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South Africa Cato Crest: Blockades at Vusi Mzimela Road and Jan Smuts Highway

South Africa: Today at 3 am Abahlali baseMjondolo in Cato Crest took to the street and blockaded Vusi Mzimela Road and the Jan Smuts Highway.

Submitted to Enough is Enough.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

South Africa: Abahlali took to the streets in Cato Crest this morning

Today at 3 am Abahlali baseMjondolo in Cato Crest took to the street and blockaded Vusi Mzimela Road and the Jan Smuts Highway. 

For a long time the community has been side-lined by the Ward Councillor when it comes to providing basic services, including those which are urgently required for basic human dignity and safety. The community has been living in the area without electricity, proper water and toilets. People are raising children in these dangerous conditions.

Earlier this year the current Mayor Zandile Gumede promised to speed up the process of providing electricity and sanitation in the settlement. These were empty promises. Politicians continue to lie to people to get their votes and then send in the police to attack people when they demand what was promised to them in the first place by politicians.

This is the very community where we lost Nqobile Nzuza, a 17-year-old girl who was brutally murdered by the police. This is the community where Nkululeko Gwala, the chairperson of Abahlali in the area, was assassinated

The Municipality continues to defy Abahlali. They don’t regard the people of Cato Crest as human beings. We are seen as rubbish. The politicians are only interested in our votes, they are not interested in our dignity, or even our lives. 

The protest forced the officials from the Municipality arrived to address the community. The community were very clear that the politicians were continuing their lies.

The community in Cato Crest is sick and tired of being lied to by politicians. They want services to be provided to them now. Instead of providing services the Municipality continues to try and weaken the community by dividing them. They say that people from Eastern Cape must go back to ‘their province’ if they want services. This is outrageous and we will never accept it. South Africa belongs to all who live in it. If you live in an occupation you are from that occupation. 

We have given the Municipality seven days in which to respond to the demands made during today’s protest failing which we will make the entire Cato Manor ungovernable.

It is not our intension to cause disruption and chaos. All we want is to live dignified and safe lives. The problem is that the politicians continue to lie to the people while forcing them to continue to live in undignified and life-threatening circumstances. It is the disrespect of the politicians for impoverished people that leads people to react in the way that they do.

If the politicians want to stop the protests they must not send in the police. That will only make the people even more angry. The way to stop the protests is to engage people respectfully and to build a genuinely participatory democracy.

For as long as our dignity continues to be violated by the municipality we will continue to fight. We are not frightened by police who threaten us with guns. When it comes to our dignity we don’t fear anything. We cannot compromise on our dignity as human beings.

Abahlali baseMjondolo, May 21, 2018


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