AbM: “A Quiet Coup” reviews attacks on AbM

2 06 2010

A Quiet Coup
South Africa’s largest social movement under attack

By Toussaint Losier
Originally published in Spanish at Desinformémonos
An earlier version of this article appeared in Left Turn Magazine

At roughly 11:30pm on September 26th, a group of 30 to 40 men – survivors are still unsure about the actual numbers –surrounded the community hall in Kennedy Road shack settlement in Durban, South Africa. Brandishing sticks, machetes, and automatic weapons and echoing the language of the state-sponsored internecine political conflict that tore through South Africa during the last years of apartheid, the mob launched an attack on a meeting of the Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) Youth League taking place inside the hall. In the melee that followed, over a dozen people were injured, with four people left dead and the attackers left in control of the hall.

Read the rest of this entry »

Media: If you don’t vote, you can complain

15 03 2009

Open letter to South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC)
Rosa Blaauw and Jared Sacks (2009-03-11)
Source: Pambazuka News

Re: Misinformation on IEC TV ads for voter registration including the ad ‘if you don’t vote, you can’t complain’

Dear Chairperson Dr Brigalia Bam,

A recent television ad for the campaign for voter registration by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has a line which implies that non-voting South African citizens have no power to bring about change in this country. ‘If you don’t vote, you can’t complain’ shows the short-sightedness and arrogance of the current political system, which attempts to convince South Africans that voting is the most effective and only way to bring about change in this country.

We are not stating that democracy cannot help a country if democracy is defined as the people taking control over the political system. But these ads seek manipulate people. They offend our rights as citizens and undermine the constitution which enshrines our right to choose our political convictions as well as our right to protest. If the most effective way to measure democracy in a country is the way those in power treat dissent, then South Africa continues to fail as it uses both violent and manipulative means to keep people quiet. Read the rest of this entry »

Academia: Apathetic youth a thing of the past

12 03 2009

Changes to our political landscape have energised young voters, and by turning out in numbers to cast their ballot, they will shape our future

March 11, 2009 Edition 1
Imraan Buccus
Source: The Mercury

IT’S voting time again. This time, the youth vote has attracted considerable attention. There seems to have been an explosion of political activity among young people, a revitalisation that we haven’t seen since the years leading up to our first democratic elections in 1994. Read the rest of this entry »

Thousands of Gugulethu AEC supports converge on Social Services in protest against party politics

27 01 2009
Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign
Tuesday January 27, 2009

Tomorrow at 7am, thousands of Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign supporters will converge on the local Social Services office to confront officials about the so-called “Social Relief of Distress Grant” which is being politicised and made available only to certain ANC members via the local ward councillor.

The Gugulethu Anti-Eviction Campaign will be handing over a list of thousands of poor residents whom we have spend hours registered. We are demanding that we too are included in the grant because (as poor people from Nyanga, Gugulethu and Manenberg) we qualify and deserve equal treatment as ANC supporters.

We expect Zola Skweyiya, Minister of Social Development, to respond to our demands for equal access to government grants regardless of political affiliation. This action will lead towards the launch of our No Land! No House! No Jobs! No Vote! Campaign which seeks to remove party politics from the delivery of services and convince residents to hold all politicians accountable to their communities.

For comment, please call Mncedisi at 078 580 8646 and Speelman at 073 9825 725

Media: ‘No house, no jobs – no vote’

14 01 2009

Clarification: Mncedisi was misquoted in this article. The AEC will not prevent anyone from voting if they feel compelled to do so.  This is a decision our communities have taken collectively and we are therefore collectively exercising our right not to vote. Through experience, we have found that direct action is the only way to force politicians and those in power towards change.

Verashni Pillay
13/01/2009 12:23
Source: News24

Cape Town – Poverty action group, the Anti Eviction Campaign (AEC), is planning a nationwide boycott of the upcoming general elections – and is campaigning for others to follow its lead.

“Our people have been voting from April 1994,” Western Cape Provincial AEC Coordinator, Mncedisi Twala told News24.  “[But]We have never had a fruitful result out of those elections, because all that we see is corruption, nepotism and the promotion of the private sector.” Read the rest of this entry »

Passive Voting or Active Boycott: The True Question of Elections

13 01 2009

by Jonathan P & James Pendlebury
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front

This article argues that active abstention is the only strategic and tactical approach to the 2009 South African elections which is consistent with revolutionary anti-capitalist politics. It was written for a forthcoming issue of Khanya: A Journal for Activists, which will present a range of different approaches that social movements may take in response to the 2009 elections. It has been aptly noted that, on the ground, in townships and poor communities across South Africa, people’s faith has been restored in the ‘new’ ANC, that their hope has been renewed that change can come through bourgeois parliaments and political parties, be it the ANC or Cope – or the DA, IFP, ID, UDM, ACDP or PAC. For some, the response to this is that we, the extra-Alliance left, must consolidate our forces and contest elections against these parties in order to provide an alternative to their rule. But where is the alternative in so doing? Read the rest of this entry »

VOC-FM: AEC calls for election boycott

8 01 2009
Posted on: 2009-01-07 06:57:14
Source: VOCFM

The South African government might be in for a surprise at this year’s general elections, as discontent campaigners are urging the impoverished communities around the country not to vote this year. Provincial coordinator of the Anti Eviction Campaign (AEC), Mcebisi Twalo, told VOC on Tuesday that the new Government is marginalising the poor.

‘Over the last 16 years the new Government has only serviced the BEE, black elite and their families, while the plight of the poor is ignored,’ he said. He criticised members of government that lived in townships during the struggle and have opted for the wealthier more developed suburban areas instead of giving back to their original communities.

The AEC said that they expected a very troubled run up to elections, couple with ‘chaos when the results of the elections are announced, and we know that no one will accept the results’. Twalo referred to the elections as a ‘power play between politicians’, one where the ‘needs of the poor do not even fit into the agenda.’  He urged all communities that found themselves inflicted by poverty and dire situations to boycott the elections in a bid to avoid what he called voting their own poverty.

The AEC accused all the parties contesting the elections this year of being corrupt and said that the South Africans were not able to trust their own government. Twalo accused the ruling African National Congress (ANC) of only furthering their own interest while promoting members of their family into powerful positions and selectively only granting certain people grants such as food parcels and housing.

He also lashed out at the newly formed Congress of the People (COPE), expressing his concern about its members ‘being in parliament for over 14 years and not doing anything for the poor.’  Another issued he raised was the lack of service delivery for theses under developed communities who Twalo said was not a priority for the government.

‘Everyone from the Police Department to the Court is against the poor’.  He suggested that the only solution to the on going plight of the poor was a complete revolution of the government that ‘needed to realise that sub economic communities would not tolerate being lied to.’

The Campaigns coordinator called on Archbishop Desmond Tutu – who last year publicly announced his unwillingness to vote – to join forces with the AEC and its alliance partners to take this matter as far as possible. VOC (Aisha Mouneimne)