Re-Launching the Kennedy Road AbM Branch

2 09 2011

Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
2 September 2011

In September 2009 the Kennedy Road Development Committee, a structure that was
always subject to annual election with the right to recall ,and which was
working hand in hand with Abahlali baseMjondolo, was expelled from Kennedy Road
by armed members of the ANC. Willies Mchunu then imposed an ANC committee on
the community. He called this the ‘liberation’ of the settlement and said that
the elected structures were ‘illegitimate’ and that the unelected committee
imposed by armed force was ‘legitimate’. The committee imposed by Mchunu did
nothing for the community. Things went from bad to worse. The houses that the
ANC promised after the attack were never built.
For a long time AbM had to operate underground in the settlement because the
death threats, assaults and demolition of people’s homes continued for months
after the attack. When AbM began to operate openly there were death threats and
assaults. But our members were brave and they continued.

As a movement we are always very careful to struggle with people and not for
people. We do not impose what we think is good for the people. We never launch
a branch anywhere without getting a democratic mandate from that community. Our
members in Kennedy Road are now ready to formally launch a new AbM branch in
the settlement.

Many people of Kennedy have renewed their membership of being Abahlali and have
committed to work with Abahlali baseMjondolo movement in advocating for decent
housing and basic services in the settlement. Electricity is a big issue in the
settlement. The municipality has been violently disconnecting people, even
those who applied for legal electricity. Another big issue is the construction
of the intersection on the N2 that is next to Kennedy. The municipality has
putted a budget of 350 million for this road. Only ANC members are getting work
on this construction. The councilor is controlling the employment. And the
biggest question is if there is money to construct the road why can the
government not build houses for the people that live in Kennedy, some of whom
has stayed in shack for more than 20 years.

Tomorrow, 03 September 2011, we will be launching the New Kennedy Road
Development Committee at 09h00 at the Kennedy Road Community Hall. As always
this new structure will work with all the people irrespective of their
political affiliation. We call upon all the media to come and witness real
democracy taking place.

For comment please contact:

Mr Mzwakhe Mdlalose: 072 132 8458
Mr Mnikelo Ndabankulu: 081 309 5485
Abahlali baseMjondolo office: 031 304 6420

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