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(en) Southern-Africa, About the backyaders + In Memory of our fallen African brothers in Marikana

Date Sun, 02 Sep 2012 17:53:15 +0300

The Mandela Park Back-Yarders is a voluntary nonprofit citizens rights group working for housing rights and against evictions in Mandela Park, Khayelitsha. It is an unfunded community group made up entirely of affect residents and representing the most vulnerable individuals and families living in Mandela Park. We focus on providing legal support for residents, conducting workshops and democratic discussions about housing issues, as well as helping build the community’s negotiation power vis-a-vis housing and other government officials. ---- The Back-Yarders were formed in order to fight injustice imposed on the voiceless by creating an improved platform for communication between socialists, other radical groups and backyarders across South Africa. ---- This group focuses on the struggles and development issues in Ward 97.

Our Objectives:

To raise awareness to all communities about neo-liberal system that has brought misery in our lives.
To discuss and build our own grassroots theories relating to democracy and socialism
To build a community-led and community-level radical consciousness (a University of the Poor)
To organise From Below and to the Left
To help build a radical culture that is anti-Capitalist and anti-Authoritarian within our communities
To involve as many communities in the struggle so that we realise that we can build our own adequate houses rather than settle for inadequate and outsourced government houses we see today. Further, we seek to ensure that all issues of development are done in a participatory manner.
To press the government to listen to poor people and our own solutions rather than government forcing people to obey its decisions.
How Decisions are made: Mandela Park Back-Yarders, as socialist movement, takes democracy and its principles very seriously. This means all our activities are planned and finalised in open mass meetings with all members invited. We do not have a hierarchical structure or ‘organogram’; instead we support all round year committee that is re-elected by the community at the end of each term in order to allow other members of the movement to gain organisational skills, leadership experience, e.t.c.

The main objective of this committee is to overlook on all activities of the movement, help drive the movement forward and also to report back to the community through mass meetings that we attempt to hold weekly – every Sunday. Our Annual system of committees help us to minimise abuse of power and encourage each and every member of our movement to be empowered with leadership skills and other related skills concerning the running and building of our movement.


In Memory of our fallen African brothers in Marikana
Posted on August 25, 2012 by mparkbackyarders
Written by Loyiso Mfuku, Mandela Park Backyarder activist,
Khayelitsha, Cape Town
24 August 2012

We hereby send heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved families who recently lost their loved ones through state brutality on Thursday, 18th August 2012, in what has been dubbed “the Marikana Massacre”.

This is written to all those who still feel oppressed by anti-poor laws of this country and to the optimism that still thrives underneath the anti-poor economic establishments of the government. We are all bound by our conscience to identify injustices committed against those who demand their right to a dignified life.

All of us by now, through the atrocity committed by Lonmin, the government and the dominant trade unions, got a comprehensible illustration what happens to those who radically put forward their legitimate grievances. The constitutional obligations of this country protect “the right to life” for all our citizens until proven guilty in the court of law. Thus, the police had no right to “shoot to kill”, no matter what ill conceived justifications they put forth.

This tragic massacre has brought a feeling of sadness to almost all South Africans – except the government itself. The lack of leadership and vision in our country is a cause of extreme concern.

It is one thing for the state president to call for calm in the country and declare a period of mourning. It is another to hear the new police commissioner Riyah Phiyega making arrogant public pronouncements that spit in the faces and graves of the people that we were requested to honour and mourn.

The citizens of this country must put to scrutiny the media coverage on this matter regardless of their said claim of independence. The daily inhumane and violent conditions those workers live under – itself a form of violence – has been cast into the periphery of the media coverage.

Instead the primary focus is on the investors and the country’s reputation internationally. Have we regressed to a level where the lives of our people are juxtaposed with their monetary value?

The government has dismally failed to ask: How did we end up here? What type of the country allows its people to be exploited by wealthy foreigners in this diabolic manner?

If the are hundreds of workers arrested for the suspected killing of two police officers during the strike, why are there no police arrested for mass-murder which is also linked to the same event?

One does not need to be a rocket scientist to anticipate what will transpire in the Zuma-appointed commission of inquiry. We are already too suspicious and doubtful about the outcomes of the inquiry as it already seems to us biased in favour of those who oppress us.

The above questions seek to invoke critical thinking about the characteristics of this country.

We have bared witness to President Zuma in a business press conference reading a speech of sympathy rather than outrage.

This clearly shows what he read on that speech did not come from his heart, but were the words of someone else. He is painted as a sympathetic leader when he does not actually care at all, else resignations would have taken immediate effect. The mere fact he read a speech to console his people is not expected from an African elder, especially, a leader of his caliber given the fact that he was positioned as “a leader of the people”.

The very same President Zuma was heard uttering, “what have our nation become when we see people licking spears like that?”

This was a clear direct attack to the workers of this country. The nation can only speculate about what President Zuma told the Lomnin Mine bosses when he met them instead of meeting with the bereaved workers: “Let us create an investor friendly climate.”

We might be wrong, but given how our leaders have reacted to this matter, it leaves a lot to be desired.

As Mandela Park Backyarders:

We condemn state response with high-level contempt.
We support the inquiry but it should not be limited internally, SADEC should also appoint an inquiry that will also look deep into this matter.
We also call on Lomnin mine bosses to be accountable about the mass slaughter.
We also demand the employees to be granted their demand of R12 500 before they return to work.
The president should issue a warrant of arrest to all 3000-armed police that murdered the workers.
We also welcome the call that national MEC of police Nathi Mthethwa and Commissioner Phiyega should step down.
We also plead with all social movements locally and internationally to pledge solidarity with the Marikana mineworkers.
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