Solidarity Call Out for Abahlali Basemjondolo

Two black women in South Africa were recently violently killed – most likely by state actors – to little public reckoning. Although these women were both killed in separate incidents, they were both active members of Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) the shack-dwellers movement which has challenged local ANC rule for better housing and exposed local corruption.

Housing activists in New York, London and Budapest have called protests over the weekend in solidarity with all housing activists in South Africa facing repression particularly AbM to highlight their action. Details for the London demo below:

London – Abahlali UK Solidarity

Please take a moment to sign this petition that will be submitted to South Africa House, London on Saturday 22nd November. 

Watch this 5 minute video on the assassinations:

Below is the petition text:

Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) is a grassroots, democratic and member-led organisation based in Durban, a city in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. AbM have an impressive record of exposing corruption and asserting the constitutional rights of thousands of the marginalised shack-dwelling people. We, the undersigned, are in support of the resolve of AbM members to strive for more participatory forms of development and to advance the struggle for access to urban land.

We condemn all assassinations, political murders and other acts of violence and intimidation against AbM members and housing rights activists. In the past 18 months, four housing rights activists have been killed. This includes two prominent AbM members:

1. Thembinkosi Qumbelo (assassination, Cato Crest) – 15 March 2013
2. Nkululeko Gwala, aged 34 (assassination, Cato Crest) – 26 June 2013
3. Nqobile Nzuzua, aged 17 (police murder, Cato Crest) – 30 September 2013
4. Thuli Ndlovu, aged 36 (assassination, KwaNdengezi) – 29 September 2014

We also note that more than 450 political assassinations have been documented in post-Apartheid South Africa with the majority taking place in KwaZulu-Natal province. We are troubled by the reports of collusion by the police and elected officials in the recent attacks on the Cato Crest. We place our solidarity with all activists facing repression in South Africa.

We believe that it is the right of people to engage in activism that is free of repression.

• We call on the South African government to create safe spaces for peaceful dialogue between housing activists and local, national and provincial authorities
• We call on the South African government to investigate the murders of these activists through a formal process of inquiry.
• We believe that the democratic state of South Africa has a duty to protect its citizens.

(with thanks to The Multicultural Politic for the main content of this post)

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