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Ngubane, China & Others  (2012) The Occupy Umlazi Story.  : -.

Umlazi Ward elections

China Ngubane 25 August 2012

Despite threats, there was a victory for the Umlazi community during the elections that took place near eNkonkoni Primary school last Sunday. For Ward 88, this day was important, marking their last day of formal occupation at the People's Office near the Councillor's Office, where now, the elected ward committee can take over responsibility to serve the community.

About 600 people including community members, the BEC, Nomzamo (the Councillor and her hit squad) attended. Elections went fairly well in spite of exclusive rules in the process. Only people who voted before in ward were allowed to vote, people without IDs even if they stayed in the community for the past twenty years were not allowed to vote. According to the community there was no voter education what so ever and the message that was send across by the BEC was as if it’s an ANC ward elections that were going to take place and not for everyone. This resulted in non-ANC members not participating and only a few realised later that these were ward elections.

However it was fortunate that the community carried parallel mobilisations even though they had limited resources and they outstripped the ANC to get majority backing. Activists grumbled that the elections were somehow waylaid since registration of voters was a secret and the venue divulged at the last minute.

On the day of elections people were never told times when registration will be open, and many people who were not aware of this were inevitably disadvantaged from voting. The community felt that even if they won the elections, some of the votes might have been rigged since some of the community's blind people were being helped by people not known to the community at the voting counter. Other rigging strategies were that there were no pictures of contestants but only their names, which became very problematic for the grannies and the illiterate to know who they were voting for. The Independent Electoral Commission did not advertise the elections widely. Buses were provided but only to ANC strongholds like eNkonkoni areas and people living in the shacks were not told; hence they had to find their way to the polling station.
However, the Ward 88 community won with 60% whereas the ANC's Branch Executive Committee achieved a 40% election victory. Appallingly, the BEC Secretary, Sakhile, at one point pleaded with the community to compromise so that they will have a fifty- fifty representation.

During the process, Councilor Nomzamo's hit squad were seen threatening people of the community, saying that they will attack them after the elections. This started at the beginning of elections when a man believed to be one of Nomzamo's accomplices continuously disturbed proceedings while police were watching. It was apparent that this was planned, and some of the police dismally failed to dismiss him and ensure smooth running of elections. I was approached by Thabani Ndlovu, Nomzamo's hit man who asked my name and where IÂ come from. It was clear that they wanted to know everyone who was a threat to them.

The community is unhappy that Nomzamo continues attempting to divide the community. Nomzamo's son was heard saying there is no space for Mpondos and that they should not be elected since they don't belong here.

Nomzamo's disciplinary hearings will be on the 27 of August and it is expected that she might then be dismissed. The community will choose a new councilor and a new Occupy site will be decided.

The arrest of Bheki Buthelezi

China Ngubane 16 August 2012

After Sunday's occupation at the People’s Office, the Zakheleni community later had a meeting at their home ground to give feedback to other community members who did not make it for the occupation. Part of the feedback was to clear rumours that Bheki Buthelezi was involved in the shooting of Bhekimuzi Ndlovu, who was shot on the on the 30th of June in the Zakheleni settlement. At the People’s Office a video was played where the victim mentioned that he was shot by Makhendlasi Ndlovu (very close to the Councillor) and Siyabonga Msomi.

At the feedback gathering the community called police to see for themselves and to arrest the culprits. Police arrived and they arrested the two suspects. On Wednesday the 15th of August a friend of the suspects, Bafana Ngcobo, reported to police that his home was burning, and that Bheki Buthelezi has set his house on fire and that property was damaged. Bafana also excused himself from work on the same day saying Bheki set his house on fire. Police arrested Bheki, Thembinkosi Khoza and Sanelisiwe Maphumulo on these accusations.

According to the community there was no property damaged and no house burnt. Actually, Bafana wanted to burn his house and shift blame to innocent people. Bheki and the other two were in police custody until yesterday afternoon when the community came in their masses to put pressure for the release of Bheki and others.

The three were released on free bail and the case will continue at uMlazi magistrate court today at 9am. Last night police were seen at the Bafana Ngcobo’s house. Attached is the house that was said to be damaged and burnt.

Two Arrests Made in Connection with the Shootings in Umlazi, Further Threats to Bheki Buthelezi
Unemployed People’s Movement Press Statement 13 August 2012

On the 30th June Bhekimuzi Ndlovu was shot in the Zakheleni shack settlement following a series of protests against the Ward Councillor and for land, housing and other development. The case number is 225/07/2012.

Ndlovu had become close to Bheki Buthelezi and to the struggle that was being organised in the Zakheleni shack settlement. However he had been close to the local ANC and the councillor and so they saw him as a traitor. He was shot by supporters of the ruling party. They sacrificed him, like an animal. They thought that he was dead. After Ndlovu was shot the ANC supporters convened a meeting and said that Bheki Buthelezi was the one who had shot Ndlovu. It has become a typical tactic of repression for the ruling party to engage in violence against activists and to then blame the activists for this violence. However unbeknownst to the local ANC Ndlovu had survived the shooting and was in hospital.

The next day, when the ANC supporters released that Ndlovu had survived, a delegation of people went to the hospital. They said that they were there to pray. After they left Ndlovu started violently vomiting. The doctor diagnosed poisoning and, after treating him, immediately moved him to a high security ward in an undisclosed hospital. Only his immediate family know where he is.

After the poisoning it was decided to call an open meeting was called in the settlement to discuss the matter. It was decided to send four people, all trusted by the family, to the hospital with a video camera to ask Ndlovu who had shot him so that rumours and allegations could be put to rest and this matter cleared up once and for all. The people that went to the hospital took a camera and they videorized all that Ndlovu was saying. Ndlovu said that he was shot by Makhendlasi Ndlovu, Siyabonga Ndlovu and one other man. Everyone in Zakheleni knows that Makhendlasi Ndlovu is very close to the councillor.

On Saturday night a group of armed men came to Bheki’s shack. Their faces were covered. They said that they were IFP but some were recognised and they are well known as people who are close to the ANC councillor. They shook the fence and said that they were looking for Bheki. They made all kinds of threats. They also made threats about Ayanda Kota saying that he is an Mpondo interfering in Zulu affairs and that he is bribing Bheki with KFC to organise the people. One of the many reasons why there was a rebellion against the councillor was that she and her committee were discriminating against Mpondo people.

The police were called to rush to Bheki’s shack. They came but they did not follow the armed, masked men when they went into a nearby house and sat inside with the lights off.

Yesterday, which was Sunday, another open meeting was called and the video was played to everyone through a computer. Last night about 800 people marched on the police station and forced the Commissioner to make arrests. At around ten p.m. last night the two men that were named as the shooters in the video were arrested. The police addressed the community and said that they will continue their investigation and that they expect to arrest the third man soon.

Bheki has sent his family away. He does not sleep at home. Every night he sleeps in a different shack in a different area. This is how grassroots activists have to live their lives in SA. It is like guiding a thread through the eye of a needle on a dark night.

For more information please contact:
Bheki Buthelezi: 072 639 9893
Ayanda Kota: 078 625 6462

Update 22 July 2012
China Ngubane

UMlazi Ward 88 Meeting
Bheki Buthelezi of Ward 88 Crisis Committee welcomed about 300 occupiers next to the Councillor’s Office, marking the second week of community struggle and call for solutions to people’s plight. Buthelezi reflected on resolutions of the last Sunday’s mass gathering where unanimous consensus agitated that Nomzamo must go, the Councillor’s Office must be locked, the highway must be closed, ANC membership cards should not be a prerequisite to receive service from the Councillor, people living in RDP four- roomed houses and all tenants must be involved, the community to evade Nomzamo’s divisive rule, the need for infrastructure including passages hence local people in their particular areas should have primacy to assume employment, need for immediate by-elections for a new ward councillor.

Thabile Ngcobo was assaulted by the councillor last week, Buthelezi reported that a case was opened against Nomzamo but for two days Police never arrested her. It was only after we questioned the police Commissioner, who asked for Nomzamo’s phone number, that they started following the case. It is nerve-racking that public members are arrested promptly while government officials only get arrested after we nit-pick. Nomzamo Mkhize appeared in court on Thursday the 19th of July, she accepted all assertions against her and apologised, and Thabile was compensated for the damage. Thabile’s FAWU t/shirt was torn apart, FAWU is a COSATU affiliate and COSATU is an ANC alliance therefore the chain must say away with Nomzamo.

Buthelezi applauded the incessant support from alliance organisations as well as courage and strength from community members and friends, adding that the message has gone abroad through radio interviews, print media and word of mouth.

The meeting unwaveringly called for the dismissal of Nomzamo, she has never been present in her office for the past two weeks as a perceived substantiation of unaccountability. Community members probed how to associate with a Councillor who affront and send snipers to murder her own people.

Elvis Ngubane, Crisis Committee Member rewound pedigrees of the community struggle and efforts to address issues affecting Ward 88 with the Councillor in vein. Ngubane added that the community is exasperated by her disrespectfulness, corruptness and the community lost hope that government will do justice and recall Nomzamo. She propagates tribalism, saws seeds of discord and division; Nomzamo made it clear that she will never help amaMpondos in the ward. Ngubane maintained that the arrest of Bheki and nineteen others was mere fabrication by Nomzamo and some Police Officials.

It was largely agreed that government violets people’s rights since one’s incarceration even on trumped up charges damages one’s employability.

AbM Secretary, Bandile Mdlalose pronounced that Nigel Gumede formally requested for a meeting with the ward 88 crisis committee on Monday the 23rd of July 2012, Myeza and the Mayor of eThekwini are expected to join. Bandile added that we are not going to countersign anything with them before consulting with the community.
Ten community representatives were nominated to meet government officials on Monday. Amongst other things the meeting emphasised that first and foremost Nomzamo must go (we are not fighting Nomzamo but here deeds). We don’t want to be removed from our places and development must come where we stay. We demand the airport space for housing the poor. We demand passages, toilets, water, electricity, and decent houses. A fair share of the Councillor’s salary and stipend must go to community coffers for public use. We want a Councillor who cares works and struggle with the people. If they don’t listen we will mobilise to occupy the City Hall, we all come from all political parties and here we are one community fighting for service delivery. People were encouraged to attend daily occupation sessions starting at 11am and big day, every Sundays form 2pm.

The meeting recognised the need to join and invite other struggles to build strength towards Durban City hall occupation where communities will collectively map and envisage the future that they want.

Update from Umlazi: Zwelethu Train Station Shut Down & Protest at the Police Station
Combined UPM & AbM Press Statement 18 July 2012

At around 4:00 a.m. yesterday morning activists involved in the Umlazi Occupation and the ward 88 struggle closed down the Zwelethu Train Station. This action was in protest at the failure of the police to arrest the ward councillor, Nomzamo Mkhize, after she and her son assaulted an activist.

There was a stand-off between activists and the police at the train station following which the general secretary of the BEC of the local ANC branch, Sandile, tried to arrange an urgent meeting with Nigel Gumede. A meeting with Gumede has always been one of the demands of the Umlazi Occupation.

At around 7:00 a.m. Nigel Gumede personally phoned AbM Secretary General Bandile Mdlalose to schedule a meeting which has been set for next Monday although the time and venue still has to be decided.

The occupation at the councillor's office continues in Ward 88 and will continue until the issues that led to the rebellion in Umlazi are fully resolved. If the meeting with Gumede does not happen, of if it does happen and is just another talk shop, Plan B will be implemented.

Today the Ward 88 occupiers are following the rest of the country and dedicating 67 minutes of their time to Mandela Day. They are spending 67 minutes picketing the Umlazi GG police station and demanding that (1) Nomzamo Mkhize and her son are arrested and charged with assault and that (2) there is a full and thorough investigation of police violence against activists and (3) that there is a full and thorough investigation of the shooting of two activists in the Zakheleni shack settlement.

For more information contact:

Bheki Buthelezi: 072 639 9893
China Ngubane: 072 651 9790
Bandile Mdlalose: 071 424 2815

China Ngubane 15 July 2012

Bandile Mdlalose of AbM welcomed near three hundred community members including ANC Branch leadership at the People’s Office near the Councillors’ Office. The community was reminded about the derivations and atrocities experienced since the protests started. Bandile restated demands of the community that includes poverty, unemployment, housing, evictions, water, land, electricity, human rights and disservice by Nomzamo Mkhize, Willies Mchunu, Nigel Gumede and government in failing to address popular demands.

Despite death threats and attacks by the local hit-squad, the community daringly expressed their demands including that Nomazmo must go.According to the community numerous attempts were made to meet with her in vain. She is disrespectful and people are asked to produce ANC membership cards to get assistance. Nomzamo was not elected by the people but she got into office through the back-door. Party politics and labelling people and individualism is not the way, we are the community, the marginalised, the exploited and the 99%. Politicians are not legitimate to the masses for they are not working for the people.

For the past seven days of occupation we have seen many people returning back without getting help from the Councillor’s Office. We’ve occupied next to her office because we reckoned that she needs flight funds to come to the people and that Nomzamo have no desire to listen to us. We are frustrated since even if we ask kindly the response is brutal. We are not fighting with Nomzamo but the system (capitalism) in which she operates. We are staggered that government urgencies attack us physically, politicians send biased public servants to shoot with bullets where the matter should be engaging with the public.

Bongani Manzini affirmed that he was threatened, he is being hunted for and the hit squad gunned his house. They went further to shoot a his tenant Noxolo Mkaye, and lately they shot another community member who is still in the hospital.

A question was posed whether anyone was ever assisted by Nomzamo since inception and if anyone at the meeting had an opposing view from that of the community.

The unanimous response was no. People added that instead of seeing Nomzamo in the office we see a posse of people smocking Dagga every day in her Office. Nomzamo is a Councillor for a few individuals but not for us all. We are here because we want to consult with her, we are here till our concerns are resolved and we are not going anywhere. Tomorrow we are going to close Nomzamo’s Office and we will open the People’s Office.

People continued to speak; we want uMlazi to be ungovernable, we can’t bear with this, we are abandoned. A community member who is a recipient of the four roomed RDP houses disgruntled in displeasure over long awaited hence forgotten refurbishment of houses and poor service delivery maintained that Nomzamo repaired her house in uMlazi using corrupted tax payer’s money and that she owns a house in Clairwood and eSpingo.

People proposed that the Councillors’ Office shall be closed and a new People’s Office will be opened. More people, unions, social movements and analogous struggles in UMlazi, around Durban and abroad will be mobilised to increase pressure on government to advance people’s interests. People should be united, speak in one voice and struggles should not be alienated by politicians. We are not ANC, IFP, BCP, DA, etc. but we are the society and the electorate and all we need is development. We demand the old Airport space and the space should be used to build houses for the poor. People articulated that they will build new shacks next to the Councillor’s Office since they have no houses. The meeting proposed for by-elections to oust Nomzamo and yield a people-centred Ward 88 Councillor.

After the discussion the meeting decided to march around the area to revive the spirit. Before the meeting bolted there were emerging news that a community member, Thabile Ngcobo wearing a FAWU (Food and Allied Workers Union) t/shirt was attacked and assaulted by Nomzamo, her son and two men for attending what Nomzamo called “an absurd meeting”. This happened in Solomon Mahlangu Street, the street shared by both the Nomzamo and the victim when Thabile was returning home from the community meeting.

Thabile says she was smacked several times at the face by Nomzamo’s son who under the instruction of Nomzamo took a blade and rip-off Thabile’s FAWU t/shirt from the neck to bottom. Nomzamo ordered her gang to take Thabile photos so that she will deal with her. Nomzamo was pulling and pushing Thabile and calling her names. Thabile upholds that they took her t/shirt and she was cautioned never to attend such meetings.

With the succour of the community Thabile opened a case against Nomzamo at section GG uMlazi Police Station at the same time. It is believed that no one was arrested till now.

Thabile Ngcobo

ANC and lobby group clash over shootings
Hlengiwe Nhlabathi Political Reporter (Sowetan Live) 11 July 2012

THE ANC in uMlazi in KwaZulu-Natal is attempting to mend the rifts with community members of Zakheleni township while three of their residents lie in hospitals after being shot - with fingers being pointed at the councillor.

A meeting in ward 88 between the ANC and residents represented by a lobby group for the poor, Abahlali BaseMjondolo, proved to be futile last Thursday when the latter walked out claiming they felt undermined by ANC officials - among them secretary Sakhile Ngcobo.

Regional leader Ntombi Ndlela was also one of those who attended the meeting.

The walkout was prompted by the fact that ANC branch and regional leaders deployed at the meeting had failed to secure the presence of KwaZulu-Natal MEC for safety and security Willies Mchunu and eThekwini municipality chairman of the human settlements committee Nigel Gumede, as it had been demanded.

The lobby group's spokeswoman, Bandile Mdlalose, said the meeting was expected to discuss the recent police brutality and shootings in the area, which had been marred by service delivery protests.

Residents were calling for ANC councillor Nomzamo Mkhize to be fired, claiming she didn't care about concerns raised by the people and had failed to hold meetings for several months.

They also accused her of having something to do with the recent shooting of Noxolo Mkanyi, who was a tenant in the home of her rival Bongani Zungu's home.

It is alleged Mkhize had phoned Zungu to tell him people were looking for him hours before gunmen came into his home demanding to see him. When they could not find him, they went to an outside room and shot Mkanyi.

It has since become clear that the attack in the Zakhele settlement was led by ANC supporters acting with the support of the police, said Mdlalose.

He also referred to other shootings during protests in which two other people were shot, allegedly by the police.

But Ngcobo told Sowetan the allegations were baseless and that he had consistently told residents to bring evidence so that police could investigate the matter.

UPDATE by China Ngubane 5 July 2012

The July 4 meeting intended for Umlazi Community and government officials was not a success. Ward 88 Community Crisis Committee with AbM alliance were welcomed by ANC Regional, Zonal and Branch Executive Committee representatives at Nkonkoni Primary School.

Government officials - including the Mayor and Ward 88 Councillor - did not pitch up, so the Community Crisis Committee therefore requested the meeting to be called off and to be reconvened once government officials dare to attend and listen to people. Despite efforts by party members to ‘middle men’ the issues, Community representatives did not shift from their position, they clearly restated their demands and concerns: Nomzamo must go, police brutality, violence by ANC supporters, poor service delivery and housing issues. This meeting did not end with a goodbye, it was more of a war room, community members felt threatened and unsafe and they left.

Ward 88 members acknowledged their endless efforts to meet Government officials in vein. The community will continue to occupy uMlazi. Members of the community will meet today at Zakheleni Crech from 11am. A film screening on Occupy Wall Street, and of Dear Mandela will be followed by a strategic discussion, press conference and the community will proceed to occupy the Councillor’s office.

A tent has been secured, however there is still a huge call for solidarity and support, i.e. mobile toilets, people will spend much time praying for a better society.

Noxolo Mkanyi, shot on both legs, is battling with pains at eMshiyeni Hospital; reports say she is not receiving adequate treatment, adding that doctors simply come and go without attending to her. Her legs are swelling and painful, community members are pleading for immediate medical support. For assistance please call Thembeka at 0721943055.

Dear Comrades,
I trust this this email finds you well,
I have been tasked by the Umlazi comrades to kindly ask for your hand. On Wednesday they will be meeting with the ANC Region, All oficials who have been recieving memorandums, Chairperson of housing potfolio and infrustructure commintiie Nigel Gumede, Safety and communtiy Liason office Willies Mchunu in Umlazi as a meeting to find solutions towards the struggle of Umlazi and aslo seeking for the unanswered questions of servic delivery which have been what the comrades from Umlazi have been occupying for this past weeks.

As part of the community struggle and strategies to stregnthen their power to be heard by all parts of the world and also sending a mesage of unhappiness, the community have deiced that if the meeting of Wednesday is not fruitful and does not have any answers to what the community seeks for, they'll go back into strike and occupation.

From Saturday they have been cleaninghte place when the occupation will be taking place which is located right next to the councilors office, however they need your assistance in tent and mobile toilets.

So on behalf of umlazi community we hereby wish to reuqest your hand in assisting us with a tent and mobile toilet as we will be occupying Wednesday night if meetings does not have tangable solutions.

Many Thanks,
Ms. Bandile Mdlalose
Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement S.A(Secretary General)
Office : 031 304 6420
Fax : 031 304 6436
Mobile: 071 424 2815


Huge Police Raid on Bheki Buthelezi's Shack
Update on Repression & Resistance in the Zakheleni Shack Settlement, Ward 88, Umlazi, Durban 30 July 2012

At around 4:00 a.m. this morning a group of around 50 heavily armed police officers arrived at Bheki Buthelezi's shack in the Zakheleni shack settlement in Umlazi and demanded to search it. When confronted with the fact that they did not have a warrant they retired and then returned at around 4:50 with a document stating that they had a warrant to search the entire settlement. But they only searched Bheki's shack. They found nothing. During the search a helicopter with a search light hovered over the settlement. Ten activists, all of whom have become leaders in the rebellion in Ward 88, and all of whom have been warned that the police and local party leaders after after them, slipped away during the police raid and are now in hiding.

A plain clothes officer with the fifty or so uniformed officers quietly advised a group of young men to flee the settlement and return to their rural homes as things were going to get dangerous for the residents. As they left the settlement the police said that they would be back to continue their search. After the police had left shots were fired in the settlement. It is not clear who fired the shots and with what purpose but it would not be unreasonable to suspect that the shots were fired by the same armed men that supported the police attack on Tuesday.

This morning two meetings were held. The first meeting was supposed to be between community representatives and the regional ANC structure. However in the end the ANC actually sent the local BEC. The BEC tried to sweet talk the Zakheleni representatives into stopping the protests but the Zakheleni representatives insisted on their right to protest and on the significance and legitimacy of the issues that lead to the protests in the first place – water, electricity, housing and the authoritarianism of the ward councillor and local ANC structure.

The Zakheleni representatives demanded a meeting with the Mayor, all the officials that have received memoranda at various protests but have never responded as well as Nigel Gumede (to discuss the housing situation in the settlement) and Willies Mchunu (to discuss the violence from the police and local ANC supporters). This meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
The second meeting held today was a mass meeting in the Zakheleni settlement. This meeting discussed the repression and strategies to keep the pressure up.

For more information please contact:

Bheki Buthelezi, Unemployed People's Movement: 072 639 8993
Bandile Mdlalose, Abahlali baseMjondolo: 071 424 2815
China Ngubane, Right to Know Campaign: 072 651 9790

Umlazi uprising faces bullets, arrests
Mail & Guardian 29 July 2012

Tension is mounting southwest of Durban in Umlazi's ward 88, where activists say the police are randomly arresting people and firing live ammunition.

Community activist Bheki Buthelezi says the residents are concerned about poor service delivery, not politics. (Rogan Ward)

Their right to protest has been violated, they say.

“We are not free in Umlazi. The police are arresting and shooting people with real bullets.

People are in hospital as we speak,” a 34-year-old woman, who belongs to the ward 88 crisis committee, told the Mail & Guardian.

The woman said she did not want to be named because she feared for her life. “The police here are working with the councillors,” she said.

“We are protesting because we wanted the councillor to step down because she doesn’t deliver. She doesn’t respect us. Even if we call her, she doesn’t come to meet us.”

Bheki Buthelezi of the Unemployed People’s Movement, who is also a member of the ward 88 crisis committee, was one of 19 people arrested last weekend on charges of intimidation or public violence.

“We were going to meet on Saturday afternoon to formalise a programme to occupy the councillor’s office. But on Saturday morning the police arrested me without having a case against me,” he said.

Struck off the roll
“I was later released on R500 bail and told to appear in the magistrate’s court, but there was no magistrate there. I was told my case had been struck off the roll because there was no evidence against me and that the bail would be refunded.”

Buthelezi said service delivery protests in the area dated back to August last year.

“On June 8 we marched, demanding that the councillor, Nomzamo Mkhize, step down because she works with only certain people belonging to her camp. We handed a memorandum over to the manager of the office of the speaker in the eThekwini municipality and we gave it seven days to respond.”

He said that when they did not receive a response, community members gathered again and decided to occupy the councillor’s office.

“There were youth who were pushing to burn tyres on the street, but we said this was not the answer; we needed to find an alternative by formulating our own programme to see our ward being developed.”

Buthelezi said the police were called in when the protesters arrived at Mkhize’s office on Wednesday afternoon.

“We then moved back to the ground where we usually meet. We heard that some people wanted to burn her office, but we took a resolution not to do so.

“About 3500 of us gathered to go to protect the office. On our way there we encountered the police, who began to shoot at people randomly. One person was shot in the leg and taken to hospital. Others were shot in their homes.

“We submitted our demands directly to the people who are supposed to respond to us, but they did not do so. They used the police to shoot people and arrest them.”

Buthelezi, who is a member of the Black Consciousness Party (BCP), insisted that the protests were not politically motivated.

“We are doing this as residents, not political parties. There are four political parties in the ward — the ANC, BCP, National Freedom Party and Inkatha Freedom Party — and we have all come together to raise issues of unemployment, housing, the landless and informal settlements.”

Issues of tenders
However, Mkhize disagreed with Buthelezi’s comments.

“I talk to every person in my ward. Some of these protesters are interested in issues of tenders, others are politically motivated,” the councillor said.

“There is service delivery in this area, but there are nominees who did not become councillors, so this is politically motivated.”

She said that she had been forced to ask the police to intervene. “What can I say when they march at night, coming towards my home? I had no choice.”

Mkhize said she would meet the protesters soon. “We will talk to the very same people who are toyi-toying and ask them what the problem is.

“When they marched, they gave their memorandum to the office of the speaker, which, to date, has not passed it on to me, so I don’t know what’s in it.”

DLF 27 June 2012

On Tuesday at 10am this week Ward 88 Community gathered to occupy the Municipal Offices where members designed a program and commissioned committees as police were observing. “Police were present; police understood that we were not fighting and that we were not to destroy but to seek response from our Ward Councillor in a peaceful way”.

Eight committee members were called aside by the Senior Police Officer and were told that the gathering was unlawful, they were given ten minutes to vacate and that there was no formal appointment made with Councillor.

Members of the community did not take time to leave. People then went for a meeting at Emhlabeni grounds. In the way to the meeting there were circulating threats about intensions to burn the office of the Councillor and dearth to ward 88 protesters. This was believed to be a third force, linked to some Police investing and monitoring members of the community.

The meeting noted the risk of not protecting the Councillor’s Offices and decided to avoid unintended circumstances by occupying the office for the whole night. The community took its way back to the Offices of the Councillor. As they drew closer police opened live bullets to the mob of over 3 000 people. Three were short on the sport; Mkanyi Simelani and Noxolo Mkanyi were rushed to hospital and one disappeared; whereabouts not known till now, police did not even use teargas bus only live bullets. It became a cat and mouse game, several people including women were bruised, injured and some lost their cell phones, it was sad that about twenty single side shoes were left on the sin as people were running for their lives.

Police went further to arrest four people; Ngqondo Vezi, Bonginkosi Mnchunu, Khumbulani Nzimande and Themba Mdama. The four appeared in court today and were released on R100 bail each for public violence, their case will continue on the 17th of July 2012, 08h30 at UMlazi Magistrate Court.

At twelve midnight a group of people (3rd force) were moving around threatening people and imposing curfew. According to community members the 3rd force warned that there is a list of people that they are hunting for including Bongani Zungu a former Ward 88 aspiring Councillor candidate. They found only Mr Zungu’s wife and a six month old baby; they fired live shorts at the door (pics attached). They then proceeded next door where they banged the door, took a cell phone lying on the bed where a 19 year Nosihle Mhlongo and a six year old boy, Nkule were sleeping, they went further to shoot Simelani Mkanyi (see pics) who was sleeping on the next bed. Simelani had two live shorts on one leg and one short on the other leg. It is fortunate that the suspects are known and also the remains of live shorts were discovered.

The community in response to Lt-Col Vincent Mdunge denying shooting unarmed protesters was frustrating. This was however expected as some police are known to be working with the 3rd force and the call was for media to come on the ground to avoid misinformation.

Cdes lets stand together and fight together!
The enermy is one and we are 99

Noxolo Mkwayi was shot in her bed

Bheki Buthelezi with Noxolo Mkwayi's traumatized child - he is 6 years old

A bullet hole in Mr Zungu's house

Casing from a live round found inside a shack

Simelani Mkanyi in hospital on 29 June 2012

Bullet and casing

Injury caused by rubber bullet

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The Democratic Left Front (DLF) 27 June 2012

The Democratic Left Front (DLF) joins the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) and Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) in condemning the South African Police Services for their callous act of shooting unarmed community activists in Umlazi earlier this evening. This shooting was not even triggered by any provocation of the police or any public violence whatsoever. The police shot three comrades of the UPM with live rounds as the community were dispersing from a mass community meeting. Even more worrying is that two of the injured comrades are missing. This raises serious concern about their security and well-being. The UPM has admirably sought emergency medical treatment for the one injured comrade who could be located.

An estimated 2,000 people had gathered at the local hall to discuss an intended peaceful occupation of the local ANC councillor’s office as part of the ongoing community struggles and demands for service delivery, jobs and access to land. Clearly, this is a case of sustained state repression against community protests and is a violation of basic rights to freedoms of assembly, speech and association.

In consultation with the community, the UPM and AbM, the DLF will seek legal advice and consider appropriate legal action as part of defensive measures whilst. The DLF calls on the Umlazi Ward 88 community, the UPM and AbM to remain united in their struggles for a decent life, and not to be intimated by police repression. Such sustained disciplined mass struggles are the ultimate key to win community demands as well as expose and defeat police repression.


Bheki Buthelezi (UPM & DLF) – 072 639 9893
Mazibuko K. Jara (DLF) – 083 651 0271
Athish Kirun (DLF) – 078 257 3764
Ayanda Kota (UPM & DLF) - 078 625 6462
Mnikelo Ndabankulu (AbM) - 081 309 5485
China Ngubane (DLF & Right to Know Campaign) – 072 651 9790

China Ngubane 25 June 2012

It is clear that the arrest of the 18 was politically engineered; the arrestees clearly stated that they don’t know the reason why they were arrested. As the magistrate asked them why they were arrested they said they had no idea and that they were having drinks with friends where police simply came and arrest them. The 18 were released on free bail with the understanding that the accused were innocent, not involved in any violence, poor and unemployed.

However surprisingly today there were only fourteen of the 18 left in custody and the four were presumably freed through the back door which remains a big question and suspicion of political fabrication against the innocent.

Ward 88 community is under threat for fighting for their rights and speaking the truth, Nomzasmos puppets intimidated the community in front of the police. This raises a question of why they were not arrested because Bheki was arrested for intimidation with no evidence and no witness. Police did not take action, instead they just observed as Ward 88 members were being threatened. The Ward 88 community also fears to go back to enter their homes as they were told that they be killed, and this was all in front of police.

Supporter of the court case were provoked saying they were bussed from Uganda and Emhlabeni areas. There were also racist utterances against supporting organisations and even photographers.

The Ward 88 community however believes that these are few ANC people trying to create division in the community.

The matter of the 18 was adjourned to the 16thof July at 8:30 in R court.

We call for solidarity to all human right organization to support the community of ward 88 to fight for their rights and also justice to take place.

Ward 88 members said they have had enough of the struggle of the poor being politicized into ANC games, it is high time we unit for justice and peace. We have lived years in poverty, silenced by law; we will use our power outside court for our voices to be heard. It’s time the government takes the people serious.

Finally Bheki has approached the state prosecutor and they have returned his docket back to the police station. The prosecutor was not satisfied and struck his case of the role. However if the police find more information they will submit his docket back to court and issue a summons for his arrest. The prosecutor has ordered Bheki for his bail slip to refund him. This process was an attempt to lock Bheki, silence the community and sabotage the plans to occupy the Municipal Offices.


The Democratic Left Front (DLF) calls for solidarity with Bheki Buthelezi and 18 others, some of whom are members of the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM), when they appear at 09h00 at the Umlazi Magistrate’s Court. Buthelezi will face charges of intimidation. The others were arrested around 11pm on Saturday evening ostensibly on charges of public violence. Some of the 18 have been involved in community protests over service delivery while others have not. Buthelezi was released from police custody on Saturday evening after sustained community occupation and pressure on the Umlazi Police Station Commander. Abahlali BaseMijondolo, the South Durban Community Environment Alliance, the KZN Right To Know Campaign, the Clairwood Community Forum, the Durban Social Forum and the DLF will all join the 19 comrades and the local community at the court this morning.

All these charges relate to sustained mass action by the community of Section S in Umlazi (Ward 88, eThekwini Municipality). This community has suffered for more than 6 years at the hands of unaccountable ANC councilors and a local municipality that has failed to deliver services and provide employment through local economic development. On more than three occasions, the community has demanded that the municipality must recall councillor Nomzamo Mkhize as she has not fulfilled her duties including a failure to call a single ward meeting to discuss community issues. Instead, she has worked on a factional basis selecting who to meet with in the community and she has ignored several community calls and requests for meetings. The municipality has failed to provide electricity, water, sanitation, housing and paving. The community has also demanded that the municipality must call a ward general meeting where it must be transparent about, and allow for bottom-up community participation in the municipal budget and development plans. The community has also demanded that the old Airport space be allocated for food sovereignty and housing. The community has done everything to ensure that these demands are heard. But at every instance the local municipality has equivocated and responded with increasing repression. It was at this point that the community decided on the peaceful occupation of local municipal offices that the police were activated to arrest Buthelezi first and then the other 18 activists. What more must the community do to live decently as promised by the South African Constitution?

The DLF reiterates its call for the dropping of the charges against Buthelezi and the 18. The police have no evidence against any of them. In fact, the charges are instigated by repressive intentions given the sustained mass struggles in the community. The DLF calls on the South African Human Rights Commission to investigate the police violations of the rights to protest by using the arrest of community activists.

Bheki Buthelezi (UPM & DLF) – 072 639 9893
Mazibuko K. Jara (DLF) – 083 651 0271
Athish Kirun (DLF) – 078 257 3764
Ayanda Kota (UPM & DLF) - 078 625 6462
Mnikelo Ndabankulu (AbM) - 081 309 5485
China Ngubane (DLF & Right to Know Campaign) – 072 651 9790

Umlazi struggle up date
China Ngubane 23 June

Cde Bheki was released yesterday after being detained for about 12 hours on bail. This great success was because of unity solidarity and your support.

It is sad that Police came and arrested afresh 18 Ward 88 members yesterday night. They have been in the cells the whole night, the whole day today and they are still there.

Cde Bheki will be tried tomorrow at Umlazi Megerstrate Court and peharps with the other 18.

There is a huge call for your continuous support, legal assitance and solidarity as the accused are the marginalised, the unemployed, deprived of their basic rights.


The Democratic Left Front (DLF) calls on the South African Police Services to release Bheki Buthelezi with immediate effect. Buthelezi, a leader and activist of the Unemployed People’s Movement (UPM) and the DLF, was arrested earlier this morning at his Umlazi home in Durban. The SAPS falsely accused him of intimidating the local ANC councilor. This follows Buthelezi’s role as a key leader and organiser of sustained struggles for service delivery and housing by the residents of Ward 88 in Umlazi. These struggles culminated in a community march held on 08 June 2012. In addition, the community had recently put forward demands for access to land for food gardens and other community development initiatives. During his arrest, the SAPS expressly told Buthelezi to withdraw from his activism against the ANC-led municipality. They also instructed him to block a mass meeting which was scheduled for this morning by Abahlali baseMijondolo (AbM). As a matter of principle, Buthelezi correctly refused to do so. He pointed out to the SAPS that the only way for the struggles and meetings to stop is through government meeting the needs and demands of the community.

The DLF expresses its full solidarity with the people of Ward 88 in Umlazi, the UPM and AbM as they now plan to visit the Umlazi Police Station and meet the Station Commander. The UPM and AbM are also organising legal representation for Buthelezi. The DLF calls on all progressive organisations and activists to condemn Buthelezi’s arrest and call for his release. Letters of protest may be sent to the Umlazi Police Station to the Station Commander: Brigadier M.E. Zondi at fax number: 031 918 8185, and via sms on 082 331 9650.

Buthelezi’s arrest is part of the state’s increasing use of repression and excessive force against social dissent and community protests. This is increasingly so as the neoliberal ANC state continues to fail to transform South Africa. It was the same repression that led the Durban ANC to collaborate with the SAPS to hound the AbM out of Kennedy Road. It was the same ANCYL members attacked DL and UPM activists at the international day of climate action during the COP17 conference in December 2011. This had been done earlier in August 2011 when the Operation Khanyisa Movement’s sole councilor in the City of Joburg and DLF activist, Simphiwe Zwane, was arrested for leading community struggles against poor service delivery in Thembelihle. At its most tragic, this sustained repression led to the killing of Andries Tatane by the SAPS during a protest in Meqheleng in April last year. All this reminiscent of the old apartheid police style tactics to suppress dissent and maintain social control. Taken as a whole, it is clear that there has been widespread intimidation of people wishing to take up their constitutional right to protest, and that this threatens our hard-won democracy. The DLF is extremely concerned about the sustained actions of Jacob Zuma’s ruling elite to enhance the coercive capacities of the state.

Mazibuko K. Jara (DLF) – 083 651 0271
Athish Kirun (DLF) – 078 257 3764
Ayanda Kota (UPM & DLF) - 078 625 6462
Mnikelo Ndabankulu (AbM) - 081 309 5485

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