Human rights only exist on paper for the poor


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Source: Abahlali baseMjondolo

Yesterday we buried Ayanda Ngila in Port St. Johns. The day before we buried Siyabonga Manqele in eShowe. Ayanda was murdered by ANC thugs and Siyabonga was murdered by the police. This is the reality of how the ruling party and the state respond when the oppressed insist on the recognition of our human dignity and yet today they tell us that we must celebrate our human rights, and that these rights were brought to us by the ANC.

The protest against the pass laws led by the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania on 21 March 1960 was met with a massacre that took 69 lives. It was one of the turning points in our history. The Sharpeville massacre led to what was called Sharpeville Day. This day was then hijacked by the ANC who decided to rename it Human Rights Day, to turn something radical into something liberal. This is, as usual, a tactic to wipe out the history of all organisations and people who resisted apartheid outside of the ANC.

It was not just the ANC that fought against apartheid. In fact the most powerful resistance against apartheid was the resistance of ordinary people in grassroots formations in communities and in the trade unions in the factories and the mines.

Today we continue to be murdered by the police when we stand up for our human dignity. The whole world knows about the Marikana massacre, but there is also the slow Marikana of people being constantly killed by the police during evictions, protests and militarised raids on land occupations.

Today, 62 years after the Sharpeville massacre, most black people remain impoverished. We can vote but we are not invited to participate in decision making. When we build our own democratic power from below we are brutally repressed. The vision of real democracy that was carried during the struggle against apartheid – The people shall govern! – has been turned into liberal democracy on election days and violent repression the rest of the time.

The blood of those who sacrificed their lives for us to be free in Sharpeville 62 years ago has been betrayed by the ANC. They have betrayed the past and they have betrayed the present. More than a quarter of a century after the end of apartheid blood continues to run into the streets.

The thieves in the ANC have even robbed us of the right to the most basic services. We are still without water in the rural areas and in shack settlements. We are still denied electricity and left to burn in shack fires.

Many families still live below the breadline. The unemployment rate continues to increase under the ANC government. Very few young people have jobs. Very few young people will ever have a job under the ANC.

When we raise these issues we are tear gassed and shot by the police. Sometimes it looks like we are living in a dictatorship with a state that is militarised to deal with the poor. When the state comes to us it comes with guns. It comes to intimidate and to maim and kill. It does not come to talk.

We are treated as if we are people with no right to dignity, no right to participate in decision making and no right to our share of the land and wealth of the country.

Nobody is fooled by politicians who are only in government to enrich themselves and their families anymore.

There is no hope for the poor under the ANC. When we are not abandoned by the state we are attacked by the state. We were promised land and instead we get violent evictions. The ANC uses thugs and assassins to murder our leaders.

We have lost 21 members at the hands of the state and the ANC. The ANC murdered Ayanda Ngila and the state murdered Siyabonga Manqele. They were murdered because they were part of a movement of the oppressed, a movement committed to defending our dignity and making sure that the world is humanised.

The ANC is the party of theft and death. It is the party of Marikana and Life Esidemeni. It is the party of constant killing during evictions and protests. The ANC rule the poor with the gun. Our lives count for nothing. We can be killed with impunity.

It is obscene to say we are free while we live under the oppression of the ANC.

Today we salute the martyrs of Sharpeville, the martyrs of Marikana, the martyrs in our movement and all the others who died for standing up for dignity and justice, whether under apartheid or under the ANC.

Today we look forward to real freedom, to a time when we as black people are no longer murdered for insisting on our human dignity.

Phansi ngeANC! Phansi amabhunu amnyama!

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