The Right2Know campaign strongly condemns the unwarranted and seemingly politically motivated arrests of Abahlali Basemjondolo’s Deputy President Mqapheli Bonono and Siniko Miya on what appears to be fabricated charges of conspiracy to commit murder. We view these arrests as an attempt to intimidate, silence, and inflict fear unto the progressive and resilient movement of the landless.
We have been witnessing the relentless onslaught and attempts to destroy the movement through infiltrations, assassinations, brutalization, and arbitrary arrests of ABM activists for over 10 years. We say enough is enough and we won’t stand aside and watch attacks on organized communities and grassroots organizations that are at the forefront of trying to change and address the material conditions of communities.
These persecutions, prosecutions, and targeted assassinations of Abahlali activists happening across the country where ABM exists, but more especially in KwaZulu Natal especially in the areas of Cator Manor and eKhanana in recent times, are an antithesis to the struggle for land and dignity.
Already an estimated 16 Abahlali members have so far been killed by hitmen and private security thugs, many of them connected to local ANC politicians and criminals. Not only have Abahlali been subjected to police violence, but we have also noted how the eThekwini Metro has also unleashed tyranny through the deployment of private security to strike fear and intimidation and at times, inflict mete out structured violence and repression on ABM’s activists.
We know that these threats and arrests are not faced by Abahlali alone. Across the country, those fighting state and corporate abuses are being intimidated, threatened, arrested, and even killed.
Alongside these killings, we see constant threats, repression, and police brutality against communities engaging in their right to protest. We will never forget the miners shot down in the Marikana Massacre in 2012, and we will never forget the dozens of others killed by police and private security in protests in post-apartheid South Africa. The increased securitisation of the state is a major threat to our constitutional rights!
The violence against community activists is an attack on the right to organise. It is a threat to our collective Civil Liberties and a threat to our democracy. We, therefore, in defence of this right and the many other constitutionally guaranteed rights such as the right to protest, stand together and call on those in Civic Organizations, Labour Movements, Student Movements, in Land Occupations to stand in solidarity with Abahlali to say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
For more information contact:
Verushka Memdutt, Provincial Coordinator: 083 311 6397
Sthembiso Khuluse, Provincial Organizer: 081 575 3832
Thami Nkosi, Interim Programmes Manager: 062 624 5992