At 01h30 on 20 August 2022, when most people were safe and asleep in their homes a promising young leader of Abahlali baseMjondolo (Abahlali) was gunned down by cowards in his home in Khenana, Durban, South Africa. Khenana has attracted the most dangerous form of repression having three leaders murdered in the short space of time since March 2022. The brave and young individuals leave behind families and a commune that depends on their bravery and guidance.
It is clear that the organisation is under attack from forces who seek to see it no longer exist. Abahlali has become the home for many people who have lost hope of a better life in a post-apartheid South Africa. This organisation has stood firm in the face of adversity and has support and solidarity of the Durban Coalition of the Poor and many other organisations across South Africa, Africa and the world.
Mnguni was a promising young leader, who made many sacrifices for the masses. He was held in prison for months, he was pursued by gun wielding individuals and escaped, he was forced to go into hiding and through all of that he never lost the spirit to fight for a better life for all. The violence with which the poor and working class are forced to face has reached unacceptable levels. It is clear that there is a high level of intolerance expressed at people who seek a better life. Politicians, their friends, families and associates are taken care of while the majority of the people living in South Africa suffer.
The Minister of Police has proved useless in the matters of Abahlali, both in tracking down those responsible for the deaths of Abahlali or creating the conditions in townships where democracy can flourish and where people can for themselves build a better life for their families and community and the country.
We remember all those that have lost their lives in struggle: Nokuthula Mabaso, Ayanda Ngila, MaFikile Ntshangase and ‘Bazooka’ Radebe. We cannot call ourselves a democracy when crimes against those participating in our hard fought for democracy are murdered with impunity.
There will be no justice in our land until we can all organise and participate in our democracy without fear for our lives and safety. We must demand an open democracy that allows all people to participate meaningfully and actively in their democracy starting at a local level. A just transition to a society that works in solidarity with each other to ensure no one goes to bed hungry and to ensure that we all have decent homes and settlements is urgently needed.
In the month when we commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Marikana Massacre by the state, it is sad to be faced with the fact that the State has truly failed the people of the land. Abahlali baseMjondolo has many times stood up for justice for us all in the city of Durban. Including providing leadership that called for democratic and just processes during the Durban riots, and the floods in April this year. We now call on all progressive organisations to stand with Abahlali and demand #justiceforMnguni and #JusticeforABM. An injury to one is an injury to all. We call for immediate and effective action by the local government to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
Contact Persons: Right 2 Know Campaign, Ben Madokwe – 073 395 3257; Market Users Committee, Verushka Memdutt – 083 311 6397; Poor Flat Dwellers Movement, Maureen Rambhadursing – 062 159 4819; South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Des D’Sa – 083 982 6939; Ubunye Bamahostela, Vusi Zweni – 071 063 9868; Fisher Folk Forum, JP Narayanasamy -082 561 5321; Refugee Social Services, Gaby Bikombo – 067 660 9225; groundWork, Tsepang Molefe, .