Condemn political violence, terror
South Africa, 16 October 2015: On the evening of Friday 9 October 2015, a militant of the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front in the impoverished black township of Khutsong (west of Johannesburg), was threatened with violence for his political work by a group of youths. The next morning, a political school that he and another member run in the area, was forcibly disrupted by an even larger mob.
On the Friday night, comrade “Tebogo” (real name concealed for security reasons) was confronted by eight men, He was instructed to “stop promoting anarchism” and resisting the government because “the African National Congress [ANC] must rule the township” or face severe consequences. On the Saturday morning, comrades “Tebogo” and “Boitumelo” (*real name concealed) were confronted by around 15 thugs while preparing to host the monthly ZACF / Zabalaza political education session at a local venue. They were able to prevent the group gaining entry, but the event was disrupted. Rocks were thrown, threats were made.
The two Zabalaza comrades were fortunately able to escape, but have had to flee to another township where they are now in hiding. Meanwhile the thugs have returned to the house where “Tebogo” lives, looking for him. We have made every effort to help our comrades in this difficult time.
We now appeal to all progressive structures to join us in opposing and condemning these blatant acts of intimidation and terror against the black working class. The events in Khutsong are, sadly, not isolated incidents. As such, they should be viewed as extremely serious, potentially deadly.
It is common for township-based political party elites to hire thugs to do the dirty work of intimidating and attacking activists. Earlier this year, for example, a community meeting organised by activists from Abahlali baseFreedom Park, south of Johannesburg, was attacked by thugs allegedly hired by a local ANC councillor and his cronies. Several community members were hospitalised, one put in intensive care. Attacks on basic human rights and freedom are ongoing.
We are relieved that our comrades from Khutsong did not suffer the same fate, and that the comrades with whom we work in Freedom Park continue to fight back.
But we are also conscious that no one is out of harm’s way, that similar fates await activists who dare to speak out and stand up against the exploitation, misrule, corruption, discrimination and profiteering that oppresses the black working class – and that benefits the elites.
We urge activists fighting for a better South Africa, a better world, and a brighter future, to stand firm and to refuse to allow themselves to be bullied and intimidated into inaction by the ruling party’s henchmen. For surely we can only expect such terror to increase as the working class continues to rise.
We therefore ask organisations and individuals to:
- sign onto this statement by emailing zacf[at]riseup.net or by using the comment function below
- circulate this news widely
- expose all instances of political terror to the public and media
Stop political intimidation of activists in our townships!
Defend the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association!
No one is free, until all people are free!