Statement: Abahlali baseMjondolo Arrests
Abahlali baseMjondolo is the largest and autonomous social movement of shack dwellers across South Africa which was established in 2005 and is connecting over 30 settlements. Their key demands are land and housing in the cities to live dignified lives. Their fight for an end to forced removals, access to education and the provision of water, electricity, sanitation and health care is a fight for dignity. To date, 18 members of the movement have been killed.
Afrikagrupperna was the organization that nominated Mr Sibusiso Zikode, President of the Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement to receive the 2021 Per Anger Prize. The Per Anger Prize is the Swedish Government’s international prize for human rights and democracy. The prize was established in 2004 in recognition of diplomat Per Anger’s efforts during the Second World War, when he saved Hungarian Jews from the Holocaust. A ceremony to recognize the work of Abahlali baseMjondolo was held at the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria on 24 April earlier this year.
Afrikagrupperna is concerned to learn of the arrests of three members of the movement on 4 May, including Deputy President, George Bonono, Siniko Miya and Maphiwe Gasela. They were arrested on allegations of ‘conspiracy to commit murder’ following witness statements. They were repeatedly denied bail, until bail was granted to Bonono and Gasela on 20 May. Ms Gasela, was separated from her seriously unwell baby while she was in prison. Siniko Miya was denied bail and remains in prison because he has an outstanding case. All three are expected to appear in court on 16 July.
Afrikagrupperna condemns any form of violence! We stand in solidarity with Abahlali baseMjondolo’s rightful struggle for dignity and are hopeful that they will have a fair trial which will ensure that justice prevails.
For more information:
Louise Lindfors, Secretary General Afrikagrupperna