On Saturday at about 10am ANC thugs molested and assaulted Phumelele Mkhize, Snothando Mkhize, Nomlindelo Madlala and Nomfundo Mhlongo at the eKhenena occupation. The police came and instead of arresting the ANC thugs they arrested two of the women that they had attacked: Phumelele Mkhize and Maphiwe Gasela. Maphiwe has previously been arrested and imprisoned on false charges that were finally dropped on 4 October. The two were charged with assault in the same matter that Nokuthula Mabaso, Sindiswa Ngcobo and Thozama Mazwi were arrested and charged for earlier this month.
The other three women who were assaulted by the ANC thugs were rushed to the hospital, treated and released. They then went to open a case of assault with the police in Cato Manor. One was able to open a case and the other two were denied and told that they were wasting police time.
A police officer known to the three women phoned NS Ngubane, the local ANC chief, to ask if the police could open cases for the three women. Ngubane refused and then the police refused. The police said to the women that they must come to the police station with Mr Ngubane and the ANC thugs that assaulted them to have a meeting.
This means that only the ANC people are allowed to report Abahlali members and when ANC members make allegations the police immediately arrest Abahlali members without any investigation. But, if it is Abahlali members that are being raped (as happened last year) and assaulted there will be no arrests. At best a meeting must be held to discuss that with the perpetrators and NS Ngubane.
A total of ten comrades have been now arrested, beginning with the arrests of Ayanda Ngila, Lindokuhle Mnguni and Lando Tshazi in March this year. This was followed by the arrests of Mqapheli Bonono, Maphiwe Gasela and Siniko Miyo in May.
The charges against Ngila, Mnguni and Tshazi were dropped on 29 September and the comrades, who had spent six months in prison, welcomed back to eKhenana with a huge celebration. The charges against Bonono, Gasela and Miyo were dropped on 4 October.
The ANC, with the support of the Cato Manor (KwaKito) police, then attacked the occupation again with the arrests of Nokuthula Mabaso, Thozama Mazwi and Sindiswa Ngcobo on Friday 8 October. They were twice denied bail and sent to Westville prison before finally being granted bail and released from prison on Thursday last week, 21 October. As with the previous arrests their bail conditions prevent them from returning to eKhenana.
There is a clear pattern. People are arrested on faked charges with the Cato Manor police working closely with NS Ngubane, the local ANC chief. The arrests happen over the weekend – often on Fridays - so that the comrades who have been arrested have to spend the weekend in the notorious Cato Manor police station. They are then denied bail on the spurious grounds that they will intimidate state witnesses. While they are in court NS Ngubane, a man who has publicly threated to ‘deal with’ eKhenana and its leaders, openly walks in and out of the office of the Chief Magistrate, EB Ngubane. Bail is then denied on the grounds that the accused will ‘intimidate state witnesses’ after which they are sent to the terrible Westville Prison. If bail can be won after a number of court appearances the bail conditions prevent the accused from returning to eKhenana.
These arrests exact a huge toll on the people that are arrested and their families, and on the organising at eKhenana. They also place huge pressure on our movement forcing us to spend much of our time in court and with lawyers. These arrests are a clear misuse of the criminal justice system with the clear aim of breaking the spirit of the residents of eKhenana with the ultimate aim of destroying the occupation and weakening our movement.
This weekend the ANC in the area vowed to arrest the entire community as a way to evict everyone out of the occupation.
This weekend it was also made very, very clear that the Cato Manor police openly take instruction from NS Ngubane. They do not even try to hide it. This morning the police were seen at his house having a conversation. As we have noted above, and in previous statements, NS Ngubane also has free access to the Chief Magistrate EB Ngubane. The criminal justice system has been captured by the ANC.
Today, Monday, 25 October, the two eKhenana women arrested on the weekend - Phumelele Mkhize and Maphiwe Gasela - appeared in court and were released on R500 bail each. As always happens their bail conditions prohibit them from returning to eKhenana on the grounds that they “will interfere with state witnesses”.
The local ANC violently attacks residents of the occupation and vows to have everyone in eKhenana arrested while the eThekwini municipality is bringing eviction proceedings in court. This is an all-out attack on the occupation.
We know that the aim of this ongoing repression is to destroy the occupation and for the ANC to take control of the land. We also know that in order for the ANC to campaign in our communities without being challenged by brave comrades who insist on telling the truth they must distract us from real issues and keep us in jails and in courts.
We ask our comrades to stand in solidarity with eKhenana women who are under attack from the alliance of the local ANC in Cato Manor, the Cato Manor police, the eThekwini Municipality and the courts. We kindly ask comrades in other countries to write to the president of the country, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele and the Minister of Justice Mr Ronald Lamola. We also ask you to stage protests at the South African embassies and high commissions in your respective countries.
Issued by Abahlali baseMjondolo