Category Archives: Thembelihle

Daily Maverick: The Army vs. Thembelihle: Where the truth lies

Richard Poplak

At around 3:30am last Wednesday, a young man named Sipho Dlamini was startled awake by insistent knocking. It was the sort of baton-on-zinc wake-up call that people have been experiencing in this country for generations. When he leapt out of bed and approached the source of the commotion, Dlamini couldn’t help but notice that his shack was surrounded by a phalanx of cops and soldiers. The law had shown up before dawn on this chilly morning, ostensibly to deal with the problem of xenophobic violence. But Dlamini wasn’t involved in xenophobic violence—in fact, he was involved in protecting foreign nationals from xenophobic violence—and he suspected that the men with guns might have arrived with something else in mind. When the first blows connected, he knew he was right.

“Ah, comrade, they were very rough,” Dlamini told me. Continue reading

The Times: More than 180 arrests in raid on Thembelihle informal settlement

Police‚ metro cops army and home affairs officials descended on the Thembelihle informal settlement near Lenasia on Thursday morning.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Kay Makhubela‚ who said Thembelihle had been identified as a hotspot for violent crimes‚ told RDM News Wire that‚ at the time of publication‚ more than 180 people‚ including illegal immigrants‚ had been taken into custody.

“It’s more than that [180]‚ much more‚ and we expect to make many more arrests for various crimes during the course of the day‚” said Makhubela. “We will be here the whole day.”

A media briefing with arrest statistics is expected to held later on Thursday. Continue reading

The Life and Death of Dr Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat, 23 February 1943 to 27 January 1989

The Life and Death of Dr Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat, 23 February 1943 to 27 January 1989

Jon Soske

At the time of his murder in 1989, Dr Abu Baker ‘Hurley’ Asvat was widely revered as ‘the people’s doctor’ based on almost two decades of medical work in Soweto and health projects initiated across the Transvaal as Azapo’s secretary of health. Despite his close relationship with leading African National Congress (ANC) figures and his major role in anti-apartheid medical activism, Asvat’s name rarely appears in histories of the liberation struggle and his life’s work has been almost completely overshadowed by the controversial circumstances of his death. This article reconstructs Asvat’s biography from his childhood in the multiracial Johannesburg neighbourhood of Vrededorp to his medical study and political activism as part of a Pan Africanist Congress (PAC)-aligned student group in Pakistan; from his significant role in non-racial cricket to his emergence as a central figure in Soweto’s life and politics. This article also reflects on the relationship between Lenasia and Soweto as social spaces during the years of apartheid and interrogates the ways in which apartheid racial categories – particularly ‘African’ and ‘Indian’ – continue to structure how historians represent the recent past.

Click here to download this paper in pdf.

Comrade Zulu R.I.P.

Comrade Zulu from the Landless People’s Movement in Thembelihle has passed away. He was a brave and highly respected comrade. The funeral will be this Thursday. Lala Ngoxolo. Hamba kahle qhawe. Contact Maans van Wyk for details: 079 267 3203

Arrest and release of Simphiwe Zwane in Thembelihle – 24 October 2011

Arrest and release of Simphiwe Zwane in Thembelihle – 24 October 2011

Councillor Simphiwe Zwane, a ward councillor for the Operation Khanyisa Movement (OKM) – an affiliate of the Democratic Left Front (DLF) – representing the Thembelihle informal settlement and its surrounds, was arrested late on Friday 21 October 2011 on charges of intimidation. The charges stemmed from her participation in and organisation of recent protests at the settlement. Zwane was charged with intimidation of the local ANC councillor.

The arrest took place the day after Bhayiza Miya, another organiser of the protests was released on bail by the High Court, after it decided that there was insufficient evidence against him to support an almost identical charge of intimidating the local ANC councillor – and no evidence at all against him on a number of other charges (including public violence and malicious damage to property) relating to the recent protests.

Update – 24 October 2011

Councillor Zwane was released today after the Control Prosecutor at the Protea Magistrates’ Court declined to prosecute because there was not enough evidence to support the charge against her. Had Zwane not been represented by a SERI attorney, Teboho Mosikili, Zwane would likely have been remanded in custody for at least another day. Mosikili forced the police to produce the evidence on which she had been charged, leading the Prosecutor to conclude that there was insufficient evidence to sustain the charge. The charge was then withdrawn.

Zwane’s arrest is the latest in a series of arrests of people who participated in or organised the recent protests in Thembelihle. Some people arrested claimed that they were just walking by the protests when the police apprehended them and had absolutely nothing to do with them. The organisers of the protest, including Miya and Zwane, have apparently been arrested at the behest of members of the local ANC, including the local ANC councillor, Janice Zondi. Little to no evidence has been produced against them and they have been released with the help of competent legal representation – after spending periods of a few days to over a month in detention.

Such evidence as has been produced is in the form of statements from local ANC members, upon which the police justify the arrest and detention of the organisers of the protests. Zwane, Miya and the other protestors are invariably identified as the ANC’s political opponents.

It remains to be seen whether the charges proffered against Miya and the others can be substantiated, but, at present there is insufficient evidence to justify the refusal of bail, let along to bring them to trial. SERI is concerned that the police, the department of correctional services, and the criminal courts are being enlisted (more or less knowingly and willingly) in a politically motivated campaign to criminalise protest and to stifle opposition to the state and the ANC in the Thembelihle informal settlement. Zwane’s arrest, in particular, appears to have taken place on the mere say-so of the ANC councillor, or an ANC member close to her – and in the absence of any evidence against her.

Please contact the following DLF representatives for more information:

Vishwas Satgar (DLF) – 082 775 3420

Mazibuko K. Jara (DLF) – 083 651 0271

Sphiwe Segodi (OKM) – 072 655 4177