No one is interested in the homeless

2009-10-23 12:37

Estranged Abahlali baseMjondolo (ABM) president Sbu Zikode says the

recent violence at the Kennedy Road settlement in Durban was an attempt to crush

the movement.

Addressing about 70 academics, students and interested individuals

at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Forum lecture, Zikode said: “Most people

are confused and frightened. They cannot tell you who is the real enemy or why

the poor must now fight the poor. It is a party politic.”

Four people were killed and nearly 1 000 were displaced following

the violent clashes that took place in the informal settlement on the September


Zikode, along with hundreds of people associated with the ABM

social movement, lost their homes and belongings when an armed mob attacked an

Abahlali youth league meeting.

The Kennedy Road Development Committee (KRDC), who falls under the

ABM movement, has been accused of stirring the violence in the informal

settlement through a set of draconian rules and curfews set on residents.

Zikode and the ABM vehemently deny the accusation.

Four weeks after the attacks took place, Zikode, along with

hundreds of people, including children, still remain homeless.

Zikode said: “The state itself is not talking about the dead

people. It doesn’t talk about the people who have been displaced. The disaster

management unit in the city has not responded to this crisis because it has been

instructed not to respond”.

He argued that this was not the first time the movement had been

attacked or criminalised, but it fought the persecution by focusing on the


“We were criminalised from 2006 to the end of 2007. After 2007 we

became a platform for the poor to engage the state”, said Zikode.

He said it was clear that there was an attempt to undermine the

movement and paint it as anti-development.

Zikode alleged that the local ANC branch was sending bus loads of

supporters to the court proceedings to intimidate and cause a prejudgment of

those 13 ABM members who are currently accused of inciting the violence.

“I invite all of you to attend the court proceedings on Monday 26

October. Come and see the political drama play out”, he said.


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