South Africa: ZACF Statement of Solidarity with Sebokeng Community Struggle

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Sifuna Zonke's picture
Sifuna Zonke
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Aug 15 2007 13:20
South Africa: ZACF Statement of Solidarity with Sebokeng Community Struggle

On Tuesday morning, 14th of August, over 1000 community members from Sebokeng's "informal settlement" attempted to blockade the Golden Highway between Sebokeng and Johannesburg in protest at the ANC government's inadequate service delivery since its election in 1994.

The police arrived in numbers and fired randomly at the community members, allegedly with live ammunition, seriously injuring 6 people and injuring others, including small children.

Thirty-five people were then arrested and taken to the Sebokeng police station, and are being charged with public violence and illegal gathering. When leaders of the Anti-Privatisation Forum and Coalition Against Water Privatisation, under whose banner the protest was held, arrived at the police station to enquire about the situation and try and have their comrades released nine of them were also arrested, for addressing a community gathering.

The fact that the SAPS police, under the ANC, can shoot with impunity at poor people who are merely attempting to have their most basic human rights met reminds one of the Apartheid era police. And it only goes to prove that all governments, even those democratically elected, soon turn on those they are supposed to represent, in order to defend their newly acquired wealth, power and privilege. We know very well by now that the ANC is not concerned with providing for the majority of the population in South Africa and delivering on the promises that got the ANC into power, but that it is only concerned with making a profit out of the people, and further enriching the already disgustingly rich new back elite. Even if it means charging the poorest of the poor for the most basic necessities and essential human rights such as electricity and water, which are laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which South Africa is one of the signatory states, as well as in the ANC People's Charter.

We make take the following stand:

1. We are absolutely disgusted by the ANC leaders, who flagrantly flaunt their wealth in the face of so many poor and hungry people. We are equally disgusted by the police responsible for this atrocity, who have once again shown us that their role is not that of serving and protecting the people, but serving and protecting the interests of big business and capital.

2. We are encouraged and inspired by this bold action by the people of Sebokeng which, by sabotaging the circulation of goods and obstructing the flow of money, struck at that which the government – through the police – most wishes to protect, big business and capital. It is important to note that these protests come only after years of the community having exhausted all legal means - including ANC Alliance channels - to have their voices heard.

3. We wholeheartedly support the poor communities of the Vaal, and all those across South Africa, who are struggling for their basic rights. We are not convinced, however, that the ANC government, or any other for that matter, will ever adequately deliver to the people. But we support these struggles nevertheless as necessary for building the confidence and power for a larger struggle. The struggle for total liberation, that is, the struggle for the people to own and control all the industries and the land, for them to be in control of the communities the live in, and to have power to decide over all that which affects them.

4. The ZACF - which has done numerous workshops in Sebokeng, and has good relations with community activists - in conjunction with Sebokeng residents and APF members, has called for a protest to be held outside the Sebokeng Police station on Saturday, 18th August, to show our disgust at the actions of the state, and to make it know that we will not sit idly by while South Africa reverts back to a police state.

5. We as the ZACF also call on all our comrades around the world, and everyone who supports the struggle of the poor and working poor for a dignified existence, to please organise solidarity actions to be coordinated, if possible, with that on Saturday.

6. We call on everyone who can to picket South African embassies (during the week as opposed to Saturday, when they are closed), as well as to send protest letters and make phone-calls to the Johannesburg City Mayor, Mr. Amos Masondo, Media Liaison to Minister of Safety and Security Mr Trevor Bloem or to carry out any other actions you deem fitting to protest this atrocious act, and warn the ANC government against the course of action they have take. Which is to declare war on the poor, and decree a new form of Apartheid, social Apartheid, which excludes the poor from their rights to a dignified life.

In Solidarity with the struggling people of Sebokeng,
Jonathan Payn - Federation Secretary
Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation

List of contacts:

Director: Media Liaison
Mr Trevor Bloem

Mail: Private Bag X463, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Wachthuis, 7th Floor, 231 Pretorius Street, PRETORIA
Tel: 00 27 (0) 12 393 1523 / 00 27 (0) 21 467 7000
Fax: 00 27 (0) 12 393 2833 / 00 27 (0) 21 467 7032/3
Cell: 002 7 (0) 82 778 3561
E-mail: bloemb@saps.org.za

Personal Assistant
Mr Peter Nkabinde

Mail: Private Bag X463, PRETORIA, 0001
Street: Wachthuis, 7th Floor, 231 Pretorius Street, PRETORIA
Tel: 00 27 (0) 12 393 2810 / 00 27 (0) 21 467 7004
Fax: 00 27 (0) 12 393 2812 / 00 27 (0) 21 467 7036
Cell: 00 27 (0) 82 446 6236
E-mail: peternk@saps.org.za

Sifuna Zonke's picture
Sifuna Zonke
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Aug 15 2007 13:42

The proposed protest march to Sebokeng police station has been postponed until a proper decision has been reached, involving the appropriate structures. This is because it is too late to notify the police, and the march will thus constitute an illegal gathering (sound familiar?), which would probably result in the arrest of many more comrades.

The arrested comrades are still being held, and the hearing has been postponed until Thursday. Bail is not yet set.

On behalf of the APF, donations are being asked for in order to cover this bail, as they still owe a large amount of money, accumulated through years of struggle and having to pay for bail, lawyers etc.

Details for donations are as follows:

Local Donations(ie. from South Africa):

FNB
Acc. No.: 62 02 785 1452
Account Type: Cheque Account
Branch: Bank City

International Donations:

Acc No.: 250805
Block A
3 First place
Bank City
First National Bank
Johannesburg
2000
Swift Code: FIRNZAJJA046

(for donations from the U.S. - JP Morgan Chase- Manhattan Bank)

Sifuna Zonke's picture
Sifuna Zonke
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Aug 15 2007 13:46

Sebokeng does not fall under the City of Johannesburg, but under the Sedibeng District Council.
Contact details for Mayor Mlungisi Hlongwane's office are as follows:

Name: Mayor Mlungisi Hlongwane
Designation: Executive Mayor
Telephone: 00 27 (0) 16 450 3017 *
Fax: 00 27 (0)16 421 3182 *
Email: sibongiler@sedibeng.gov.za

* If you are calling from abroad, drop the (0).

Sifuna Zonke's picture
Sifuna Zonke
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Aug 21 2007 15:41

After 2 nights in jail all 42 of the arrested were released on Thursday, without being charged bail, and all charges were dropped.

The APF is always in need of financial support, to help them cover the costs of the state's attempt to break the social movements by exhausting it's funds through legal processes.

Please note, however, that the account information provided is slightly incorrect, in that the "international" donations information is actually additional information to go with the "local" donations account information.