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The Msunduzi Municipality engages the ANC, not the people

D 13 février 2022     H 05:00     A Abahlali     C 0 messages

On the 28th of January residents of the Jika Joe settlement in Pietermartizburg took to the streets after a long history of state abandonment going back to 1994. For more than a quarter of a century the Msunduzi Municipality had failed to address the inhumane conditions in the settlement, and had failed completely to address the issue of housing despite numerous promises. At the same time the taxi mafia and local politicians were supporting the landlords who were extracting rent from the residents.

As a result of the road blockades organised on 28 January, which shut down the city, the municipal Speaker, Eunice Majola, was forced to come and address the community. She promised to come back to the community with a response after meeting with the officials in the Human Settlements department. She spoke like a leader that was not biased and as leader that was prepared to solve the issue with the community. Her good faith was noted and appreciated.

However yesterday it was a different story. Firstly we were told that the meeting was in Alice. When we arrived there was no meeting. Later we were told that the meeting would be held outside the Brookside Mall. When we got there we waited until we heard from other people that in fact the meeting was being held at Jika Joe. When we went back to the settlement we were made to wait while ANC members were brought in.

When the meeting eventually started it was called and chaired by the Mayor of the Msunduzi Municipality, Cllr Mzimkhulu Thebollo. It was immediately clear that it was an ANC meeting and not a community meeting. It was also clear that there was a well-funded campaign by the ANC, including the Mayor and the Speaker to only have ANC people in support of the ‘transit camp’ (i.e. government controlled shacks to which people are confined forever) present. ANC members were mobilised to attend the meeting by City officials acting on the mandate that they must support these inhuman ’transit camps’.

Municipal officials became ANC officials in the meeting. The Mayor was arrogant and forced people to accept the ‘transit camps’, which come to us from colonialism and apartheid. Who would have thought that the ANC would still force poor black people into transit camps after 26 years of democracy ?
Voices that were against the ‘transit camp’ were crushed by the Mayor and the Speaker.

It was clear that the Mayor and the Speaker were adamant in their goal to divide the community. The divide and rule tactic is always used by the ANC to weaken the oppressed.

It is unfortunate that there are people in the ANC who have no moral values, whose only interests is to loot more while the poor continue to live under such inhuman conditions in the shack settlements. Our lives and our dignity mean nothing to them. We are just ladders for them to climb up as they amass wealth and power.
The ANC is corrupt to the core. This corruption is so entrenched that it cannot and will not be fixed. The meeting in Jika Joe proved this one again. The ANC have no regard for the people. All they do is to drive around in fancy cars with armed bodyguards. This is not leadership. It is domination. A true leader takes their mandate from the people. But when genuine leaders emerge in a community the ANC will do whatever it takes to deal with that person even if it means assassinating them. These people are not just criminals. They are oppressors. As the song says “Amabhunu amnyama asenzela i-worry”.

The meeting in Jika Joe was not a community meeting. It was an ANC meeting that was well funded to persuade people to accept the ‘transit camps’, to accept that their oppression must be permanent. This is because there are people who are already being paid for this project and the ANC always put tenders before anything else.
Because the meeting was undemocratic and City officials had suddenly became ANC representatives we decided to walk out of the meeting as Abahlali baseMjondolo. We saw that the ANC was ready to fight against us and the Mayor was instigating this. However we are not violent and so we walked out in protest.

The ANC of today is great disgrace to our democracy and the struggles of millions of people, mostly poor and working class people, that brought it into power.
We have repeatedly defeated the ANC on the ground and in the courts, and now they are losing elections too. We will not give up the struggle for democratic and participatory planning in Jika Joe. We will not give up the struggle for decent housing in Jika Joe. We will never accept that we should be sent to ‘transit camps’, as if we were animals. Our humanity is non-negotiable.

Inkani izovula indlela.
Isithunzi asithengiswa.