South Africa

GROUNDUP: Abahlali’s decision ‘unfortunate’ – Unemployed People’s Movement

By GroundUp 6 May 2014

Ayanda Kota, organiser of the Unemployed People’s Movement, says that Abahali Basemjondolo’s decision to endorse the DA is ‘unfortunate’. By Sibusiso Tshabalala for GROUNDUP.

Kota told GroundUp that Abahali’s decision would not advance the cause of the poor and working class. “We have worked together with Abahlali and while we have had serious disagreements, they remain our comrades. Their decision is rather unfortunate.”

Kota questioned Abahlali’s move to endorse the DA as opposed to smaller political parties. “The DA remains a party of white wealth and privilege. It has not transformed. We [the UPM] think that the best route to go is the ‘No Vote’ route. Rather give your votes to a smaller party,” said Kota.

The UPM, an affiliate of the Poor Peoples’ Alliance, is one of the signatories to the Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote No campaign. “I will spoil my ballot and would encourage everyone else to do the same,” Kota said.

Kota said that although the impact of the campaign might be insignificant at the polls, he believes that the impact will be felt after the elections.

“We are not ambitious. We know that the ANC is going to win. But the trick lies here: Do they win with a two-thirds majority? Does their support diminish? What happens after the election? This is why the campaign is important,” said Kota.

Kota added that poor and working-class people needed to be represented in South Africa’s changing political landscape.

“I hope that progressive social movements realise the need for alignment. Over the past couple of months, we have seen the brave and gallant struggle that AMCU waged against the mining bosses. NUMSA too has inspired us in their attempt to fight for the soul of COSATU,” said Kota.

“What happens after these elections is important. If we don’t get it right now, it will take us another 20 years for this energy to come again. The UPM is clear – we want to work with NUMSA should it form it’s movement for socialism. We will do so for the poor, we will do so for Andries Tatane and Nqobile Nzuza, and many of those who remain marginalised in this country. We may not have all the answers, but the prospects look good,” Kota said. DM

Photo: Ayanda Kota

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