PRESS STATEMENT: CALL FOR ACTION AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE AND FOR SERVICE DELIVERY IN KEISKAMMAHOEK, PEACEFUL AND DISCIPLINED MASS ACTION MUST CONTINUE
On Monday 19th March 2018 communities from 35 villages in Qoboqobo (Keiskammahoek) within the Amahlathi Local Municipality in the Eastern Cape rose in protest against poor services and lack of accountable service delivery.
During this peaceful demonstration which was within the rights of the community the police shot and killed one community member who together with scores of others were pursued and injured in a cowardly manner. The deceased’s name has not been released yet. We express our solidarity and condolences with his family. We stand with the family as he died standing up for his rights and our collective dignity. A cruel police bullet cut his life short. His killing is an injustice. We will join the people of Keiskammahoek in their customary role of solidarity and support as her family prepares to return him to his ancestors. We call for public solidarity with his family and community at this moment. We call for the investigation and arrest of the police officers responsible for his extra-judicial killing.
We are further infuriated by the attitude of the Station commander at Keiskammahoek Police Station. Since the protests yesterday, community activists and leaders have staged a sit-in at the police station demanding action against the killing police. The Station Commander has been uncooperative and obstructionist. We wish to remind him that he is accountable to us and we have a right to protest.
As the Ntinga Ntaba ka Ndoda rural movement, we join the local community and other structures in expressing its deep shock at the callous behavior of the state against innocent and unarmed people. This happens as we are remembering the shooting of our people in Langa and Sharpville on the 21st March in 1961. Even worse is the fact that this is not first time the people of Keiskammahoek have risen up in protest. The police suppressed a similar protest in 2013. This protest forced the then Premier Noxolo Kieviet came to make promises that have not been fulfilled to this day.
This police action also amounts to turning issues of democracy and rights into matters of security. We do not need bullets. We need answers, action and accountability.
We are forced to conclude that the government is hell-bent on protecting corrupt elements within the municipality whilst criminalising the voice of the people in its unbridled attempts to implement an authoritarian approach which is characterised by top down policies and imposition of undemocratic and unaccountable leaders upon the people. We call upon the government to investigate and bring to book all those responsible for this brutality against our people. Concerning the killing of Comrade XYZ and the overall actions of the police yesterday, we will formally submit complaints against the South African Police Services with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), the Public Protector and the Human Rights Commission.
As an organisation of the people, Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda calls for the continuation of the protests until government listens to our demands. We call for disciplined, peaceful and sustained mass action. In the coming months, we will continue with our programme of community meetings and sustained mass mobilisation and action against poor service delivery and a people-driven transformation of Keiskammahoek.
Issued by Ntinga Ntaba kaNdoda
For enquiries please contact
- Ntombolundi Zitha – 073106-0928 (Secretary)
- Nompumezo Katangana – 0835842121 (Youth Coordinator)
- Simbongile Kamtshe – 060 484 1032 (Programmes Coordinator)
*Ntinga Ntaba Kandoda is a community organising mobilising rural communities in Kieskamahoek in the Eastern Cape. To follow the organisation visit www.http://www.ntabakandoda.org.za/