council of
Churches, representing 14 local church denominations. In our letter, the
MEC was encouraged to meet with the leadership of Abahlali baseMjondolo
directly, and the churches offered their full support to a suggested
process which focused on mediation and resolution of the conflict.
Furthermore, our letter called for immediate humanitarian assistance to
those affected by the violence, as well as for the establishment of an
independent judicial inquiry into the events surrounding the violence at
Kennedy Road and the on­going victimisation of members of Abahlali
baseMjondolo. Notably, the churches have indicated that they will
proceed with the establishment of such an inquiry, should the provincial
government not fulfil this request.

The leadership of Abahlali baseMjondolo have always indicated their
willingness to engage local and national government, and continue to do
so. The movement maintains its apolitical position, which is endorsed by
the broader faith community. Having attended the recent bail hearings at
the Durban Magistrates’ Court, it is disturbing for us to witness the
very obvious presence and mobilisation of “community members” by
self-confessed African National Congress councillors, despite denials of
the same at a provincial level. We feel it is important that these facts
are known by your readers, in the interests of transparency and the

Bishop Barry Wood, OMI
Chairman: Diakonia Council of Churches