A statement released by Abahlali baseMjondolo on 7 July 2018 claimed that its president S’bu Zikode’s vehicle had been maliciously tampered with and his life was “in grave danger”.
The alleged attempt on Zikode’s life comes after reports in early June that ANC chief whip in the City of eThekwini, Nelly Nyanisa, had accused Zikode of being “hellbent” on rendering eThekwini ungovernable.
It was also reported that Nyanisa had threatened to “deal with” Abahlali.
In an exclusive interview with New Frame, eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede claimed that she was awaiting the outcome of an internal investigation into Nyanisa’s comments.
Gumede, however, said that “there must be consequences… because a leader cannot utter words willy-nilly”.
Gumede suggested that apparent threats like those made by Nyanisa “provoke the communities and they lose hope in us”.
Abahlali alleges that as many as ten of its members have been assassinated over the past five years. In two cases there have been convictions after the murder of the movement’s members.
In 2013, 17-year-old Nqobile Nzuza was shot in the head by a police officer during a protest. Five years later police officer Phumlani Ndlovu was convicted for the murder.
Two ANC ward councillors, Mduduzi Ngcobo and Velile Lutsheko, were convicted for the 2014 murder of Thuli Ndlovu. At the time of the murder, Ndlovu was the chairman of the movement’s KwaNdengezi branch
Only weeks before the alleged attempt on Zikode’s life, Abahlali’s chairman in eKukhanyeni in Marianhill, S’fiso Ngcobo, was assassinated.
Gumede said the City of eThekwini was conducting an internal investigation into the killings. “It is not good to kill them [Abahlali members],” she said, “the head of security is working hard to stop these killings”.
However a source on the city council told New Frame that no internal investigation into the killings has been discussed during council meetings.
Zikode, in a previous interview with New Frame, painted Gumede as a duplicitous presence in Durban’s toxic and often violent local politics.
Zikode said there was a time when Gumede was “down to earth” and supportive of Abahlali, but that her administration has since become hostile to the movement.
“The City has been taken over by gangsters,” says Zikode.
He said the City had “dealt with” Abahlali for years by “rendering us landless and homeless” and denying its members the “right to live.”
Nevertheless, Zikode said Abahlali was concerned by the recent escalation in what he described as the City’s rhetoric. He claimed it is “a language that is commonly used” in the lead-up to assassinations.
According to Abahlali’s statement, Thembinkosi Qumbelo, Nkululeko Gwala, Thuli Ndlovu and S’fiso Ngcobo, all activists who were assassinated, “knew that they had been marked for death before they were assassinated”.
Zikode claimed threats against the movement and its members, are “a form of punishment for speaking truth to power”. Abahlali is a threat to the ANC, said Zikode, because the movement represented popular power outside of the ruling party.
New Frame’s source on the eThekwini council said Abahlali’s criticism of the local ANC, and what it said were the party’s abuse of housing budgets in particular, are at the heart of the acrimony between Abahlali and the City.
Zikode said the movement was not looking far from City Hall for explanations of the assassination of its members. DM
Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?
Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.
Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.
Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.
*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.
In 1952 Wernher von Braun wrote a paper where he believed a colony on Mars would be led by an individual named "Elon".