WASP condemns the political arrest of Lucky Ngobeni, Motsoaledi Concerned Residents
The Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) condemns the arrest of Lucky Ngobeni, the chairperson of Motsoaledi Concerned Residents, today (May 2, 2013) by Diepkloof police as a clear attempt at silencing the on-going struggle for housing and electricity in this Soweto community.
Ngobeni’s arrest follows the police murder of Motsoaledi resident Xolani Mtshikwana on April 21 and the arrest on the same day of 17 witnesses to his shooting. Mtshikwana died, and three others were hospitalised, as they were shot with rubber bullets in their yards hours after a community protest for housing, which involved the stoning of cars, had ended.
The arrest of Ngobeni was instigated by a local ANC figure, against whom Ngobeni had laid charges last Sunday after he was attacked and stabbed without provocation while mobilising for a community mass meeting. Ngobeni received treatment at the Lilian Ngoyi Community Health Centre for his wounds. The accused ANC member has now, four days later, decided to in turn lay charges against Ngobeni, apparently accusing him of assault.
Returning from the court appearance of the arrested residents today, Ngobeni was arrested when he arrived at the Diepkloof police station after being requested by the SAPS to provide further information in the case against the ANC member. The apparent collusion between the ruling party and the SAPS is deeply worrying.
The Workers and Socialist Party calls for the immediate release of Lucky Ngobeni and the 17 other Motsolaedi residents. WASP also calls for the dropping of the trumped up charges against the 18, and for justice for Mtshikwana’s family.
– We call for the arrest of the JMPD officers who shot and killed Mtshikwana and for the setting up of a community-led commission of inquiry into his murder, days Mametlwe Sebei, WASP spokesperson.
– We also call for all struggling working class communities to unite in an urgent local general strike against police brutality and for immediate, community-controlled provision of basic services.
It is likely that the SAPS will take the opportunity of the weekend to hold Ngobeni detained until Monday. The previously arrested residents are represented in court by Lawyers for Human Rights.
Thousands of people have lived in Motsoaledi for over 20 years without decent housing, electricity or sanitation.
The Motsolaedi Concerned Residents has organised residents for ten years in countless peaceful protests for housing.
The Masakhane Community Forum, which unites the Motsoaledi Concerned Residents with the nearby organised community of Freedom Park, has recently led the residents of the Elias Motsoaledi squatter camp next to Bara hospital in Soweto in a series of protests for access to housing, electricity and sanitation.