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Shack-Dweller's Leader Who Toured NZ Faces Death Threats

Shack-dweller's leader who toured NZ faces more death threats

Global Peace and Justice Auckland

Global Peace and Justice Auckland condemns the death threats and political intimidation which has continued against a South African shack-dweller's movement leader who spoke at public meetings in New Zealand throughout September and October. Since that speaking tour S'bu Zikode has faced further threats on his life, again from a senior ANC official.

Soon after his return to South Africa Mr. Zikode, along with 13 others, represented the shackdwellers movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) at a meeting with the new Durban Mayor. This was seen by the movement of the poor as a step towards a meaningful engagement with local government. However, at this meeting Mr. Zikode faced threats of harm and intimidation from Nigel Gumede, ANC's Chairperson of the Housing and Infrastructure Portfolio Committee. Amongst his threats Gumede said that the ANC is at war with AbM and that he has to go to the bushes for Zikode. In Zulu idiom this is a clear threat - a threat of attack, a threat of ambush.

Mr. Zikode is chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), a shack-dwellers organisation which represents South Africa's organised poor on basic issues like access to adequate water and shelter, and on broader political issues. His well-received speaking tour throughout New Zealand coincided with celebrations for the 30th anniversary of protests against the racist 1981 Springbok rugby tour.

Global Peace and Justice Auckland joins with others, including Rubin Phillip (Bishop of the Diocese of Natal), the Church Land Progamme, and all participants at the Diakona Council of Churches in condemning disrespectful treatment and political intimidation against the poor and their representatives.

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