South Africa: Militarizing Repression in Durban

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South Africa: Militarizing Repression in Durban
By: Abahlali baseMjondolo
03 February 2019
 

Statement of Abahlali baseMjondolo

Last week, the news was full of reports on the arrival of three of the four Casspirs (mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles) that have been ordered by the eThekwini Municipality. We first heard about the order of the Casspirs in 2017, when it was reported that the Municipality was ordering four Casspirs at a cost of R23.8 million (€1.556 million) due to the escalation of what they call service delivery protests and land grabs or land invasions.

This week we were told that Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer was elated at their arrival and that they would be used against protests and land grabs. The cost is now reported to be R27 million (€1.765 million).

We read that They are air-conditioned and officers can access the roof via hatches and shoot through holes cut into the glass and that Fawzia Peer believes that the arrival of multimillion-rand Casspirs will strengthen the city`s fight against land invasions and protests.

Casspirs are a form of armoured vehicle that were developed for the apartheid military. They were first used in the wars in Namibia and Angola, and then used against the uprising against apartheid in the townships.

We should only see Casspirs in the Apartheid Museum. The decision to bring them back to use them against protests and land occupations is disgraceful.

The ANC already mobilises all kinds of violence against us in Durban using the izinkabi, the Anti-Land Invasions Unit, Municipal security guards and two police forces. Our members, and other people engaged in protest and direct action, are regularly wounded, maimed and killed.

If the ANC had any real progressive commitments, they would see protests as a democratic question and engage them as an opportunity for discussion. They would see the land question as a question of justice, understand land occupations as land reform from below and work to put the social value of land before its commercial value.

But, instead, they want to respond to our organisation against our systematic exclusion and impoverishment with military force using the same tools as the apartheid state. They want to repress rather than to engage the struggles of the oppressed.

The ANC talks about land reform will violently attacking land occupations. The expect impoverished and working class people to vote for them while they prevent us from building democracy from below and exercising basic democratic rights like the right to protest.

The old Casspirs did not stop the struggle against apartheid. The new Casspirs will not stop the struggle for land and dignity.

Contact:

Noma +27 (0)81 0053 686

Sifiso: +27 (0)71 116 1178

Land & Dignity!

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Abahlali baseMjondolo website: http://www.abahlali.org

AbM Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?v=wall&gid=19659923423

Photo: A Casspir, featuring a specially-shaped under-hull plates intended to reduce the effects of land mines. Source: Military-Today.com.

Themes
• Access to natural resources
• Advocacy
• Collectivization
• Communication and dissemination
• ESC rights
• Grassroots initiatives
• Housing crisis
• Housing rights
• Human rights
• Land rights
• Landless
• Local
• Local Governance
• Low income
• National
• Public policies
• Public programs and budgets
• Security of tenure
• Squatters
• Squatting / occupation
• Urban planning

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