ANC Thuggery Undermines the Rule of Law Once Again
ANC Thuggery Undermines the Rule of Law Once Again
Yesterday we occupied the centre of Durban in our thousands. After our march some of us went to court, once again, for the Cato Crest matter. We have won a number of orders from the High Court interdicting the eThekwini Municipality from illegally evicting our members from the Marikana land occupation at Cato Crest. However the Municipality has just ignored these court orders. The court eventually decided to order various officials to appear before the court to explain why they should not be arrested. But even the agreement made to stop the evictions, which have been violent, while the Municipality prepared its case, was violated. While we were in court threats were made against us and guns were openly passed around outside the court. Two activists have already been assassinated in Cato Crests and death threats have to be taken seriously.
Yesterday the court ruled that both our legal team, and the Municipality's legal team, must go to Cato Crest today. All of the people who were part of our application to the court to force the Municipality to stop its illegal evictions were supposed to be at their shacks with their IDS so that it could be clearly shown to all parties which shacks were protected by the court order.
Today we went to Cato Crest as ordered by the court. However the process that the court has ordered could not take place. The land invasions unit were there. Ngiba, the local councillor, was there with people believed to be his hit men. There was a senior politician there in a black BMW with blue lights. The ANC had mobilised their supporters. Songs were sung threatening us. Death threats were made against S'bu Zikode and Bandile Mdlalose. Our lawyer was intimidated. S'bu Sithole, the ANC Community Liaison Officer in the area said that Bandile must be the next to be killed.
After a long discussion between municipal officials, their politicians, and their attorney they pretended that they were consenting with the court order and that we should start the process. But then they pointed out a group of ANC supporters, of which some did not come from the community, and said that they are prohibiting this process. They did this so that it will appear as if the officials and the lawyers are complying with the court order and now there was a new stumbling block, which is the so called "ANC constituency". Whilst this was happening Mzi Ngiba was addressing this group and inciting violence. The Municipal lawyers used this as an excuse for not complying with the court order. When AbM asked why the SAPS is not protecting us to comply with the court order they asked our lawyer if they should shoot people? This is funny because they have been shooting at Abahlali for protecting their homes against illegal evictions. When the court order has to be enforced now suddenly the SAPS is unwilling to enforce the law.
Eventually we had to leave the area without completing the process requested by the court.
Our members have been illegally evicted from their homes based on their ethnicity (it is said that they are from the Eastern Cape and that they must return there). When they have tried to organise their leaders have been assassinated. When they have gone to court to force the Municipality to cease its illegal evictions the court orders have been ignored. When they have gone to the streets to protest against these evictions they have been arrested and beaten by the police in custody.
We have been openly threatened with death in ANC meetings in Cato Crest, we have been threatened by the ANC in court and we have now been threatened with death by ANC members while trying to implement the process mandated by the court. We have survived very serious threats, intimidation, lies and repression over the years. We will survive this. Yesterday our red sea bought thousands into the centre of the city. We occupied it. We showed our power. We showed it peacefully.
It is clear to us that we are dealing with a City that has contempt for the poor and hated for the organised poor. It is clear that we are dealing with a City that has contempt for the rule of law. It is clear to us that we are dealing with a City that is very happy to deal with us with the violence of the police, ANC members and assassins (izinkabi) instead of engaging us politically or in the courts. It is clear to us that we are dealing with a City that is only interested in housing as a source of wealth and power for members of the ruling party.
We will stand firm for our dignity. We will stand firm for our right to this city which is a right to live in this city and to shape it from below. We will stand firm for our right to be part of this democracy. We will stand firm in our demand that wealth, land and power must be shared. We will stand firm in our instance that everyone counts.
Update: After this statement was finalised the local ANC in Cato Crest met saying "akulalwa namhlanje bazoshishia nezindlu" (there will be no sleeping today, they burn us with their houses". This threat against our members in Cato Crest has to be taken seriously.