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Zikode, S’bu  (2006) The greatest threat to future stability in our country vs The Greatest Strength of Abahlali basemjondolo Movement S.A. (shack dwellers). Centre for Civil Society : 1-4.

Many things have been said. Many things have been seen. Many policies have been passed. Many people have voted. But what has been done has not been done for the poor. It has been done for the rich. The poor are outside. We have no country. This is not the democracy that the poor fought for. We must ask, are we citizens of this country? If we are not then who are we and where are we?


I am afraid. Every day is an emergency in the jondolos. I am afraid that the AIDS epidemic and poverty are the greatest threat to future stability in our country. Our people are dying. Our people are struggling just to survive. Our desperation and anger can go in many directions. I am afraid that it won’t always go the people who are getting richer while we suffer.

I remain afraid when I see how much is said at the high level of government. I am afraid when government and the NGOs and academics speak about the poor all the time but so few want to speak to the poor. I am afraid when it becomes clear that our job is just to vote and then watch the rich speak about us as we get poorer.

We have seen that when the wild forests and plantations of the rich are on fire there are often large helicopters with hundreds of tons of water to extinguish the fires. But when our shacks are on fire the helicopters and ambulances are nowhere to be found. Mhlengi Khumalo, a one year old boy died in a fire in Kennedy Road. When this happened there was neither briyani nor Durban Electricity on the scene. Helicopters only come for us when we want to march. The state comes for us when we try to say what we think. We must understand this lesson very well. We are on our own. We have no choice but to fight. It is not about us but our children, our nation and our country S.A.

I become ever more afraid when I see that so much money is being spent at the high level e.g. at conference centres, hotels, uShaka, stadiums, etc and that so little is being spent at the grass root level where most of our people live and suffer. Communities have had enough death. Families are not only facing this high rate of mortality but must also face the funeral expenses which also threaten our safety. It is clear that Aids breeds poverty and poverty breeds Aids. Both must be fought if we are not to be afraid in the future. It is warned that this is not about making small changes to policies. This is a class struggle. This is a struggle between the Haves and Don’t Haves. Our society can only be saved if the Don’t Haves win this struggle. If we loose this struggle everyone will have to live afraid for ever. Everything will be broken everywhere.


However I am brave now. More and more thousands of us are becoming brave. We are brave enough to fight this struggle now. We are brave because for the first time in history of this country, South Africa, the poorest of the poor are saying that it is time for us to begin to say “This is who we are. This is where we are. This is how we live. This is what we feel. This is what we think. This is how we want things to be done so that we can live without fear.’

ABAHLALI BASEMJONDOLO MOVEMENT (SA) is the hope of the hopeless, the home of the homeless, the voice of the poor of the poorest. It is the ground for He/She who knows not that She /He knows not that He/She knows not but knows that the poor suffer, knows that this country is rich and knows exactly what made and makes this country rich. Our movement seeks to bring the government to the ground, to bring the institutions of government & the private sector to the ground. We fight to bring policies that affect our people under the control of our people. We are realistic. We start where we are but we fight to bridge the gap between the rich & the poor. We fight to make those who are blind to poverty to be able to see the poverty that we see. We work to show those who are blind to the power of the poor to see the strength of the strong poor. The threat of fires, storms, illnesses, police brutality and government repression make it clear that if we do not stand up now and act together, then, I am afraid, the poor citizens would once be remembered to have not survived to be part of the beauty of this nature


The Shack Dwellers (Abahlali baseMjondolo) have acknowledged that, the majority of this country & this continent and this world are the poor who are often undermined. This has made it possible for us to mobilise the broader communities who feel neglected by the State. It is the very same poverty and neglect by the State that throws us together in our settlements and from that togetherness we become strong. Our masses, our unity and diversity is our strength, our pain, our voice. We have become the strong poor. The politics if the strong poor is an anti party politics. Our politics is not to put someone in an office. Our politics is to put our people above that office. And when we have finished with one office we move on to the next office. Our politics is also not a politics of a few people who have learnt some fancy political words and who expect everyone to follow them because they know these words. Our politics is a traditional home politics which is understood very well by all the old mamas and gogos because it affects their lives and gives them a home. In this home everybody is important, everybody can speak and we look after each other and think about situation and plan our fight together. We believe that housing policy does not only require housing specialists, rich consultants and government. We believe that housing policy requires, most importantly, the people who need the houses. But we also know, as poor communities and as Shack dwellers that the broader poor have no choice but to play a role in shaping and re-shaping this country in to an anti-capitalist system. This is the task that the betrayal of our struggle and the struggles of our ancestors has given to us. We are on our own. We have to fight this fight. Although we will fight for land and housing in the city we know that this is not only a fight for land and housing in the city. Giving reasonable budgets to democratic development in district municipalities and advancing rural areas will mean that people will no longer have no choice but to leave their homes and build shacks everywhere. If the shackdwellers do not belong to this country then they must be sent back to where they belong. If they do belong here, then they are entitled to all the benefits of the soil of South Africa.


The alternative, the direction of our struggle, will come out of the thinking that we do in our communities. We are doing this thinking all the time in our communities. Tonight we can use this opportunity to do it here. Let us start with some questions. I will ask these questions now and then we can turn this lecture into a meeting. The world is full of lectures. Lectures usually come to us as one more way of making us sit quietly while rich people think for us. In our struggle we need meetings where everyone can speak and think together.

  • Have the poor Durban shackdwellers succeeded in their struggle for land and housing in the city? What has been won? What must still be won? What have we learned from our struggle?

  • Have the Western Cape QQ Section and Anti-Eviction Campaign succeeded in their struggle for housing? What can be learnt from their struggle?

  • Have the South Durban Communities succeeded in their fight against the threats from the Engin refinery and the generally poisonous environment? What can be learnt from this struggle?

  • Have the flat residents such as Bayview, Albert Park, Sydenham Heights, New Lands and Phoenix been attended to? What must still be done? What can we learn from this struggle?

  • Have Bachu, Baig, Xulu, Shezi and Dimba been removed from the offices of the community? Why are these people imposed on us? What should we do about it?

  • Have the deaths of Monica Ngcobo , Tebogo Mkhonza, Komi Zulu and Mhlengi Khumalo brought about any changes in our communities? What have we learnt from these deaths? Why are our people being killed by the police, by fire, by councillors? Why does no one high up seem to care?

  • What stops the poor from becoming the political majority of this country in which they are the majority of citizens? What stops us from deciding the policies that affect our lives? What stops from being in control of our future?

  • What strategy will force the blind government to see and get the deaf government to hear? What strategy will force those who are rich to share, those who do not give account to account?

  • How can we unite our struggling communities and movements to make them stronger?

  • I am optimistic that the “will” of the poor will soon be done simple because the poor are the majority of this country and the majority is beginning to speak for itself. We have the courage to do what must be done. But this optimism can only be kept for as long as democracy prevails so democracy must be protected and deepened. This is why we took Sutcliffe to court when he tried to ban us from marching. Comrades, let us now think about these questions together.

    Zulu Version


    Ipeji lokuqala kwiphephandaba leSunday Times, lomhlaka 9, July 2006, lirecoda ukuthi “iBlack economic empowerment yenze izicebi ezingu 5 880 zase Ningizimu Afrika kulonyaka ophelile. Lesi sibalo singaphindwa kathathu masilinganiswa nokuthuthuka komhlaba wonke. Manje sesisesigabeni sesine esakha izicebi, emuva kwe South Korea, India neRussia.

    Cishe onke amagama aphathiwe: Smuts Ngonyama, Mohammed Valli Moosa, Popo Molefe, Cheryl Carolus, Manne Dipico no Patrice Motsepe bahlangene ngepolitiki kulenkangaso ephethe. Indlela abakha ngayo imali iletha ukumangala okukhulu.
    “I thayikhuni yezimayini engu Mzi Khumalo ingenye yezi ezi sizakele kuqala. Kuthiwa wenze imali enga nge R1 billion edilini eyodwa ekuqaleni kwa 2002. U Motsepe, wayeyi khontracta yezimayini, sowenze okucishe kufane noMzi, emunyakeni olishumi okucishe kufane nje ngomphathi we Pick ‘n Pay Group uRaymond Ackerman, lokhu ukwenze ngeminyaka elishumi nane.”

    Imizwa iyakhombakalisa kulezinshintsho. Lona oletha amaPorsche eningizimu Afrika kuze awadayise, watshela iphephandaba i Sunday Times ukuthi uzozama ukukhuphukisa isibalo sokuletha ama Porsche kusukela ku 250 kuya ku 400, ngokuthi adingwa kakhulu ngabantu abamnyama bamabhizinisi. iAston Martin lethengisa imoto, seyithengize 40 kusukela ekuqaleni kwalonyaka. Lezimoto zibiza kusukela ku R1.5 kuya ku R3.5 million. Kubathengi abangamashumi amane, abangamashumi amabili bamnyama.

    Izwe lezicebi libonakalisa njenge nqubeko yabantu abasebenzisa imali njengendlela yokuqeda kungezwani kwabantu, bese bakhombisa ukuthi bangenzani ngalezimoto eziphuma kulamanye amazwe abazithengayo.

    Kepha ke, akusiko ukushayela noma lezimoto zalabacebi bamabhizinisi lengifise kubhekana ngakho kuleliphepha.

    Kuleliviki elilandelayo kwiphephandaba leSunday Times, belibhekene nokuhlupheka, kodwa kupeji 5. Abangu 11 million kulabahluphekile baphila ngama social grants. Indlela yekuhlupheka kulabahlala emafami nemijondolo yasemadolobheni ingizwisa ubuhlungu. Kodwa lendaba kuleliphephandaba beyizwelana naba hluphekile, kepha laba labahluphekile bebasolo benziwa abantu abaphila izimphilo ezingenalo ithemba. Akukho okushiwo njengeku hlangana kwalabo labahluphekile, izicelo abazenzayo nokuthi bahlangane kanjani ukulwa nohulumeni obabukela phansi nalobenzela phansi. Akukho okwashiwo ngalemizabalazo levumbhukile noma ngenombolo yemizabalazo ebe khona kwileminyaka endlule, eyodwa yesicebi semamiliyoni. Akukho akwafunwa ngendlela yekuhamba lesebenziswa ngulabazabalazayo.

    Mhlambe kwabayinto enhle, ngoba ngiyesaba ukuthi bekuzovelani kube lombhali maphepha wabhekisisa ukuthi obani ababeshayela lemizabalazo, kuma van, imoto nakumataxi, lokhu ngizobuye ngikhulume ngakho.

    Ukwakha imphilo engenayo i Capitalism, izivumelwano lohulumeni lanazo ukuthi amabhizinisi azokwakha imisebenzi aphinde futhi alethe intuthuko. Laba labahluphekile batshelwa ukuthi kufanele bahlupheke kwezikhashana khona bazothola ukuthuthuka kwesikhathi leside. Kepha imicabango yokuletha izizwe kulabour-market seyihlulekile kuyo yonke iniNgizimu. Okwenzekile ukuthi abobhizinisi abancane bathathe yonke imali, lohulumendi omusha unikeza ama social grants njengendlela yokuthi kungabi khona imizabalazo.

    Lokhu kungiletha kulenkulumo yemizabalazo. Iningi yalemizabalazo ihlanganiswa abantu abaningi bemiphakathi. Bazezindaweni ezihlukene, banezizathu eziningi, solokhu babukelwa phansi. Labantu abazabalazayo baphuma kwimiphakathi ehluphekile.

    Labanyenzi kulabo labazabalazayo bayaziwa hhayi ngoba banodlame kodwa kungukuthi badonsa abantu abaningi abaphuma ezindaweni ezingakahlupheki kangako, kepha ezinezifiso lezifana nezabo. Ngalamanye amagama badonsa ‘abantu bemizabalazo abaphuma ekuzabalazeni nohulumeni waphambilini, bafika bathola ubunzima emiphakathini. Laba bantu bemizabalazo baletha izinto ezinyenzi, njengemali engasiza ekuthuthukiseni kwemizabalazo lulelizwe. Izincwadi zamanyuvesi, amaphephandaba abhaliwe, amacala ezinkantolo, izimali zamabhasi, imihlangano, nezikibha ezenziwako.

    Kepha okubi ukuthi lababantu bemizabalazo beza nezifo zemizabalazo ezithathelanako. Ngalesinye isikhathi baye baphume bafune abantu abangajoyina amaphathi abo. Ngalesinye isikhathi basebenza njengebasebenzi bamaNGOs labadinga ukuthola izizathu zekubakhona, bese bazifaka kwimizabalazo lezofakwa kuma proposals.

    Kunzima ukucabanga abazabalazile labakwazile ukuphila izinyanga ezingu 6 lapha eniNgizimu Afrika, lakwazile ukuthola lusizo elihlangahlangeni, elinalabantu abahlukene engiceda ukubabala. Kuyamangalisa, ke, ukuthi sekufundwe kakhulu ngema social movements, kepha labantu bangephandle abadlala imisebenzi omkhulu bakwazile ukubalekela uqinongo olubalulekile. Asesicale ngoku bheka ukuthi yini bathiwa bangephandle, kokucala nje.

    Abantu abangenele imizabalazo zingathi behlukile kunalabo bebalwa nohulumeni waphambilini ngoba bahlangene ngezinkinga zekuswela. Labo bebazabalazela uhulumeni waphambilini bebahlangene ngezizathu zekuqindezeleka neku gcilazeka. Abantu abazabalazayo bahlangene ngezicelo abanazo kanye nezifiso zekuthi baphumelele ukuzifeza. Ukuhlangana okuneqiniso, ukukhululeka kwethu sonke kumizabalazo, ngeziqiniseko lapha eThekwini, njengokwazi kwami, kuhlangana ekufezeni lezo zicelo, nekwakha izihlangano nabaholi makufanele. Kukubeka ngalamanye amagama, izizathu zethu emizabalazweni kungukuthi zithola ukufezeka kwalezikufunako noma ziphikisa ipolicy. Kuloku i komradi i komradi ngoba ngumuntu esihlala naye, futhi inezifiso zethu, kanye ujoyine inhlangano yethu. Abantu abangahlukumezeki ngokubabeze kwe manzi noma ukususwa kwezindawo zabo zekuhlala bangebantu bangaphandle, singathi bangemakomradi lamileyo.

    Isiphetho salendlela abazabalaza ngayo, ababhekwa ngayo, sizengakatholakali izindlela lengenza labo labazabalazayo ukuthi bakhulume nalabo labangaphakathi. Kodwa ikhona indlela ezinayo esiza ukuthi sikhulume. Abantu bangephandle banozwelo, banezimali kanye futhi banokusizana. Labo abaphakathi banokuhlakanipha kanye nemandla. Abaholi bakuleminye imiphakathi banenhlonipho, nomusa kanye nokuphuthuma kuletha itaxi noma mabili ekusizeni.

    Ngadabuka ukufunda inkulumo leyenziwa ngulomunye ofundile owathi abafundile bavumelekile ukujoyina imizabalazo yalabahluphekile ngoba bahlele be toyi-toyi, laba abafundile badingekile ngoba “bacabanga kahle”. Ngizoke le “zinhlangano” zabantu bangaphandle laba abahlala emizabalazweni yebantu njenga bantu abafundile ukuze bathole ukuthi imibono yemizabalazo iyini. Abazabalazayo bayafundwa ukuze lokhu abafundile labakucabangayo ngalabazabalazayo kuphumele ebaleni. Kule conference lena, kube namaphepha lathuliwe lapho khona kuthiwe amanye ema komradi akhombisa lokhu noma lokhu kupolitiki entsha. Ngicela nikwazi ukuthi loku kukhomba ukuthi benza ngathi bahlangene naye loyomfundi wase wathathwa kabi kanye futhi wabathemba ukuthi ukhuluma nabantu lakabathatha njengema komradi.

    Isikhathi sekuthi ngibuze sesifikile. Njengoba thina esingaphandle kwalabo abafundile sifuna ukwazi ngabanzi ngeze politiki yabantu abahluphekile, babobani labo abafuna ukwazi ngathi, ngulababemariseshi? Kepha kufanele ukuthi siqhubeke ngokuthi imicabango yethu ngomphakathi yande, kepha kwenziwa yini ukuthi sihlukanise lemicabango yethu nakulabo abasiqhuqhuzelako kanye lesibhala ngabo. Lokhu kubhekekile kulabo abathi bona bangabafundi kuphele, hhayi okunye. Abanga yifihli imibuzo yabo labafuna ukuyibuza.

    Inkinga ekhona ngalokufunda nokwaziza ngemizabalazo kungukuthi kwenziwa kube yinto enkhulu kakhulu, lesinye isikhathi kuyakhiwa. Sonke ziyakhulisa izinombolo ukuthi sazise abamaphephandaba ukuthi inombolo zebantu abakumashi bangakhi. Inkinga yalokhu ingozi yokuthi, ungakufananisa nedonga lapho khona bantu nezihlangano bawele khona ngoba behluleka ukuveza izithembizo enzenzelwa ezikhundleni zabo. Lokhu kuhambisana nalomucabango wokuthi abantu abahluphekile bazithombe zeqiniso , uma bahlangana ngekukhululeka, kumasha kwabo kuzoqhubekisa inkululeko.

    Okwa manje into yokuqala efanele siyazi ukuthi yonke imizabalazo ekhona kulesikhathi, samanje kufanele yaziwe ngendlela efanele. Angeke kubekhona inkulumo yokuthengisana noma kuza umongameli wohulumeni, eletha icheque-book esandleni, noma enza iminikezo eyanele yokuthutha abantu abahlala emijondolo kuze baye eVerulam. Kepha kufanele ukuthi siqonde ukuthi izicelo zemizabalazo kufanele zifakwe phakathi kwazonke izinfaniso zekuqindezelaka nokuhlukumeza komsebenzi owaziwayo kumuzi weRDP onezizaga eziphansi zogesi namanzi. Singaba nezizathu sokutshela abanye okunye, kepha akufanele ukuthi siyengane. Okwesibili kukhona isazizo ezithi akukho ukunyakaza, ayikho imicabango engaphuma, futhi engathathwa nengenziwa ukuthanda kwabanye abantu. Sibonile ukuthi ukucabanga kwabantu abamnyama kutshengiswa imphumelelo yokulwa nokulingana kwabantu ezweni lethu. Sinabo abantu phakathi kwethu abafuna amandla abo kuphela nezidingo zabo kuphela.

    Lokhu okunye kungiletha ukuthi ngikhulume ngalabantu abasiza imizabalazo yasemphakathini. Kunemibhalo emincane ngendlela yemizabalazo yokuthembela kuma NGOs, nabaseshi, nalabasizanayo be middle-class, nebameli. Ngifisa ukwenza lesaziso ezilandelayo ngendlela eyamlekile. Angiqondile ukulwisa umuntu. Isikhathi sifikile ukuthi ngicwayise ngabafundile abathanda kujoyina kulomzabalazo, kodwa besebenza okunye okungaqondene nabanye abafundile kulomzabalazo. Ngokwazi kwami ngalokhu, labantu abafundile bakhuluma kakhulu ngenkululeko. Kodwa abanankinga ekubhaleni ngomzabalazo nabaphathi bawo. Kusuke kuhlukile uma izinto zenkululeko zingahambi ngendlela efanele. Mabebuza izinga ekuyo lenhlangano, kufana nokuhlasela lenhlangano. Lenkinga lana, Komrades ibalulekile.

    Ngelinye ilanga ngagibelisa abantu abalwela umzabalazo, ngababuza ukuthi bacabanga njani ngendlela iSACP ibheka ngayo iANC. Bebangazi lutho, futhi lokhu kujwayelekile. Ngababuza ukuthi bake bathola izazizo ezibhaliwe ezifana njenge za Steve Biko ‘Ngibhala Ongikuthandayo.’ Babekangaze bayibone. Ngamangala. Lokhu kwangitjela ukuthi, abantu abahluphekayo abanakwa. Labafundile bazitjela ukuthi abahluphekile bazofunda lokho okuthi ‘Bafunda engikuthandayo.’

    Ukuzwela kungaba yingozi, ngoba umuntu oyedwa akayedwa ekunzimeni. Into yokugcina engizoyibheka namhlanje, ingendlela abantu abafundile abasebenza ngayo. Lokhu kukhombisa ukuvelela ngokwenza abantu abaphathayo. Lokhu kwenza abantu bathembele. Lokuzwana kusiza abaphathi ngoba ibona abathola izinto eziningi.

    Lokucabanga kwalabafundile abaphuma kwiacademi, bayabancoma kulezinye izindawo (esikhathini esiningi yibona). Loku kudinga ukubhekwa okukhulu. Ngicabanga ukuthi lokhu kufanele kuthethwe phakathi kwama rank enu. Ngiyacabanga ukuthi thina sonke abafundileyo sibe nendlela efanele yenkulumo. Nivumelekile ukuthi ningene kulenkulumo. Ningeza nizozifunda thina. Ningeza nizobona indlela ezisebenza ngayo.

    Kwekugcina, singabavimba kanjani abashayeli bamavan abangaziwa, ekushayeleni amavan ethu. Singenza njani ukutshintsha imizabalazo yethu kuze ingabi njengamaTaxi lapho khona noma ngabe ubani ongangena noma enepolitiki enjani ezomenza aye kumashi elandelayo. Ngamanye amazwi singayithola kanjani imoto ezovumela isimo sethu, indlela eqondile nefanele.

    Sidinga ukuthi siqonde ukuthi kwenziwa yini ukuthi, noma ngabe siyathanda noma asithandi singumphakathi. Sidinga ukuthi zithole indlela yokuqhumana nani ngalesikholelwa kukho ngaphakathi ezinhliziweni zethu. Isizathu sokuthi sisondelane nemiphakithi, akukhona ukuthi siyanidabukela noma sichamuka endaweni eyodwa. Kepha kungukuthi sifisa ukuthi niphumelele ezicelweni zenu, njengenqenye yokulwa nenkululeko.

    Laba abaphatheke kabi nalaba abalimazekile ngaleliphepha, ngiyaxolisa. Kufanele ukuthi ngiqine ngemavi a Frantz Fanon lathi “ isiko lifuna ukuthi izinxabano zethu zixhazululwe eningini. Esimweni lesi esinokuhleka phakathi singcono ngoba zikhululekile futhi ekugcineni zifuna izinto ezifanayo

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