Tuesday, Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Five Hundred People Blockade Road in Grahamstown this Morning
This morning five hundred people from eThembeni and Transit Camp in Grahamstown blockaded the N2. The eThembeni people were demanding housing, electricity and water. The Transit Camp people were demanding the completion of their houses. The project has stalled due to non-payment of the contractors.
The road was successfully occupied, fires were lit and posters declaring a refusal to vote were raised. The police, acting with their usual aggression and insults, managed to clear the blockade and put out the fires. When the television crews arrived the police behaviour became less aggressive and it was possible to reoccupy the road. But once they left the people were driven off the N2 and the road blockade moved into Joza where it was broken up again. The protest continued on the pavements until three in the afternoon. There were no arrests.
The statement below was drawn up in a meeting last night but could not be issued until today due to a lack of access to email.
Monday, 16 May 2011
National Road to be Blockaded Tomorrow in Grahamstown
It is that time of elections, a season of lies and deceptions. Political parties and political leaders are visible and some visit our homes. If they find us cooking or eating, they take some and eat, let alone that there after they will get to their five star hotels, take a bath and wash their teeth, making sure their hands are clean because they were greeting us the unemployed and the poor. Elections are a time for free booze, free entertainment, free t-shirts and free pretences.
The people of eThembeni will be barricading the national road tomorrow, the N2 intersection that is between Extension 5 and Extension 6.
They will be barricading the road because they do not have access to water, roads, electricity and housing. Makana municipality’s backlog on housing is estimated to be 13 800. Recently a fire erupted and a couple was trapped in the fire. They died trying to escape. The power lines run over the burnt out remains of their shack on the way to the brick factory. But they were never seen as good enough to have electricity. In eThembeni the people live with snakes. There are number of cases reported where some residents were bitten by snakes. A snake is a cold blooded animal and when people collect woods and create fire to cook, the snakes are many times found next to the fire.
These residents have been voting, their votes have not translated into anything. The only translation they can see is their Councillor Rachael Madinda becoming a fat cat, affording two cars, one house in the township and another one in town. The voters are stuck in permanent poverty as the councillors rise into riches.
Councillor Rachael Madinda is on the ruling party candidates list for the district. This is promotion. Promotion for what, only the ruling party can explain. She is not the only one, Councillor Peter is also on the list for a mayoral candidate while people in his ward don’t have water, houses, unemployment is the order of the day, the dam level is said to be on 5,0 in his community, meaning its only mud. He has done absolutely nothing for his community. Now we know what the criterion for promotion is in the ruling party. We must be denied and stripped all of our basic rights. Those in power must enrich themselves, steal and plunder our resources. Politicians are rewarded for keeping the people under control while they are excluded from society. Any politicians that tried to represent the voters would soon be sidelined.
If indeed voting is the democratic right then we must remember that words acquire meaning in action. We can no longer allow ourselves to be fooled by the kleptocratic elites by imposing fancy words on us. Democracy means our voice. It means that we govern ourselves and we determine our destiny. It does not mean that every few years we give permission for a new set of politicians to rule us in our own name while we are excluded from all decision making.
We are rebelling because we are poor and because the political and economic elites in this country are united in their contempt for the poor. All over South African and all over the world the poor and the unemployed barricade roads as a means of protest. We cannot strike and therefore the road blockade is the logical tactic for us. We are rebelling because the better life for all is better life for the few elite. We are rebelling because those in power do not care for us; we are only voting cattles to them. We are rebelling because we are fed up and sick and tired of the elite, they are suppose to be looking after our interests and now they are jackals and we are sheep. Sheep is all we are to them. How can we entrust our lives to such heartless and cruel people?
Our destiny is in our hands. This is a realisation that we are our own liberators. Nobody will liberate us but ourselves.
Xola Mali – 072 299 5253 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Ayanda Kota – 078 625 6462 – email@example.com