Cape Town land activists protest in solidarity with KZN comrades
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Cape Town - Land activists representing land justice movements and land occupations in 17 areas across the city, demonstrated outside Cape Town Magistrate's Court on Thursday, in solidarity with their leaders, who appeared in the Durban Magistrate’s Court in KwaZulu-Natal.
Two leaders, Mqapheli Bonono and Siniko Miya, whose matter was postponed to Monday, were arrested on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder following alleged witness statements made about the content of a meeting they chaired in March.
Right2Know spokesperson Busi Mtabane condemned “the unwarranted and seemingly alleged politically motivated arrests of Abahlali Basemjondolo’s Deputy President Bonono and Miya on what appeared to be fabricated charges”.
"We view these arrests as an attempt to intimidate, silence, and inflict fear unto the progressive and resilient movement of the landless," said Mtabane.
The demonstration organiser, Sibusiso Xabangela, said they believed that the arrest and content of the charges were not motivated by a principled sense of justice but by rampant abuse of power.
Xabangela said that was but the latest episode in a series of sustained attacks against Abahlali BaseMjondolo, a movement that stands for land and dignity for the landless majority who were yet to taste the fruits of democracy.
According to the KZN's National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, the state was opposed to bail.
Activist Thabo Gilimane said they were concerned by the use of police to further anti-democratic political agendas, which were believed to be at the heart of the arrest of the activists.
"It is public knowledge that Abahlali has suffered greatly at the hands of the state. Many of their leaders have been assassinated by hitmen linked to political figures and some have resorted to spending long periods of time in hiding – away from their families and sacrificing their livelihoods," said Gilimane.
The Assembly of the Unemployed (AoU) said the situation demanded that Social Movements become vocal and be the voice of many oppressed, unemployed and the struggling people of South Africa who have never enjoyed the fruits of a democratic state but rather continued to live in fear when challenging what was rightfully theirs.