Press Statement from the Protea South Branch of the Landless People’s Movement Sunday, 12 April 2009
As the Protea South branch of the Landless People’s Movement we have been resisting forced removal totransit camps and to the human dumping ground of Doornkop, demanding basic services and organising a bottom up democratic poor people’s politics against top down oppression by councillors and the police that beat people on their orders.
The middle class residents, in their privatised bond houses, want to deny us the right to live here in Protea South. The councillor is, as they always are, on the side of the middle class. The councillor, together with the police, wants to deny us the right to organise here. Our marches have been banned and we have been assaulted. It has become clear that democracy will not be given to us by politicians and the police – democracy is something that we will have to build in our struggle against the politicians and the police.
Because many of the rights guaranteed to us by the law in principle are routinely denied to us in practice we took our struggle to the court. In the court we hoped to find respect for the laws that protect us against forced removal. But our case (no. 17819/08) has been on hold since 13 February 2009. The judge said that he would call us after 3 weeks to tell us whether we have won the right to stay here in Protea South or whether we must accept forced removal to the human dumping ground of Doornkop.
But we have heard nothing from the judge. One of our comrades has already passed away since we were in court.
The national election is on 22 April. Our position on this election is clear. We have finished with putting politicians into power and have decided to put ourselves, as poor people, into power by building our strength from the ground up.
But we have a mountain still to climb and we are worried that this delay in handing down the judgment might be a strategy on the part of the state to hold our case till after the election. We are worried that after they win this election the ANC will deploy their cadres to judge us and then automatically we will lose even though justice and the law are on our side.
Therefore we have decided to hold a rolling picket outside the Johannesburg High Court all day on every day from tomorrow, 14 April till 17 April. Each morning 15 comrades will picket and they will be replaced by another 15 comrades each afternoon. We will be at the court to demand that the judge honour his promise to give us a quick answer.
Down with forced removals to human dumping grounds!
Put yourself in power – build bottom up people’s power, not top down politician’s power!
No Land! No House! No Vote!
Maureen Mnisi: 082 3374514
Maas Van Wyk: 079 267 3203