South Africa. Press release by Abahlali baseMjondolo from Monday, February 3, 2020.
Submitted to Enough 14.
There has been a long struggle against reblocking in Vusimuzi. It has been imposed in a top down way, with no democracy. Many people’s homes have been destroyed. The situation has been made worse by the local councillor, Councillor Seloane, who has exploited an already authoritarian process to try and weaken our movement and strengthen the ANC. Our members have been systematically disadvantaged by the process, and the mob violence has been encouraged against us from the ANC. At the time the local police have acted under the instruction of the councillor, ignored the law, and colluded in repression.
On Sunday 26 January one of our comrades was left homeless by the reblocking process. The councillor told her that she must apologise to the community for being an umhlali (member of our movement). We did not agree that she should apologise for being an umhlali, and we could not accept that someone should lose their home for being a member of a democratic movement. We therefore rebuilt her home.
They councillor called the Anti-Land Invasion unit to destroy the new home. We engaged the Department of Human Settlements and they agreed that we could elect our own CLO, and begin a democratic process of bottom up grassroots urban planning. On Wednesday a new street was opened and residents were allocated stands. This time we made the stands big enough for families so that we can live with our children free and not in a box. Our community was very happy. We worked very well with the Department.
However, the councillor was very unhappy with our movement working directly with the department. On Sunday 2 February he called a public meeting which he said would be about electricity. He used that meeting that only he can allocate stands and he said that ANC members who are tenants must occupy the stands.
ANC members were encouraged to attack us again. We were taking photographs and a guy came from nowhere and slapped Jabu Qwabe, who is 37 years old. We asked why they were doing this and they started throwing beer bottles and stones at us, and attacking us with sticks. We ran towards Jabu’s house and they followed us throwing stones. Mr Hlongolo was injured and his child, Unathi, ran to her father. They beat her on her forehead with a stone very hard. She fell immediately and she fainted. We ran to the clinic and they took her to hospital. Unathi and both her parents were very injured. Unathi is still in ICU.
Now the police are looking for Mr Hlongolo even though he did nothing wrong. This is not the first time that the police have wanted to arrest people after they have been attacked and beaten by people mobilised by the ANC Ward Committee. And this situation is not unique to Tembisa. It has happened elsewhere in the country since 2009 when the ANC, with the backing of the police, attacked our members in the Kennedy Road settlement and destroyed their homes.
Our chairperson went to the Tembisa police station but they didn’t attend her. But they attended Meriam from the ANC ward committee. Most of the people from the committee were drunk.
The ANC are now threatening to burn down the house that we rebuilt.
The child was bleeding badly before we reach to the clinic. We need prayers
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