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Date Mon, 08 Sep 2008 06:37:15 +0300

There is only one human race. ---- Our struggle and every real struggle is to
put the human being at the centre of society, starting with the worst off. An
action can be illegal. A person cannot be illegal. A person is a person where
ever they may find themselves. ---- If you live in a settlement you are from
that settlement and you are a neighbour and a comrade in that settlement.
We condemn the attacks, the beatings, rape and murder, in Johannesburg on
people born in other countries. We will fight left and right to ensure that this
does not happen here in KwaZulu-Natal. ---- We have been warning for years that
the anger of the poor can go in many directions. That warning, like our warnings
about the rats and the fires and the lack of toilets, the human dumping grounds
called relocation sites, the new concentration camps called transit camps and
corrupt, cruel, violent and racist police, has gone unheeded.

Let us be clear. Neither poverty nor
oppression justify one poor person turning
on another. A poor man who turns on his
wife or a poor family that turn on their
neighbours must be opposed, stopped and
brought to justice. But the reason why this
happens in Alex and not Sandton is
because people in Alex are suffering and
scared for the future of their lives. They are
living under the kind of stress that can
damage a person. The perpetrators of
these attacks must be held responsible but
the people who have crowded the poor
onto tiny bits of land, threatened their hold
on that land with evictions and forced
removals, treated them all like criminals,
exploited them, repressed their struggles,
pushed up the price of food and built too
few houses, that are too small and too far
away and then corruptly sold them must
also be held responsible.
There are other truths that also need to
be faced up to.
We need to be clear that the Department
of Home Affairs does not treat refugees or
migrants as human beings. Our members
who were born in other countries tell us ter-
rible stories about very long queues that
lead only to more queues and then to dis-
respect, cruelty and corruption. They tell
us terrible stories about police who
demand bribes, tear up their papers, steal
their money and send them to Lindela ­ a
place that is even worse than a transit
camp. A place that is not fit for a human
being. We know that you can even be sent
to Lindela if you were born in South Africa
but you look `too dark' to the police or you
come from Giyani and so you don't know
the word for elbow in isiZulu.
We need to be clear that in every reloca-
tion all the people without ID books are left
homeless. This affects some people born
in South Africa but it mostly affects people
born in other countries.
We need to be clear that many politi-
cians, and the police and the media, talk
about `illegal immigrants' as if they are all
criminals. We know the damage that this
does and the pain that this causes. We are
also spoken about as if we are all criminals
when in fact we suffer the most from crime
because we have no gates or guards to
protect our homes.
We need to be clear about the role of the
South African government and South
African companies in other countries. We
need to be clear about NEPAD. We all
know what Anglo-American is doing in the
Congo and what our government is doing
in Zimbabwe. They must also be held
We all know that South Africans were
welcomed in Zimbabwe and in Zambia,
even as far away as England, when they
were fleeing the oppression of apartheid.
In our own movement we have people who
were in exile. We must welcome those
who are fleeing oppression now. This obli-
gation is doubled by the fact that our gov-
ernment and big companies here are sup-
porting oppression in other countries.
People say that people born in other
countries are selling mandrax. Oppose
mandrax and its sellers but don't lie to
yourself and say that people born in South
African do not also sell mandrax or that our
police do not take money from mandrax
sellers. Fight for a police service that
serves the people. Don't turn your suffer-
ing neighbours into enemies.
People say that people born in other
countries are amagundane (rats, meaning
scabs). Oppose amagundane but don't lie
to yourself and say that people born in
South Africa are not also amagundane.
People also say that people born in other
countries are willing to work for very little
money bringing everyone's wages down.
But we know that people are desperate
and struggling to survive everywhere.
Fight for strong unions that cover all sec-
tors, even informal work. Don't turn your
suffering neighbours into enemies.
People say that people born in other
countries don't stand up to struggle and
always run away from the police. Oppose
cowardice but don't lie to yourself and say
that people born in South Africa are not
also cowards. Don't lie to yourself and pre-
tend that it is the same for someone born
here and someone not born here to stand
up to the corrupt, violent and racist police.
Fight for ID books for your neighbours so
that we can all stand together for the rights
of the poor. Don't turn your suffering neigh-
bours into enemies.
People say that people born in other
countries are getting houses by corruption.
Oppose corruption but don't lie to yourself
and say that people born in South Africa
are not also buying houses from the coun-
cillors and officials in the housing depart-
ment. Fight against corruption. Don't turn
your suffering neighbours into enemies.
People say that people born in other
countries are more successful in love
because they don't have to send money
home to rural areas. Oppose a poverty so
bad that it even strangles love. Live for a
life outside of money by fighting for an
income for everyone. Don't turn your suf-
fering neighbours into enemies.
People say that there are too many sell-
ers on the streets and that the ones from
outside must go. We need to ask our-
selves why only a few companies can own
so many big shops, why the police harass
and steal from street traders and why the
traders are being driven out of the cities.
The poor man cutting hair and the poor
woman selling fruit are not our enemies.
Don't turn your suffering neighbours into
We all know that if this thing is not
stopped a war against the Mozambicans
will become a war against all the
amaShangaan. A war against the
Zimbabweans will become a war against
the amaShona that will become a war
against the amaVenda. Then people will
be asking why the amaXhosa are in
Durban, why the Chinese and Pakistanis
are here. If this thing is not stopped what
will happen to a place like Clare Estate
where the people are amaXhosa,
amaMpondo, amaZulu and abeSuthu;
Indian and African; Muslim, Hindu and
Christian; born in South Africa,
Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Malawai,
Pakistan, Namibia, the Congo and India.
Yesterday we heard that this thing start-
ed in Warwick and in the City centre. We
heard that traders had their goods stolen
and that people were being checked for
their complexion, a man from Ntuzuma was
stopped and for being `too black'. Tensions
are high in the City centre. Last night peo-
ple were running in the streets in Umbilo
looking for `amakwerkwere'. People in the
tall flats were shouting down to them say-
ing `There are Congelese here, come up!"
This thing has started in Durban. We don't
know what will happen tonight.
We will do everything that we can to
make sure that it goes no further. We have
already decided on the following actions:
1. We will resuscitate our relations
with the street traders' organisa-
tions and meet to discuss this thing
with them and stay in daily con-
tact with them.
2. We have made contact with
refugee organisations and will stay
in day to day contact with them.
We will invite them to all our
meetings and events.
3. We have made contact with sen-
ior police officers who we can trust, who
are not corrupt and who wish to serve the
people. They have given us their cell num-
bers and have promised to work with us to
stop this immediately if it starts in Durban.
We will ask all our people to watch for this
thing and if it happens we'll be able to con-
tact the police that we can trust immediate-
ly. They have promised to come straight
4. We will put this threat on the agenda of
all of our meetings and events.
5. We will discuss this in every branch and
in every settlement in our movement.
6. We will discuss this with our allied move-
ments like the Western Cape Anti-Eviction
Campaign and the Landless People's
Movement so that we can develop a
national strategy.
7. In the coming days our members are
travelling to the Northern Cape, the North
West, Johannesburg and Cape Town to
meet shack dwellers struggling against
forced removal, corruption and lack of serv-
ices. In each of these meetings we will dis-
cuss this issue.
8. We are asking all radio stations to make
space for us and others to discuss this
9. In the past we have not put our members
born in other countries to the front because
we were scared that the police would send
them to Lindela. From now on we will put
our members born in other countries in the
front, but not with their fulll names because
we still cannot trust all the police.
10. If the need arises here we will ask all
our members to defend and shelter their
comrades from other countries.

We hear that the political analysts are
saying that the poor must be educated
about xenophobia. Always the solution is
to `educate the poor'. When we get
cholera we must be educated about wash-
ing our hands when in fact we need clear
water. When we get burnt we must
be educated about fire when in
fact we need electricity. This is just
a way of blaming the poor for our
suffering. We want land and
housing in the cities, we want to
go to university, we want water
and electricity ­we don't want to
be educated to be good at surviving
poverty on our own. The solution
is not to educate the poor about
xenophobia. The solution is to give the
poor what they need to survive so that it
becomes easier to be welcoming and gen-
erous. The solution is to stop the xeno-
phobia at all levels of our society. Arrest
the poor man who has become a murderer.
But also arrest the corrupt policeman and
the corrupt officials in Home Affairs. Close
down Lindela and apologise
for the suffering it has caused.
Give papers to all the people
sheltering in the police stations in
It is time to ask serious questions
about why it is that money and rich
people can move freely around the world
while everywhere the poor must confront
razor wire, corrupt and violent police,
queues and relocation or deportation. In
South Africa some of us are moved out of
the cities to rural human dumping grounds
called relocation sites while others are
moved all the way out of the country.
Some of us are taken to transit camps and
some of us are taken to Lindela. The des-
tinations might be different but it is the
same kind of oppression. Let us all edu-
cate ourselves on these questions so that
we can all take action.
We want, with humility, to suggest that
the people in Jo'burg move beyond making
statements condemning these attacks. We
suggest, with humility, that now that we are
in this terrible crisis we need a living soli-
darity, a solidarity in action. It is time for
each community and family to take in the
refugees from this violence. They cannot
be left in the police stations where they risk
deportation. It is time for the church lead-
ers and the political leaders and the trade
union leaders to be with and live with the
comrades born in other countries every day
until this danger passes. Here in Durban
our comrades to stand with us when the
Land Invasions Unit comes to evict us or
the police come to beat us. Even the
priests are beaten. Now we must all stand
with our comrades when their neighbours
come to attack them. If this happens in the
settlements here in Durban this is what we
must do and what we will do.
We make the following demands to the
government of South Africa:
1. Close down Lindela today. Set the peo-
ple free.
2. Announce, today, that there will be
papers for every person sheltering in your
police stations.
3. Ban the sale of land in the cities until all
the people are housed.
4. Stop all evictions and forced removals
5. Do not build one more golf course estate
until everyone has a house.
6. Support the people of Zimbabwe, not an
oppressive government that destroys the
homes of the poor and uses rape and tor-
ture to control opposition.
7. Arrest all corrupt people
working in the police and
Home Affairs.
8. Announce, today, a summit between all
refugee organisations and the police and
Home Affairs to plan how they can be changed
radically so that they begin to serve all the
people living in South Africa.
For further information of comment please
S'bu Zikode: 0835470474
Zodwa Nsibande: 0828302707
Mnikelo Ndabankulu: 0797450653
Mashumi Figlan: 0795843995
Senzo (surname not given, he has
no papers): 031 2691822
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