We Are All Ndabo Mzimela
As everybody knows the struggle in Cato Crest against corruption and for land and housing has been seriously repressed. Last year Thembinkosi Qumbela and Nkululeko Gwala were murdered by the izinkabi and Nqobile Nzuza was killed by the police. Others have been shot and beaten. Some have been beaten in the police station. A number of activists, including those who are not members of Abahlali baseMjondolo and are part of other organisations, like the South African Communist Party (SACP), have had to leave the area. There are regular illegal evictions that are often in violation of court orders and are always in violation of the law. All these actions are carried out with impunity.
Both Qumbela and Gwala were warned to cease their activism before they were killed. They both knew in advance that they would be killed. For this reason we have to take any threat against any comrade very seriously.
In Cato Crest the local structures of the ANC are intertwined with the taxi business and with criminal networks. In Cato Crest corruption runs free and development exists to make the local politicians and their supporters in the Ward Committees and BECs, as well as their families, rich. The struggle of land today it becomes a threat to the politicians when people are homeless and the politicians are busy selling RDP houses to their friends and allocating them to ANC members. The ANC of today is no longer for the people and by the people. They are engrossed by their personal interest. They get in to power to feed themselves and their families. They abandon the poor and make them their audience while eating. Today loyalty to the ANC of Mandela, to the UDF, to the Mpondo Revolt, to the women of Cato Manor, to the ICU and Bambatha requires rebellion against the ANC.
No-one in the ANC has spoken out about the corruption and repression in Cato Crest. The ANC sees Thuli Madonsela as a problem. They see land occupations as a problem. They do not see the assassination of activists as a problem. They do not see corruption as a problem. They do not see a Municipality that tells the landless that they must remain without land, that those in rural areas must remain in rural areas and that those in the Eastern Cape must remain in the Eastern Cape as a problem. Most of civil society and most church leaders and academics are also silent. The only force that we can rely on for sure is our own inkani.
The ANC was very threatened by the road blockades that we organised in protest at repression last year. They were also threatened by the way in which we showed the world that they were acting against the law. They were also threatened by the Marikana Land Occupation and they remain threatened by the way in which the occupation has grown.
Last year S’bu Zikode wrote an article in The Guardian exposing what is happening in Cato Crest. There were also international protests and road blockades across Durban. After this the MEC, Mr. Ravi Pillay, contacted us to begin discussions. The death threats stopped.
Mr. Pillay promised to organise a meeting with the eThekwini Municipality. The last time that we meet with them Nigel Gumede, head of Human Settlements, openly threatened S’bu Zikode with violence. However we agreed to attend the meeting. We organise ourselves to take direct action and to protest but we also organise to negotiate with the state. It is better for the state to have a partnership with the poor rather than big business, the tenderpreneurs and the councillors and their ward committees and BECS.
The meeting was held at the City Hall on 16 September. It was a meeting with the MEC and the ANC of Ward 101 in Cato Crest, SANCO and SACP leadership. As we have explained despite Mr. Pillay’s good intentions that meeting was nothing but an attack on us. The meeting stated it very clear that Ndabo Mzimela and his constituency are disturbing the BEC’s development and taxi business. It was said that our movement is being funded by foreign agencies to cause riots, destabilize the country and undermine the ANC. Ndabo was told to take all his constituency and leave Cato Crest because they do not belong to Cato Crest. One of the taxi men clearly stated that if Ndabo does not back down there will be blood. Nkululeko Gwala was assassinated shortly after similar things were said about him and so we take it very serious when we here these things being said about Ndabo.
After the meeting with the MEC and the local Cato crest ANC leadership at City Hall the situation has never been the same. Further intimidation has been made to Ndabo and he was again warned stop the course that he is coursing in Cato Crest.
During this weekend strange men came to Ndabo’s home three times looking for him. The municipality came twice to check if any new shacks were being built. On the 22 September Ndabo was called to a meeting at the nearest police station by the Station Commander. The police said they were called by their top boss to call for a follow up after receiving a messenger that was saying that Ndabo had been shot by the izinkabi but was still alive despite the shooting. He was warned that the Movement of Abahlali basemjondolo have being declared as Amavukela Mbuso (rebels) and told to back off.
Our Mother Land, Our Democratic country and Our City have turned into a hunting zone whereby leaders who stand against corruption, for the right to land, the right to housing, the right to city and the right to equality are being hunted like animals.
We have taken the slogan from the trade union movement that says an “injury to one is an injury to all” into our movement. This is the foundation of solidarity. Without this we are weak and isolated. All members and supporters of Abahlali baseMjondolo are Ndabo Mkhaliseni Aaron Mzimela. We have twenty three vibrant branches in KwaZulu-Natal. We stand together.
If this democracy is about killing humble leader like Thembinkosi Qumbela, NKululeko Gwala and a school child like Nqobile Nzuza so let it be. We understand that more of us will die in this struggle. We are struggling for our children.
S’bu Zikode, Abahlali baseMjondolo President on 083 547 0474
Zandile Nsibande, Abahlali baseMjondolo Women’s League on 074 7675706
Thembani Ngongoma, Abahlali Spokesperson on 084 6139772
MaMkhize Nxumalo, Abahlali Chairperson on 078 4332719
September 26, 2014
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement