ABAHLALI BASEMJONDOLO MOVEMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA (WESTERN CAPE PROVINCE)
Website: khayelitshastruggles.com or http://www.abahlali.org
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org office admin: 073 2562 036/ 083 446 5081
As a movement we have become used to the blatant hypocrisy of the DA over the years.
The DA says that it wants to crack down on crime and support the rule of law but then it engages in unlawful and criminal evictions, as in Macassar Village in 2009. In South African law any eviction without a court order is an unlawful and criminal act and yet the DA began to demolish shacks without a court order on 21 May 2009. We went to court to secure an urgent interdict to stop the DA from engaging in these criminal attacks on the poor and we won that interdict and yet you then went ahead and demolished shacks in violation of that court order. The criminality of your municipal government here in Cape Town was condemned by local church leaders and international human rights organisations.
This was not a one off event.
The DA engages in systematic criminality against the poor in Cape Town. On the 21st of September 2010 your party sent in the City Police and the SAPS to attack the Hangberg shack settlement in Hout Bay. You had no court order and your demolitions were again unlawful and criminal. To make matters worse the police engaged in wanton acts of serious violence against the community. This has all been documented in the brilliant film known as ‘The Uprising in Hangberg’ which we are calling on all people in South Africa to view and to discuss in their communities. This film really shines a light on the war that is being waged on the poor in this country.
When we have organized road blockades we are demonized as ‘violent’ even though we have never harmed another human being on one of our protests. Yet when you send in your police and they do serious harm to people, even destroying their eyes with rubber bullets, your party is not presented as it should be, as a violent and criminal organization.
Just last Friday the DA destroyed 26 houses and shacks in Mandela Park. Once again this was an unlawful and criminal act. When the people in Mandela Park protested at the criminal actions of the DA your party had them arrested! It is clear that you have no respect for the right to protest when that protest is directed against the DA.
Just recently the DA has been making a big noise about press freedom. The ANC are a threat to press freedom. There is no doubt about this. Yes it has become clear that the DA’s opposition to the intolerance of the ANC is sheer opportunism. The hypocrisy of the DA has been made crystal clear by your decision to blacklist Anna Majavu from The Sowetan newspaper. We read that the DA is claiming that she has a political agenda because she used to work for a trade union – the South African Municipal Worker’s Union. This is outrageous. Will you also blacklist Donwald Pressley from Independent Newspapers because he used to work for the DA? Will you blacklist any journalist that you to work for a corporation? We all know that you will not. Your organization is the one that is expressing serious political intolerance here. Anna Majavu has the some right as anyone else to work for a newspaper. The DA takes it as normal and neutral for someone to have an elitist view on the world. But when someone comes from the background of seeing the world from the perspective of the working class or the poor the DA sees this as biased and threatening. Your position on press freedom is sheer opportunism and hypocrisy.
Anyone who takes a serious position on any matter has to take it consistently. A commitment to freedom of expression is only really tested when it comes to allowing the free expression of criticism of yourself or your organization. The DA has failed this test. You want freedom of expression for yourself and others from your background but not for everyone.
We are not fooled by party politics. We are very well aware that party politics is a battle between different factions of the elite. We know very well that the ANC engages in unlawful and criminal evictions in all the places where it holds power. We know very well that the ANC is hostile to press freedom and that it has backed violent attacks on our comrades in Durban and the blatant demolition of their homes by party thugs.
We remain determined to reject party politics and to build the power of the poor from the ground up. However we cannot be silent in the face of the blatant and shocking hypocrisy of the DA. The DA is a party of privilege that wants to dress itself up in the language of the rule of law and human rights but it only wants the rule of law and human rights to be protected for the rich. When it comes to the poor the DA supports state criminality and state violence. You are not even true liberals. You are just claiming to be liberals in order to protect your privilege.
For comment call: Mzonke Poni ABM WC Chairperson 073 2562 036/ 083 446 5081