Sunday, May 30, 2010

Police kill Landless People's Movement militant in Johannesburg May 30 2010

The Landless People's Movement in Johannesburg continues to face
repression. A number of its leaders are now in hiding. Police attack in
eTwatwa, Ekurhuleni; one person is dead and another seriously injured.

Saturday, 29 May 2010
Landless People’s Movement Press Statement

On Sunday 23 May residents of the bond houses in Protea South, Soweto,
attacked the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) in the shacks in Protea
South. They went around disconnecting us from electricity and beating
those who had been connected to electricity. They tried to burn down
Maureen Mnisi’s shack and two people were shot. One died on the scene.

Today the police attacked the LPM in eTwatwa, Ekurhuleni. At least three
people were shot with live ammunition. One person has died and another is
currently being operated on in hospital.

The background to the police attack on the LPM in eTwatwa is that on
Tuesday 24 May we organised a march on the Councillor for Ward 65, Cllr
Baleka. The different extensions each had their own demands but at the
last point of the memorandum we all united on one demand which is that the
Councillor must immediately step down. We indicated that we expected a
response to our demands within seven days.

On Thursday 26 May the Provincial Government sent us a fax saying that
they would meet us next Wednesday.

The situation in Extension 18 of eTwetwa is very bad. There is no
electricity, no sewerage, no roads, not even water – there is nothing. The
Councillor did start a project to build toilets but she said that only 717
of the 1 149 people would benefit as the rest of the people would be
evicted to make way for a new road to be built by the provincial
government. They want to move these people to transit areas. Obviously we
cannot accept this. We have stayed in Extension 18 for many years.

We were expecting to attend the meeting with the Provincial Government on
Wednesday next week. But yesterday, on Friday, Cllr Buleka, using the car
of the Erkuleni Municipality drove around calling us to a meeting to be
held today. But we had already suspended her. We no longer recognise her.

So today a meeting was held in the community and it was decided to go the
councillor’s office. The councillor’s supporters provoked the protestors
and in the end stones were thrown at her office. At 10:00 a.m. the police
came and they used their guns. They used live ammunition. We have one of
their bullets. They shot one woman dead. Another woman is in hospital
right now having an operation.

After the shooting the people became even more angry. Some community
members burnt a shack of one of the councillor’s supporters in retaliation
to the murder of their comrade. The police attacked the people again and
used teargas. Even more community members arrived and between ten and
fifteen people were arrested by the police. The police are noe hunting all
the LPM leaders from extension 18 and extension 10 in eTwatwa. We have all
gone into hiding.

The ward councillor must step down. There are no services in eTwatwa and
the councillor is oppressing the people, trying to stop us from organising
and even supporting the plans to have us evicted to a transit area.

We are calling for Msholozi to come down. He must come down to the people,
hear our anger and then act against the councillor and the police. If he
refuses to do this then he is clearly the President of the politicians and
not the president of the people.

The situation in Protea South is still tense. The police are around. On
Thursday we had a meeting with Eskom. Eskom said that they can’t install
electricity to the shacks as we are not proclaimed. It is true that the
government has never proclaimed the area in which we have built our
shacks. But the people have proclaimed it. Anyway, the RDP houses, the
Masakhane houses and the bond houses are all on land that has been
proclaimed. It is just the shack dwellers that are denied the right to
stay in Protea South and denied the right to services. Eskom did say that
they will launch a pilot project with one electricity pole for every 82
families. But the total number of shacks is around 6 400. One electricity
pole for every 82 families is not a good enough response to our demand for
electricity. If the government continues to deny us legal access to
electricity we will continue to appropriate electricity for ourselves.

Protea South remains in darkness after the shack dwellers burned the
transformer in response to the attempt by the residents of the bond
houses, who are calling themselves the Homeowners Association, to
violently disconnect us from electricity. Everyone has now been
disconnected. If the poor are not allowed to have electricity why should
we allow the owners of private houses to enjoy it?

The Homeowners Association continue to say that they don’t want shack
dwellers here and that they want us to be removed.

Every time the government says that Operation Khanyisa - community
organised electricity connections - are ‘criminal’ they turn poverty into
a crime. It is the government’s criminalisation of poverty that has
incited the homeowners to attack us.

Bheki Cele is the one that has called on the police to shoot to kill. When
as the poor we are turned into criminals we are placed in the line of
fire. When we organise to fight against oppressive councillors and for
access to services the police are shooting us. But when the poor go to
vote then the police are there making sure that we are safe. When we are
killed by the police we hold Cele responsible.

Organised shack dwellers have to defend ourselves when we are attacked by
the police, the rich or, as it happened in Kennedy Road in Durban, the

Self defence is no offence.

We are very worried about the World Cup. Billions are wasted on the World
Cup, billions that should have gone to meet the most urgent need of the
poor. The government tells us that we must ‘feel it’ but in Protea South
we don’t even have electricity. Some of us are in hiding from the police.
People have been shot and two people have died in recent days.

The government expects us to be silent to everything that has been done to
us. We will not be silent.

For more information and comment please contact:

Ben Mofokeng (eTwatwa) 078 679 9435
Edward Leople (eTwatwa) 083 885 5009
Maureen Mnisi (Protea South) 082 337 4514

The Shacks of Two Landless People's Movement Activists are Burnt Down in Johannesburg as the Police Look On May 30 2010

On Saturday one Landless People's Movement activist was killed, another
seriously injured and many more beaten and arrested in a viscous police
attack in the eTwatwa settlement in Johannesburg. Early on Sunday morning
the homes of two LPM activists were burnt down as the attack on LPM
degenerated into what threatens to become a full fledged ethnic pogrom in
the settlement.

There are striking parallels with the attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo
(AbM) in Durban late last year. AbM and LPM have quite different modes of
internal organising but work closely together and are both, along with the
Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign and the Rural Network, part of the
Poor People's Alliance. LPM also has links to the Zabalaza Anarchist
Communist Front.

Landless People's Movement eTwatwa
Emergency Press Statement Sunday 30 May 2010

The Homes of Two LPM Leaders are Burnt in eTwatwa as the Police Look On

Early this morning the shacks of two members of the Landless People's
Movement (LPM) Executive Committee in eTwatwa, Ekurhuleni, were burnt

After the police attacked the LPM yesterday, killing one person and
seriously injuring another, David Mathontsi, chairperson of the new LPM
branch on eTwatwa, went to the Far East Hospital to visit the wounded.
While he was away from his home the supporters of the local ward
councillor went to his shack looking for him and his wife. They pointed at
his children with a gun. David did not return to his shack and managed to
get his children out.

At 2:30 this morning David received a call to say that the councillor's
supporters had returned to his shack with the police. David's younger
brother was looking after the shack. He was shot at but managed to escape
after which the shack was burnt down by the councillor's supporters as the
police looked on. David and his family have lost everything that they own.

The group, still with police protection, then burnt down the shack of
another member of the LPM Executive Committee in eTwatwa. After that they
began to go door to door, still with the police, looking for all the
Tsonga people and driving them out. What started as an attack on LPM
turned into an attack on all the Tsonga people in the settlement. The
attack on LPM turned into a kind of xenophobia. The LPM is not an ethnic
organisation and its Executive Committee in eTwatwa is very mixed.

The secretary of the LPM in eTwatwa was arrested. She is an old woman. As
the police arrested her they hit her with the butts of their guns and with
their boots. They also seriously assaulted the LPM youth as they arrested

The leadership of the LPM in eTwatwa are all arrested, in hospital, dead
or in hiding.

What is happening in eTwatwa has some clear similarities with the attack
on Abahlali baseMjondolo in the Kennedy Road settlement in Durban in
September last year.

For more information and comment on the ongoing events in eTwatwa please
contact David Mathontsi, Chairperson of the eTwatwa Landless People's
Movement on .

No comments: