Category Archives: South African Unemployed Peoples’ Movement

The Unemployed People’s Movement will March on Jacob Zuma in Durban

Unemployed People’s Movement Press Statement
1 October 2010

The Unemployed People’s Movement will March on Jacob Zuma in Durban on 14 October 2010

On the 8th of September 2010 the UPM in Durban sent a letter of demands to Jacob Zuma. His office acknowledge reciept of that letter (which is pasted in below this email) but he has never given us the courtesy of a response to our demands. Therefore we have no choice but to take our desperation and anger to the streets. We will be marching in Durban on 14 October 2010 in support of the demands in this letter.

In addition to these demands we also demanding an end to the attacks on democracy from the ANC.

We reject the media tribunal and the information bill. These are quite clearly nothing other than attempts by the predator state to protect itself from public scrutiny. We are very aware of the class biases in the media. Our own movement has been written about as if it were criminal and as if our most basic and legitimate demand – for enough food to eat -is a threat to society when clearly anyone in their right mind can see that it is poverty and hunger that are a threat to society. But censorship is never the answer. The answer to the elite bias in our media is to further democratise the media by breaking up the monopolies and supporting independent community media.

We also reject the ongoing repression of the movements and organisations of the working class around the country. We stand with our comrades in Hangberg, in Harrismith and in the Landless People’s Movement and Abahlali baseMjondolo as they confront the direct or indirect violence of the predator state. We ourselves have suffered repression. Nozipho Mnetshana was kept under house arrest after the UPM occupied the supermarkets in Durban on 22 July 2009 to eat bread without paying in protest at food prices. Ayanda Kota was assaulted in a police van outside parliament in Cape Town at the opening of parliament this year. Right now Ayanda Kota is receiving threats from the ANC in Grahamstown. After the recent experiences of the Landless People’s Movement in Johannesburg and Abahlali baseMjondolo in Durban we take these threats very seriously.

We call on progressive organisations to unite in a militant and uncompromising rejection of the attacks on the media and on the independent organisations of the working class. A line has been drawn and it is the responsibility of all progressive individuals and movements to take a clear stand against the attack that the ANC is waging on our democracy. We intend to work with all the independent and progressive formations of the working class to defend and deepen democracy from below.

Umanyano Ngamandla.

Nozipho Mnetshana, UPM chairperson in Durban: 079 7405 074
Dudu Kweyana, UPM Deputy Chairperson in Durban: 082 8278 199
Ayanda Kota, UPM Chaiperson in Grahamstown: 078 6256462

Sowetan: Jobless plan to turn their backs on ANC

Jobless plan to turn their backs on ANC
02 Sep 2010 | Mhlaba Memela |

THE Unemployed People’s Movement in KwaZulu-Natal has vowed to “cripple” the ruling ANC in next year’s local government elections if government fails to provide decent work and a guaranteed income for the unemployed and poor.

Addressing a gathering at Umlazi’s Glebelands Stadium, south of Durban, yesterday, UPM chairperson Nozipho Mnteshana said they had taken a resolution to ensure that there will be no vote from the poor and unemployed for government.

Mnteshana said the unemployed and poor had been “played by the ANC-led government for many years”.

She said the UPM is not affiliated or linked to any political party.

“We demand that government provides decent work or a basic income grant to poor and unemployed people.

“These are the people that voted this government into power, yet the very government had not addressed their needs,” she said.

She said the unemployed and poor should receive a monthly stipend of at least R2,500 from government.

She added, “government has money because they were able to construct magnificent stadiums for the World Cup”.

“Millions of poor people are starving. Government can cough up billions to ensure people who voted them into power do not sleep without food,” she said.

Mnteshana also launched a scathing attack on President Jacob Zuma, saying “he only cares about marrying more wives instead of dealing with poverty”.

The UPM gave food parcels to the people who attended the gathering.

Thulebona Khwela, 69, from Shongweni Dam, said the little food he received from UPM would make a difference to his family because his pension was not enough to provide for his unemployed children and grandchildren.

UPM: Mass Rally of the Unemployed in Durban to Demand Decent Work and a Guaranteed Income for All

Click here to read this statement in French and here to read it in Italian.

Unemployed People’s Movement Press Statement
31 August 2010


VENUE: Glebelands Stadium, Umlazi
DATE: Wednesday 1 September 2010
TIME: 11:00
CONTACT PEOPLE: Ayanda Kota 078 625 6462, Nozipho Mnteshana 079 740 5074
SPEAKERS: Nozipho Mnteshana, Chairperson of the Unemployed People’s Movement in Durban and S’bu Zikode, President of Abahlali baseMjondolo South Africa

A million jobs were lost last year. Many people who are working remain poor. We cannot continue like this. Therefore we, as part of a growing solidarity and militancy on the part of the organisations of the working class are demanding:

1. A living wage for every worker.

2. A real commitment to take immediate radical action to create jobs for all. This must include an immediate moratorium on retrenchments and a decision to put the right to work in the constitution.

3. A guaranteed income for all those who do not have work.

We are also in full solidarity with the strikes for a living wage, the growing struggles for land & housing and free basic services as well as the long established struggles for decent health care.

Zwelinzima Vavi is quite correct to have declared that under the Zuma regime “We are heading rapidly in the direction of a full-blown predator state in which a powerful corrupt and demagogic elite of political hyenas increasingly controls the state as a vehicle of accumulation.” But while we support Vavi’s analysis and we affirm the complete legitimacy of the demands that the workers in COSATU are currently issuing we also call on COSATU to stop protecting the ANC from the anger of the people and to join hands with the community protests and social movements that have been at the forefront of the struggle against the predatory state in recent years. We need to unite and to pose the power of the organised working class against the tendency to predation on society via the state. This requires the solidarity of all the organs of working class power on the shop floor and in the communities.

We condemn the state repression faced by movements like Abahlali baseMjondolo in Durban and the Landless People’s Movement in Johannesburg. We also condemn the gutter politics to which some of the authoritarian leaders of the middle class left have resorted in order to protect their fiefdoms from the rising strength of the organised working class.

Our hope lies in the strength of the working class and our strength lies in our unity.

The Star: Cops warn of more arrests after shops looted

Cops warn of more arrests after shops looted
25 July 2009, 15:52

By Fiona Gounden

The leader of hundreds of people responsible for looting shops in Durban this week should not think “she has got away with it”, warned police, saying they are still conducting intense investigations to charge the rest of the group.

However, the members of the South African Unemployed Peoples’ Movement (SAUPM), which is based in Durban, claim they are not “afraid of police”, and one person who was involved in the looting of shops has opened a case of assault against a police officer.

SAUPM leader Nozipho Mteshane yesterday warned that their “demonstrations are far from over”, and intense meetings were under way to “discuss their next plan of action in the city”.

The looters invaded supermarkets in Durban’s city centre on Wednesday, stealing and eating food from the stores.

About 100 members were arrested after branches of Shoprite and Pick n Pay were looted during a protest march in support of grants of R1 500 for the unemployed.

However, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize said such grants were unaffordable and distributing it to people would bankrupt the government.

Onlookers at the Shoprite store on Dr Pixley KaSeme (West) Street said members of the group ate chips, roasted chicken and other goods inside the store and loaded trolleys to take with them.

At the same time, another group raided the Pick n Pay store in the Workshop shopping centre.

A total of 90 of the arrested looters appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on theft charges on Thursday. They were released on warning and told to appear in court again on August 28.

Yesterday, SAPS spokesperson Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said there were many more guilty parties out there besides the ones already arrested.

“Our investigations are still under way and we will be finding many other offenders who will be identified by questioning witnesses as well as by CCTV footage.”

* This article was originally published on page 5 of The Star on July 25, 2009

SAPA: Journos barred from looting case

Journos barred from looting case
23 July 2009, 14:53

Reporters were on Thursday barred from attending the case of 90 people arrested for looting shops in Durban.

The first appearance of SA Unemployed People’s Movement members was held in the basement of the Durban Magistrate’s Court. The case was initially going to be held in Court 10, but the venue was changed and journalists were not informed.

After spending more than four hours waiting, reporters went to control prosecutor Nhlanhla Mkhize to demand permission to attend the proceedings in the basement.

“We cannot allow you to go down there because it is not allowed. We decided to do it there because we could not bring all of them to the normal court room. We did it for security reasons.”

Journalists would be allowed to see the charge sheet later on Thursday, he said.

The movement’s spokeswoman Nozipho Mteshane said members of her organisation would ask for free bail and deny the charge of theft, stemming from Wednesday’s spree that took in Shoprite Checkers and Pick n Pay outlets.

“We were not stealing. We were just demonstrating. Taking food from the shops was a way of showing government that unemployed people are hungry. We stormed shops after other attempts of appealing for assistance failed.”

She said they had written many letters to the government and also submitted memorandums asking for basic income grants for unemployed people. Mteshane claimed her organisation represented “millions” of unemployed South Africans. She vowed to continue organising similar protests, saying the state would not afford to keep all members of her organisation in jails.

“We will make sure that the soccer world cup is spoiled if our demands are not met.”

Ethekwini municipality mayor Obed Mlaba and ANC secretary in KwaZulu-Natal Sihle Zikalala condemned the looting.

“Notwithstanding the constitutional right of people to strike and the plight faced by the unemployed, the looting of shops cannot be justified. We are disturbed by the movement’s criminal activity. These are purely criminal deeds and they can never be tolerated,” Mlaba said.

The municipality confirmed it received the memorandum from the SA Unemployed People’s Movement a few weeks ago and forwarded it to the departments which dealt with grants.

“While concerns relating to unemployment may be genuine, we believe that yesterday’s rampage accompanied by the looting was smacked with opportunism (sic), where criminals used the protest to satisfy their own selfish needs,” Zikalala said.

He appealed to organisations to use the appropriate channels to voice their dissatisfaction. – Sapa