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(en) Southern-Africa, About the backyaders + In Memory of our fallen African brothers in Marikana
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.
To raise awareness to all communities about neo-liberal system that has brought misery in
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
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
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
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
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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