Category Archives: Mail & Guardian

M&G: Left wing dips into ocean of irrelevance

Imraan Buccus

This election has been a resounding victory for the ANC. Despite the critique of a failed Jacob Zuma presidency, the masses voted ANC. This “liberation dividend” will continue for some time; it is likely to begin wearing out as more young people enter the electorate. The aura of liberation matters less to this group, and research shows they are more likely to vote for opposition parties.

At the same time, a large proportion of people are losing confidence in electoral politics. Some calculations indicate that soon the number of people who don’t register or don’t vote will outnumber those who vote ANC. Two-thirds of young people (18 to 19 years old) did not bother to register.

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M&G: People’s protest is being criminalised

by Jane Duncan

The South African Constitution guarantees the right to assemble, demonstrate and picket. But to what extent are South Africans able to practise this right?

Research undertaken into 12 municipalities suggests that, although this right is still being largely respected, there are signs that it is being eroded.

My research was precipitated by a pilot project on the Rustenburg municipality’s response to protests. The research found that, in 2012, the year that industrial protests peaked in the platinum belt, the municipality banned 53% of them, largely on the grounds that they were not recognised by the Regulation of Gatherings Act, which gives effect to the right.

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M&G: Police must work with communities, not political elite – Wiser debate

by Sarah Evans

Housing activists in KwaZulu-Natal are being killed, beaten and tortured by police who prevent them from marching legally, who they say often act on behalf of local politicians. This is according to Abahlali baseMjondolo co-founder S'Bu Zikode, who told a University of Witwatersrand seminar on Monday night that his organisation's efforts to march legally are flouted by local policing authorities.

The seminar, the first in a series of seminars called "Public Positions", hosted by the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, or Wiser. The topic of Monday night's seminar was "Police against the people". Wits researcher Julia Hornberger presented a short paper calling for a "complicit police".

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M&G: Shack dwellers movement offers voting bloc for living conditions guarantee

Kwanele Sosibo

The apolitical Abahlali baseMjondolo is considering backing a political party for the first time since 2006, but their clout comes at a price.

For the first time since 2006, the shack dwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo, is not staging a "no land, no house, no vote" campaign as it has done for several editions of UnFreedom Day – an unofficial South African holiday – that it commemorates each year on April 28.

A few days before this year's event at the Siyanda informal settlement in KwaMashu, Durban, Abahlali launched a talk shop that invited political parties to give presentations on why they should get Abahlali's vote instead.

The event, according to spokesperson Mnikelo Ndabankulu, was somewhat of a success, drawing the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Democratic Alliance (DA), National Freedom Party (NFP) and the Workers and Socialist Party.

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M&G: The scouring of Jo’burg’s inner city

The scouring of Jo'burg's inner city


Standing on the corner of Kerk and Joubert streets in Johannesburg's inner city on Tuesday morning this week, Mandla Mabaso said he was ready to die.

"I'm going to toyi-toyi [against the evictions of inner-city informal traders] and I hope I die," said the street cobbler, tears forming in his eyes. "It is better that I die than see my children suffer."

Earlier that morning, Mabaso had kept R13 for the taxi fare he needed to get from his home in Soweto to Johannesburg's city centre where he fixes shoes from 7.30am until seven at night. Mabaso had given the rest of his money to his wife to take their two children, Sicelo (5) and Ntombizodwa (5), to the local crèche.

But when Mabaso (32) arrived at his usual spot he was told by members of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department that neither he nor the almost 100 traders who eke out a living at the Kerk Street linear market would be allowed to trade there, with no indication of when they might be be allowed back.

Mabaso, like many of the traders, had no money to return home. Nor could he imagine how he was going to find the R450 for next month's rent, or the R600 to keep his children in crèche during October. He was inconsolable.

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