Please Sign Statement in Defense of Abahlali BaseMjondolo Members

Statement in Defense of the Abahlali BaseMjondolo members

To: James Nxumalo, Mayor, eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa Senzo Mchunu, Premier, KwaZulu-Natal Jacob Zuma, President, Republic of South Africa

Since 2005, the ABAHLALI BASEMJONDOLO (Shack Dwellers) movement has mobilized to fulfill the needs of a large number of inhabitants in the city of Durban who live without access to land, housing, food, education and basic services such as clean water, sanitation, electricity and health care.

In response to this mobilization, the South African Police Service, the Ethekwini Municipality and the ruling political party (ANC) have attempted to criminalize the actions of this movement.

In particular, we have observed:
The continued intimidation, beatings and unlawful detention of activists.
The torture of individuals held in detention.
The demolition and bulldozing of thousands of homes.
The use of the press to slander the movement and its various leaders.

All these forms of attacks have reached a climax from June 2013 until the present at Cato Crest, one of Durban’s most active settlements:
With the assassination of Nkululeko Gwala, the leader of the Cato Crest settlement on the night of June 26, 2013.
With the attempted assassination on September 21st, of Mngomezulu, one of the ABAHLALI movement’s leaders and two of his comrades.
With the demolitions of 100 homes despite five Durban High Court injunctions against them.
With the assassination of Nqobile Nzuza a 17 year old girl, a grade 9 learner at Bonella High School and an Abahlali baseMjondolo supporter on the morning of September 30, 2013.
To this day we have received no word or results about any investigation or attempt to find the assassins of our gifted comrade and community leader Nkululeko Gwala. Nor has any explanation been given as to why the court injunctions have not been respected.

This brutal behavior is a denial of all the ideals of the struggles against Apartheid – a struggle that inspired so many of us everywhere. We, brothers and sisters all over the world, who identify with the legacy of this great struggle, want to express our protest against these injustices and solidarity with the ABAHLALI movement, which is a continuation of the struggle for liberation, for land, for equality and justice.

We remember the priorities of the ANC before the liberation. Land redistribution was a central issue, given that 87% of land was in the hands of the white minority. After 20 years, less than 7% of that land has been returned to the African communities, mostly given to a Black elite, which serves the interests of neoliberal policies and organizations.

We are stating here that we hold all political parties in the South African government accountable for these abominable actions. To those in government, and most importantly to those who fought against apartheid, we ask that you act today to put an immediate end to these abuses. And we demand that the rightful aspirations of the ABAHLALI movement and all South Africans to a home, a life with dignity, and an end to the concentrated land ownership of the pre-apartheid era be fulfilled.

Massimo De Angelis University of East London)
Iain Boal (Berkeley)
Michaela Brennan (Ann Arbor)
George Caffentzis (University of Southern Maine)

Wendy Chapkis (University of Southern Maine)
Harry M. Cleaver (University of Texas at Austin)
Chris Carlsson (San Francisco)
Silvia Federici (Hofstra University)
Jim Fleming (Autonomedia)
Peter Linebaugh (University of Toledo)
Alamin Mazrui (Rutgers University)
Donald Monty Neill (Boston)

NB: Please send notice of your agreement with this statement to