Habitat International Coalition
Global network for the right to habitat and social justice
HIC statement against the persecution and assassination of Abahlali baseMjondolo members, grassroots movement in South Africa
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On Tuesday night, 22 May 2018, S’fiso Ngcobo was assassinated in eKukhayeni, in Marianhill outside Durban. Ngcobo was the chairperson of the local branch of the shack dwellers’ movement, Abahlali baseMjondolo. Earlier on Tuesday another member of the movement, Ndumiso Mnguni, was shot and seriously wounded in the Foreman Road settlement in Clare Estate.

The eKukhayeni branch had held a well-attended mass meeting on Saturday 19 May and had reported threats. This is typical of a pattern of impressive local organisation followed by threats and then violence, including assassinations. Abahlali baseMjondolo have endured considerable violence, including a horrifying number of assassinations over the years.

Abahlali baseMjondolo is a democratic organisation, with tens of thousands of members. It is doing vital and courageous work in the interests of social justice. Abahlali baseMjondolo is a grassroots movement of poor shack dwellers in Durban, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg and other parts of the province and of the Western Cape. The movement advocates for the rights of people living in shacks including access to decent housing, services and education. Its members have been the targets of ongoing intimidation and physical attacks due to corruption at the local political level, and since 2007, including Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku, seven members of Abahlali baseMjondolo have been killed and others have been persecuted.

It is essential that other forces in society committed to social justice, insist that the repression of this movement be stopped. We need to engage Abahlali baseMjondolo as call to conscience, and as a call to justice.

For more info: www.abahlali.org or read the article at the Sunday Times

• Housing and Land Rights Violations   

Habitat International Coalition
General Secretariat