HANDS OFF ABAHLALI! DOWN WITH CORRUPTION AND REPRESSION! FOR DEMOCRATICALLY PLANNED DEVELOPMENT!

The Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) condemns the latest acts of repression – ANC-instigated evictions of and assault on Abahlali baseMjondolo members – in Cato Crest in the strongest terms. We urge all progressive organisations and individuals to stand in solidarity Abahlali.

This attack is the latest in a long history of repression and harassment against Abahlali and other progressive organisations that fight corruption and defend the interests of working class people. For the second time in just a few weeks, the local ANC councillor Mzimuni Ngiba and the ANC Branch Executive Committee instigated action by the Ethekwini Municipality demolish the shacks of Abahali members in Cato Crest. This despite Abahlali having won a court order which makes the evictions illegal.

The trigger for the attack seems to have been an attempt to expose corruption in the media by Abahlali president S’bu Zikode on the TV show iLungelo Lakho, where he mentioned Ngiba. This shows the fear of these corrupt people of having their evil deeds exposed to the light of public opinion. Targeted shack demolitions continue despite a second court interdict. Again this demonstrates the ANC government’s utter contempt for the rule of law which they claim to uphold. The ANC is using tribalism and promoting conflict between shack dwellers and people in formal housing – these are divide-and-rule tactics worthy of the apartheid government.

The murder of Abahlali activist Nkululeko Gwala on June 26 followed threats and intimidation by the ANC. He was shot twelve times, an assassination that mirrored the murder of another housing activist in March. Witnesses also say the shooters were the same people. No arrests have been made for either murder. We note, in contrast, the state’s excessive enthusiasm in pursuing charges against activists which hardly ever result in convictions. The WASP calls for the formation of community self-defence committees to monitor, prevent and act against the ANC’s campaign of terror.

The WASP supports development and demands decent housing for all. However, ‘development’ under the ANC-led government has become a vehicle for patronage and corruption to enrich the emerging black elite. The ANC-government is committed to the capitalist economic system which secures the vast majority of society’s resources in the hands of a few while the majority who create the wealth are shut out from accessing it.

This is why the WASP was formed last year, by the Democratic Socialist Movement together with mineworkers’ strike committees, as a new political party to unite workers and poor people in struggle to take on the ANC and its capitalist masters on every front – the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP). The WASP stands for a simple programme of struggle for nationalisation of the mines, land and big companies to be run democratically by workers and working class communities in the interests of satisfying the needs of all instead of the greed of a few, for decent housing and services for all, including free, equal quality education and health-care for all, for jobs and living wages for all – a programme for the socialist transformation of society. The WASP is built on the principles of no privileges – elected representatives cannot earn more than the average of their constituency and are subject to the right of immediate recall. The WASP is still in formation as an umbrella in which many independent organisations of workers and working class communities can participate. It will hold a conference at the end of 2013 and aims to contest the elections in 2014.

THE WORKERS AND SOCIALIST PARTY CALLS FOR:

* An independent investigation into the murders of Nkululeko Gwala and Thembinkosi Qumbelo and all other crimes against activists which must be democratically controlled by the Cato Crest community without intimidation.

* The resignation of Cllr Ngiba – followed by a by-election. We urge the community to put forward an independent candidate who will be subject to recall and will not earn more than a skilled worker. Such a candidate will have the full support of the WASP.

* Stop the evictions and demolition of shacks.

* End the transit camps – build houses for all in the area but also shops, roads, schools, embankment of steep slopes, proper town-planning for decent livelihoods.

* Democratic control by the community and workers in the housing development. No to tenders – use local labour and the setting up of community building cooperatives.

* No to tribalism and discrimination of people from the Eastern Cape.

* No to the port expansion! Invest the money in upgrading our communities.

* Nationalise the mines, the big farms and companies under democratic control by workers and communities – plan to use the wealth for decent lives for all.


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