[News] South Africa's popular struggle

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 24 12:46:20 EDT 2009

Several stories follow

Looting of shops 'tip of the iceberg'

July 23 2009 at 06:19AM

By Ntokozo Mfusi

The leader of a group of unemployed people said 
the looting that occurred in Shoprite and Pick n 
Pay stores in Durban was only the beginning, 
adding that more stores would be targeted.

Ninety four people, all members of the South 
African Unemployed People's Movement, were 
arrested on Wednesday after storming into the two 
supermarkets in Dr Pixley KaSeme Street in the 
city centre and helping themselves to food without paying.

The organisation's chairperson, Nozipho Mteshane, 
said until the government took them seriously 
they would carry on with their action.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg and I myself 
cannot stop the people because they are angry - 
we handed in a memorandum to the city a week ago 
and gave them seven days to respond and they have not," Mteshane said.

She said this was a message to the government 
that people were hungry and were struggling to make ends meet.

"We want the government to provide the unemployed 
people of this country with a R1 500 basic income grant."

Onlookers at Shoprite said the group was eating 
roasted chicken, chips and other goods inside the 
store and loading goods such as cooking oil, 
frozen chicken braai packs, vegetables and beverages inside trolleys.

Police spokesperson Captain Khephu Ndlovu said 44 
people were arrested at Shoprite and 50 at Pick n 
Pay for illegal gathering and theft.

Sociologist Mary De Haas said these kinds of 
protests would escalate because people were 
unhappy as service delivery was slack.

"I am not surprised people are disgruntled, they 
have high expectations, but (the) government has 
promised a lot yet people are losing their jobs. 
This is a symptom of failure of the people 
elected to (the) government," she said.

City manager, Michael Sutcliffe, said this 
behaviour needed to be condemned in the strongest term.

"There seems to be political element in this - 
it's true they handed in a memorandum last week 
and we know there is a lot unemployment and 
poverty, but they are not the poorest of the 
poor, which is why we feel there are other 
elements involved. (The) government is looking 
into it and will deal with this accordingly."
    * This article was originally published on 
page 2 of <http://www.thestar.co.za>The Star on July 23, 2009

‘Give us a basic grant of R1500 or we’ll wreak havoc’

17 July 2009
Canaan Mdletshe – 

A GROUP representing the unemployed in 
KwaZulu-Natal has threatened to set townships 
alight and unleash an army of looters on shops unless all jobless people

UP IN ARMS: Unemployed people have vowed to 
destroy shops in KwaZulu-Natal if the government 
fails to meet their demands within seven days . PHOTO: THULI DLAMINI

received a basic income grant of R1500 a month.

National spokesperson for the SA Unemployed 
People’s Movement, Nozipho Mteshana, said a 
survey the group commissioned had uncovered more 
than 26million unemployed people in South Africa, 
more than half of the population.

The figures had gone up recently because of job 
losses from the economic meltdown.

Mteshana said the country would soon be in flames 
if the government failed to do something because 
people’s anger could not be contained much longer.

“We give our government and eThekwini 
municipality, which is our focus at this point, seven days to give us answers.”

The group has handed the municipality a memorandum of their grievances.

“If we don’t get positive answers by next 
Wednesday we will let people loot all the big 
shops and take whatever food they find in those 
shops. If this is the only language our 
government understands, then we will speak it very loudly,” she warned.

Mteshana said most of their members were young 
tertiary graduates. They were fed up with “ANC 
pals and the same people getting tenders” while others went hungry.

She said in a country where pensions were granted 
only at 60 it pained her to note that most 
unemployed people were between 18 and 35.

Crime was escalating because people were hungry.

“Hungry stomachs are angry stomachs, which is why 
we feel that unemployed people should be provided 
with a basic income grant. Our government has 
money but it is not prioritised properly.”

Economic expert Bonke Dumisa said it was unreal 
to expect an economic solution to these problems.

“Business can’t do it. Business is in the 
business of making money with as few people as 
possible, given the economic downturn.”

He said the answers lay with the politicians and 
their will to deal with the real unemployment figures.

Link to photos

was better than ANC, say Thokoza protestors


South Africa - Thokoza Protest - 21-07-09

The news media’s unsubtle censorship of this amazing protest poster:

July 24 2009 – Afrikaners can’t believe their 
eyes. This picture taken by Shayne Robinson of 
The Star newspaper, today has been making the 
rapid rounds of many hundreds of 
Afrikaans-language blogs inside and outside the 
 and many bloggers comment that they 
believe it’s a hoax,  It shows protestors holding 
handwritten protest signs with the words:
    * “AWB was better than ANC’, and “We vote for 
better life, not for worse.We live like pigs’
Afrikaner language-rights leader Dr 
<http://www.praag.co.za/>Dan Roodt, publishing 
the picture on his blog, writes that this is the 
most inexplicable protest poster he’s seen.

Indeed, many journalists reporting on the Thokoza 
unrests – where this photograph above was taken 
by Shayne Robinson of The Star in Johannesburg, 
must have realised that this was the ultimate 
insult to the ANC-leadership: black voters in 
Thokoza had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the 
presidency of Jacob Zuma, yet there they were 
just months later -- stating that South African 
blacks would be better-off under the  rabidly 
white rightwingers in the Afrikaner 
Weerstandsbeweging than they now are under ANC-rule.

Of course it’s irrelevant that the AWB never 
ruled the country... this sign expresses a very 
intense  and genuine anger felt by these black voters.
    * Over the past three elections, these many 
millions of black voters have repeatedly been 
promised a golden future which included jobs, 
free housing, free electricity, lower 
food-prices, better schools
 Instead, they are 
still ‘living like pigs’, as the other poster next to it, states so clearly.
    * Also note the large number of weapons in 
the hands of these protestors, from bricks to heavy metal rods.
AS noted earlier, this photograph was taken by 
Robinson of  The Star in Johannesburg, (cell 
27767318361, w 27116332231 
It’s unclear whether his own newspaper published 
this picture, judging from its own published 
pages reporting the story (left), they may not have done.

journalist Michael Georgy  reported from the 
scene that the protesters hurled stones at 
police, who fired back teargas and rubber bullets 
(on Wednesday July 22 2009)  --  “after thousands 
marched in a show of anger at poor services and a 
lack of jobs.” This journalist 
not however note the contents of this poster, but does note:
    * “While anger was largely directed at local 
officials, there was also unhappiness with the 
government of the ruling African National 
Congress, which has ruled since the end of 
apartheid in 1994. "This government is rotten to 
the core," said Bongani Mazibuko, unemployed for years

“They have intensified uncertainty after a wave 
of strikes in Africa's biggest economy”,” Reuters 
comments. “The unrest, with scenes reminiscent of 
violence against foreigners last year that killed 
62 people, also undermined South Africa's hope of 
showing a positive image with less than a year to 
go before the soccer World Cup..’

Reuters wrote that protesters pelted cars with 
stones and blocked a highway near Johannesburg. 
At Siyathemba township, 90 km (55 miles) 
southeast of the city, other protesters were also 
demanding jobs and better schools, clashing with 
police and threatening the local mayor. And 
matters are going to get even worse: 
workers now are also threatening to strike – 
which will make ‘service delivery’ come to a dead-halt.
    * Farm invasions:
    * “Protests turned violent for a second day 
in Johannesburg's Thokoza township, where 
residents are demanding better housing and 
services. Thirty-five residents are due to appear 
in court. Residents in Meyerton, south of 
Johannesburg, occupied the (state-owned Pielie 
Farm) - in invasions similar of those in 
neighbouring Zimbabwe. They were protesting at 
being evicted from their temporary settlement.”
Guardian also writes from the UK:
    * “Fifteen years after the ANC won its first 
election, more than 1million South Africans still 
live in shacks, many without access to 
electricity or running water. The gap between 
rich and poor is also growing. Nearly 3m houses 
have been built, but the allocation has been 
prone to nepotism and corruption.”
Eljah Ngobese, reporting from Thokoza for The 
Citizen, came closest to reporting about the “AWB 
better than ANC’ poster, quoting residents as telling him:
    * "We are tired of empty promises. All this 
government want from us is a vote, nothing else. 
They are treating us as monkeys. How can they 
shoot us while we are protesting for our rights?"

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