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All Charges Against One Of The Kwandengezi Four Dropped

Thursday, 28 February 2013 Abahlali baseMjondolo Press statement

All Charges Against One Of The Kwandengezi Four Dropped

All charges against Mandla Hlope were withdrawn in the Pinetown Magistrate’s ‘’C” Court this morning.

Hlope is one of the KwaNdengezi Four arrested on the 28th of January following protests against corruption and intimidation in the area. Residents of the area have accused the local councilor, Mduduzi Christian (Nqola) Ngcobo, of corruption and intimidation. Ngcobo ordered the police to arrest the four. Hlope was charged with public violence and assault.

The three comrades that still have charges remaining will appear on the 13 March 2013 in the Pinetown Magistrate's Court. As Abahlali noted these charges against all four comrades were fabricated and meant to redirect our focus away from the politic of truth. We are please that justice has been served for Hlophe but remain concerned that councilors can order the police to arrest comrades on fabricated charges. Why should the poor suffer before the truth could be told? Why should our struggle for land and housing be forced to the courts when we expose corruption in housing?

The politic of truth leads straight to arrest. Usually there are multiple court appearances before the charges are dropped. Yet Nqola, the KwaNdengezi councilor (Ward 12), has allegedly knocked a child to death in his car and yet he remains without arrest. Comrades have laid charges of firing guns and intimidation against him but they remain uninvestigated. Many community activists cannot even sleep in their homes up until today as Nqola and his hit men allegedly patrol KwaNdengezi firing gun shots into people’s homes every night. People who are claiming to be terrorized by Nqola’s gunmen cannot receive any assistance from the police.

We call upon all democrats to oppose all forms of violence and intimidation perpetrated by Nqola. The eThekwini municipality and his party have decided to pretend as if they do not know about Nqola’s conduct in the community. Despite memoranda being handed over and several calls being made to the Office of the Speaker nothing is said or done. We think this may be because they are benefiting from the housing project that has terrorized this community.

Our demands are very clear. If the Municipality and the ruling party really believe in democracy and the Bato Pele principles they must act immediately to investigate all the claims of intimidation against Nqola. They must stop the allocation of houses in the housing project until there is genuine consultation with community and open and credible investigation into the allocations of corruption. They must stop demolishing people's yards and houses. They must stop interfering with people's graves. This is not acceptable in any culture.

Abahlali have also received the news that the KwaNdengezi Station Commissioner who has ruined the reputation of the police station there is being fired today. We welcome this news with the hope that a new Station Commissioner will work honestly for the people of KwaNdengezi. Thus Nqola’s conduct will be dealt with accordingly.


Sekwanele! No House! No Land! No Vote! Everyone Counts

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The Poor People's Alliance: Abahlali baseMjondolo, together with with Landless People's Movement (Gauteng), the Rural Network (KwaZulu-Natal) and the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, is part of the Poor People's Alliance - a unfunded national network of democratic membership based poor people's movements.


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