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South Africa: Why this Suffering?

Durban. South Africa. April 23. 2020. Blood is running like a river through our homes. We are under constant attack from Calvin & Family Security, the police, and the eThekwini Municipality. Sometimes the army is also there during attacks. Our children are beyond traumatized when they see their only homes being demolished. They are full of fear and anxiety when they see their parents being brutally attacked and hunted with live ammunition like wild animals.

Submitted to Enough 14.

When our homes are destroyed we are made more vulnerable to coronavirus and rape. Our phones and money are also stolen during these evictions. How are we supposed to care for our children when we have to sleep in the bushes and live with no money and no phones to call for help?

The Azania land occupation has now faced more than 40 evictions since February 2019. After they were evicted last week 29 women were accused of contravening the lockdown,  arrested and taken to KwaKito. Their crime was to sleep on open ground after their homes had been destroyed by Calvin & Family Security. Some had to leave children as young as two years old. This is so humiliating and sad.

In 2018 one of the officers at KwaKito, Phumlani Ndlovu, was convicted of murder after he killed Noqibile Nzuzu, a 17-year-old girl, in 2013. Women in our movement have been assaulted at KwaKito and tortured with rubber tubes put over their heads and their faces pushed into water again and again.

Yesterday eKhenana was evicted in a violent attack in which live ammunition was fired at unarmed people running for their lives. In February 2019, after 30 evictions, eKhenana was granted an interdict by the Durban High Court. The community is still protected by that interdict. If you are poor and black you do not count to the law.

The government says that we are criminals because we occupy land. We occupy land because we don’t have money to pay rent and we are tired of the abuse that we receive from government men. We need land for living. We build homes for our children and cultivate the land to feed our families. We are proud of all the new land that we have opened to build new communities.

The government never says that the men that come to evict us, in violation of the Constitution, the law, court interdicts, and lockdown regulations, are criminals. These men insult us, beat us, sexually harass us, steal our money and our phones, and shoot at us with live ammunition. If we try and report these attacks to the police we are threatened and chased out of the police station.

We as the Women’s League of Abahlali we want to know why does our government send armed men to attack us for building homes and cultivating land but no one from private security, the anti-land invasion unit, the police or the army is ever arrested for attacking and abusing us?

President Ramaphosa, Minister Sisulu, Premier Zikhalala and Mayor Kaunda are all silent when we are attacked. They have all failed to protect us. It is clear that just as we do not count to the law we also do not count to the government as citizens. In fact, we do not count to them as human beings.

We as women of Abahlali baseMjondolo we have faced eviction, arrest, assault, torture and assassination from the ANC government since our movement was formed in 2005. We have buried our husbands and our children because of the violence of the ANC who are amabhunu amnyama.

Senzeni na?

We, as the women of Abahlali, we appeal to the women of the world to be in solidarity with us and to join us in the struggle to put an end to this abuse and brutally by the government of South Africa. We shout with hope. We need to stop the flow of blood running like a river through our homes. We need to be allowed to grow our children in peace. We need to abolish evictions.

Women of Abahlali, April 23,2020

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