Issued by Development Action Group (DAG)
09 MAY 2022
The Development Action Group (DAG) unreservedly condemns the murder of Abahlali baseMjondolo civil society activists.
We are outraged at the reported brutal murder of Nokuthula Mabaso, leader of Abahlali baseMjondolo Women’s League and shack dwellers movement activist in KwaZulu Natal (KZN), barely two months after the murder of another Abahlali leader, Ayanda Ngila. According to the Daily Maverick, Nokuthula was killed on her way back from a meeting regarding the court case surrounding the murder of yet another Abahlali baseMjondolo member, Sniko Miya, who was also murdered on the 6 March.
DAG is alarmed by the continued use of murder as an intimidation tactic to threaten and silence women, activists, and civil society leaders. We would like to categorically state that these killings orchestrated to intimidate, silence, and discourage activists, have no place in a modern democracy. The use of violence does not solve community issues. Instead, it instils fear and threatens active citizenry, thereby limiting people’s freedom of expression and right to participate in issues that affect them. This has a particularly devasting impact on dispossessed communities.
As an organisation that supports communities to strengthen community organising and advocate for community led development that addresses economic, social, and spatial imbalances, we reiterate that the continued disregard of people’s rights and the use of violence on activists who are lawfully advocating for spatial justice should not be tolerated anywhere in South Africa.
DAG calls for an intervention and for the Minister of Human Settlements, Mmamoloko Kubayi, to make a statement requesting the Human Rights Commission and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to respond to these senseless killings. In addition, we call for the speedy investigations, arrests, and successful prosecution of the killers as well as immediate protection for other civil society leaders. The South African Police Services (SAPS) and the KZN authorities must take urgent steps to protect all community leaders and activists from further attacks to create an atmosphere conducive for freedom of expression.
We stand with the members of Abahlali baseMjondolo, who have been making the same request since the previous murders but to no avail. The South African Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of expression, access to justice, and the right to just administrative action. The struggles of the land less should not and cannot be silenced by violence. #AlutaContinua!