This weekend we lay two comrades to rest.
On Saturday Siyabonga Manqele, a member of our movement, will be laid to rest in eMasundwini, eShowe. He was murdered during an attack on the eNkanini Occupation by masked police officers on Friday last week. He was shot in the back of the head. He was unarmed at the time of the shooting.
On Sunday we will lay Ayanda Ngila, a leader in our movement, to rest in in eMthalala Village in Port St Johns. He was assassinated in broad daylight on Tuesday last week by a group of hitmen who didn’t even try to hide their faces. They were led by Khaya Ngubane, who is the son of the local ANC chief in the area.
The murder of Ayanda in the eKhenana Commune that he did so much to build
has left us with a deep wound in the struggle for land, decent housing, dignity, freedom and socialism.
We have lost a committed activist, a gentle and thoughtful person. We have lost a selfless leader who has not compromised in the refusal to accept the vandalization of our humanity.
But the commune that Ayanda helped to build remains, even though it is encircled by its enemies. The residents of eKhenana can take pride in the fact that they have land, that they held that land through more than 30 armed attempts at eviction, that they have homes, a communal kitchen, a garden, a poultry farm and the Frantz Fanon Political School. Importantly they also have a system of democratic self-management, shared work and shared meals. Ayanda strongly encouraged full and equal participation in democratic decision in the community.
He was assassinated because he worked to build the democratic power of the poor from below. The ANC does not like to see the poor working together to liberate themselves from poverty. They want to see us plunge further into poverty so that they can keep making money from our suffering. Local leaders see land and housing as opportunities to make money, not as questions of justice. Those who encourage communities to work together are killed like dogs. This is done to send a clear message that anyone who tries to challenge the status quo will face the barrel of the gun.
We are ruled by the gun.
The ANC has no interest in improving the lives of the poor. The leaders in branches and regions of the ANC are thugs who are not worthy to lead our communities. Some of them are hypocrites who also serve in churches like NS Ngubane. Ngubane is nothing but a thug who uses his house to do criminal activities with the Cato Manor Police. He is untouchable since he works with the police. This is something that happens across the ANC branches, local party thugs have captured the police everywhere.
We will ensure that Ayanda is accorded full dignity in death and that he joins our heroes –fallen leaders like Thuli Ndlovu, Nqobile Nzuza, Sifiso Ngcobo, Nkulukelo Gwala and many others – who are always honoured in our movement and in our struggle.
At the memorial for Ayanda held at the eKhenana Commune last Sunday the former Constitutional Court Judge, Justice Zack Yakoob said that Ayanda will now join the likes of Chris Hani in heaven. We will make sure that he takes his place among the long line of people who have given their lives for the liberation of this land its people.
Ngila died at an early age of 30. But he has done what many at the age of 60 have not been able to do with their lives. He lived well and fully and bravely.
He stood against those who wanted the land to be used for profit and not for the benefit of the community. He stood for the truth. He did not compromised in the struggle for land.
The murders of Ayanda and Siyabonga have shown, once again, that if you are poor and living in shack settlement your life and dignity are not taken seriously. Your life can be taken with impunity whether it is by an assassin, the police, private security or the land invasion unit. You are not seen as human.
We will leave no stones unturned in opposing this sense of impunity. We will do all that we can to get justice for Ayanda and Siyabonga. The men who killed Ayanda must be bought to book just as, as a result of organisation and struggle, the ANC councillors who murdered Thuli Ndlovu were eventually convicted and jailed. The police who killed Siyabonga must be brought to book just a, against as a result of organisation and struggle, the police officer who murdered Nqobile Nzuza was eventually convicted and jailed.
We are mourning and we will continue to mourn.
Thapelo Mohapi 084 576 5117
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3274
This press statement was released by Abahlali baseMjondolo on 18 March 2022. The views expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of Karibu! Online or Khanya College.