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Our movement was formed on the basis of living politics. A politic that speaks about the fact that the poor still live under very inhuman conditions, the fact that we still do not have land, that we do not have even basic services such as water, sanitation and refuse collection in the shacks, the fact that the fires come year after year. Ipolitiki ephilayo has been our way of living. It is the politic of Land, Housing and Dignity, the politic of solidarity the politic of building the democratic power of the oppressed from below.
Dignity has been central to our struggle. We believe that the poor in shack settlements and in the rural areas must be recognised as people with dignity, in the same way that the dignity of the middle class and the elites is recognised.
Our country continues to be the most unequal country in the world. Poverty is growing. Unemployment is growing. Almost 75% of young people are now unemployed. Those in NGOs and government who were advising ‘a politics of patience’ at the time when our movement was formed were advising the poor to accept a system of oppression in which we become poorer over time.
This situation is a result of colonial oppression, the system of capitalism, neoliberal policies and the massive corruption of the political elites who are only interested to enrich themselves and their families.
We have been saying for years that the ANC has been gangsterised from the bottom to the top. The State Capture Report has shown the truth of this to the whole world. Billions were stolen by greedy individuals whose aspirations are to drive fancy cars and live in luxury houses while we live in shacks of indignity. We welcome the report.
However, we note that it focuses on the looting by the elites. We also need a focus on ANC gangsterism at local level. In Durban there is a ‘business forum’ in every party branch. These are violent mafia organisations that use intimidation to capture government tenders and extort money from private businesses.
The ANC led government never cared about the poor. When the people say, as Frantz Fanon said we must, “Stop thief!", the ANC claim that they are stealing for the people when in fact as everyone can see they are stealing from the people. These people are liars as well as thieves.
While the elites grow rich and fat on the people’s money we continue to live like pigs in the mud in shacks. It is no surprise that millions of people refused to vote for them in the elections in November last year.
They have no shame. During the elections they were up and down making promises. Now they are walking away from shacks and rural areas and drive in their fancy cars and live with the elites. When the poor speak they are shot and killed by law enforcement and SAPS. We are faced with evictions and are relocated to places that are far from the places of work and opportunities.
As we speak the eThekwini municipality has filed papers to continue with the destruction of the eKhenana Occupation. They want to ‘relocate’ a well-established community that has developed a commune that has sustained many families to a place that is 40 km away from the city, away from opportunities, schools and hospitals. They also want to ‘relocate’ the community of Matlock to a place that is far from opportunities. These are forced removals. This is the way a government that is anti-black and anti-poor operates. We do not forget that the apartheid government did exactly what the ANC is doing, forcefully remove people away from the cities and to places that are far from opportunities.
The ANC embrace the continued impoverishment of the majority of black people. They do not want to see the lives of the poor improved. We will continue to fight for the marginalised in the face of oppression. Steve Biko once said "It is better to die for an idea that is going to live than to live for an idea that is going to die". The living politics that we speak about in our General Assemblies, Community Meetings and Politic Education is an idea that is going to live for the next generation.
Issued by Abahlali baseMjondolo