The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) pledges Solidarity to and support the leaders of Abahlali baseMjondolo who are arrested on trumped charges relating to murder of a young man in 2009.

The move to charge and arrest these leaders comes at the time when the Abahlali movement is engaged in various struggles relating to land occupations. Land occupations, a struggle which is waged by Abahlali baseMjondolo and other civic movements in the urban areas, is a direct response to the continued dispossession of the African majority and the failures of government to distribute land for residential and economic activities for the marginalised.

The African working-class majority have been turned into second class citizens in urban areas where they have to either reside in what is derogatively referred to as “informal settlements” or backyards.

For its failures to address landlessness, and to appease the landowners, government has even established an Anti-Land Invasion Units, and have numerously deployed the notorious Red Ants to unleash brute violence at occupiers. The Abahlali baseMjondolo statement (12 May 2021) highlights other rogue groups who are seemingly deployed to intimidate and harass the movement’s the leaders of the occupation campaigns with the aim of destabilising the campaign entirely.

The move to arrest these leaders is predicated on the motive to intimidate and derail the occupation campaigns of the landless working-class people who have no security of tenure, no stable homes and cannot setup small businesses to avert the consequences of the high unemployment, and poverty. There are real criminals who terrorise communities and immigrant small traders. These real criminals are the ones that must be arrested and clamped down by the police, not for the police to terrorise leaders who are fighting against landlessness for housing, water, sanitation, etc.

SAFTU condemns in the strongest terms the arrest of these leader and the intimidation of the Abahlali baseMjondolo, and demand the unconditional release of their leaders.

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