Durban – Shack dwellers movement Abahlali baseMjondolo has said its KwaZulu-Natal members would be casting ballots for the newly formed Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party (SRWP) in Wednesday’s general election.
“The move is a strategic one in order to confront the monster capitalist state that keeps us in deep poverty,” Abahlali founder and president S’bu Zikode told African News Agency (ANA) on Tuesday.
The SRWP was launched in April and, according to its website, is “in a struggle to overthrow the capitalist system and replace it with a democratic socialist state”.
The party is in favour of abolishing private property rights and nationalising land, healthcare, education and strategic industries.
“They were realistic about what was possible and what is not possible”, Zikode told ANA, adding that unlike other parties that had been lobbying for Abahlali’s votes, SRWP had not made any promises.
“They were very honest about saying that there was nothing they could promise while the economy was still in the hands of the few. And of course, the entire system needs to change before the possibility of change [for the poor],” he said.
The SRWP had committed to treating shack dwellers with respect and dignity, he said.
Abahlali claims to have 55 000 audited members in KwaZulu-Natal and has also established branches in four other provinces. Its head office is in Durban.
This is not the first time Abahlali has endorsed a political party. Before the 2014 general election, it encouraged its members to vote for the Democratic Alliance (DA), also termed a strategic move.
It dissuaded its members from actually joining the DA in 2014 and has done the same with the SRWP.
“The idea is to work in solidarity and to consolidate the power of the impoverished. Once people know the truth [about the capitalist system] and once we are able to organise as many people as possible, then there will be a possibility of a change,” said Zikode.
Parliament was not the only terrain for transformation, he added, and once those on the ground understood what was happening in the country’s economy, the possibility for change would be expedited. The SRWP had offered its support in this area, said Zikode.
He had previously told ANA that Abahlali members would be encouraged to vote for “anyone but the African National Congress (ANC)”.
Those sentiments were echoed in a press statement issued by Abahlali on Tuesday: “A vote for the ANC is a vote for violent dispossession, violent repression and death. A vote for the ANC is a vote for corruption. A vote for the ANC is a vote for capitalism, for land to be allocated on the basis of money rather than need.”