Theft at Mandela Park Backyarders office and creche while death threats against backyarder members continue

9 03 2011

Backyarders Press Release
8 March 2011

At about 4.30am on Saturday morning 4 thieves were arrested by city police while pulling 3 wily bins full of groceries, cooking pots and office equipment including 2 computers and a printer.

They had broken into 2 offices in our Andile Nhose Community Hall. One was the Backyarder’s office and the other was an affiliate soup kitchen project for the elderly. They also went to break into children’s classrooms at our community creche where food and children’s belongings were stolen.

A theft and breaking and entering case was opened at Harare police station against the thieves.

We remind you that this is the same police station where a recent attempt murder case was opened against DA member and later changed into common assault due to interference by MEC for housing (Bonginkosi Madikizela).

Pattern of intimidation and death threats against members

There are a number of unprecedented incidents directed to our member’s eve-since the Backyarders lodged the attempted murder case against DA branch chairperson Mr. Mxolisi Molly. Loyiso, a member of the Backyarders, has had his house repeatedly raided by 3 unknown undividuals who have left ‘serious warnings’ to his spouse. Busi, another member, faced threats at gunpoint while attending a funeral. The two men warned her saying she talked too much in our meetings. They went on to say it was not her place to tell Backyarders of what Mr. Mxolisi Molly is capable of doing.

On top of all that, we now have had our office and our children’s project broken into. We seriously don’t know what will happen next as the police at Harare Police Station will not take our demands seriously. One detective told us that this is due to influence and interference from senior government officials.

A corrupt state against the poor

These are serious precedents which imply a corrupt state and where the rule of law protects only the rich and politically connected while it criminalises the poor who challenge this or that political party

We thank the city police for the courageous work to capture the thieves on time. It is rare that we, as poor people, receive good service from government so we must thank them when we are helped. We also thank our courageous members who managed to call the city police and who assisted in the capturing of theses thieves.

In the light of the ever increasing elements of politicised criminality in Mandela Park, it must be understood that the underlying factor behind the violence against our members is the lack of real development such as houses and youth facilities that can encourage young people to get involved in positive campaigns. The Backyarders understand these development challenges very well and will do all it takes to uplift our community without the help of the government where necessary.

As Backyarders we cannot divorce the break-ins from these recent death threats that are directed to our members. There is anger and jealousy amongst government officials and politicians since we can do that they cannot do.

Because they don’t have the support of the residents of Mandela Park, they resort to violence and intimidation. Because they don’t have the votes of the residents of Mandela Park, they resort to buying poor people’s support. Since they know they are wrong and unjust, they criminalise us as poor people.

We will never back-down no matter what tactic they apply against us. The tactics of our movement is driven by our circumstances of being poor and oppressed and not greed and power-hungry obsessions.

Umanyano Lwabahlali!

For more information, contact:

Khaya – 078 024 1683
Slulami – 073 620 0781

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