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South Africa: Abahlali Continues to Grow Despite Threats and Repression

South Africa Abahlali baseMjondolo: Our leaders continue to live under threat and we continue to receive detailed information from multiple credible sources about plans within the eThekwini ANC to continue their campaign of serious repression, including assassinations, against our movement. In recent days unknown men have been driving around asking people where our General Secretary lives.

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.

At around 9 pm on Sunday two members of Abahlali sustained serious injuries from being shot at with live ammunition by the Metro Police during a protest by metro police. The protest was organised in the eNkanini land occupation in Cato Manor as a result of electricity not being available in the area for more than three days. Mr. Zungu and Mr. Zikalala are currently in hospital for injuries sustained in the leg and in the hand respectively. It is fortunate the bullets did not go in a life threatening part of their bodies. Once again it has been made clear that the lives of impoverished black people count for nothing in this society.

As we have being saying since 2005 we do not need electricity, our lives need electricity, especially in this cold weather in winter.  When there is an electricity fault in elite suburb the municipality respond immediately, but impoverished black are expected to live without electricity for days. We are left to die in the shack fires caused by candles because we don’t have electricity. When we organise and show our anger by going to the street we are attacked.

Although we are operating under very careful security measures we are sufficiently well organised, and have enough depth in our leadership, to be able to continue with our struggles, and to continue to build our movement. This weekend the movement was able to launch two new branches in Volkrust and Amersfoort in Mpumalanga, and to presented ubuhlaism in Daggakraal, also in Mpumalanga, where some residents have begun the process to join our movement. We now have branches in good standing in five provinces, including more than forty new land occupations in KwaZulu-Natal alone. In April this year our audit of members in good standing in KwaZulu-Natal passed 50 000. There are still a number of branches to audit in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as all the branches elsewhere in the country.

We have gone through previous waves of serious repression in 2009, 2013 and 2017 including organised slander, assault, torture, arrests and detention on trumped up charges, the destruction of our homes and assassinations. In 2018 we are facing another wave of repression. Our movement has grown through the years despite this repression and we will continue to organise and to build the democratic power of landless and impoverished people from below. In our darkest times solidarity from other progressive forces has been invaluable and we wish to note our thanks and respects to those organisations, in South Africa and internationally, that have taken clear positions in solidarity with our movement and our struggle.

We also wish to note that it has come to our attention that a political party has been selling access to land in new occupations in Gauteng. There are cases where people in one occupation belong to or have links to a variety of organisations. In these cases it is vital to build trust between people, and unity in struggle. But while we take the need to build unity in struggle very seriously our movement has always been opposed to any attempt to exploit the struggles of impoverished people by charging people for access to land, and services. We condemn this attempt to commodify and exploit the struggle for land. While we are willing to build unity in struggle ubuhlalism requires us to oppose any attempt by any individual or organisation to sell land in new occupations.

Land & Dignity!

Abahlali baseMjondolo, July 17, 2018


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