By Staff Reporter
A South African civil society organisation for landless people has asked all leaders of different organisations across the world to struggle with their underprivileged people.
Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack dwellers) member and former president, Sibu Zikoda said his organisation had been abused by different organisations including the trade union movement.
Addressing delegates at the ongoing Pan Africanism Conference in Ghana on Thursday, Zikoda said members of the Abahlali baseMjondolo were no longer interested in what he termed fake civil society organisations.
“Our land battles are real. We are fighting brutal and unlawful evictions, yet most organisations have been silent about this matter. We call upon leaders to struggle with us, not for us. We also ask them to journey with us in this struggle,” he said. “Unfortunately, we have been used even by trade union movements which are supposed to support the working class. (South Africa Congress of Trade Unions) COSATU have used and abused us. When they go to the streets to protest they always need us, and we go with them. But when we are attacked and we need them to stand with us they go into hiding. They bring in issues of hierarchy; they talk about us getting permission, and their leadership disappears. So, we are asking trade union movements to work with popular movements such as the shack dwellers, peasants and other working class.”
And Zikoda said struggling was not an easy undertaking as it involved a lot of sacrifice.
He bemoaned intrusions he and others in the organisation have suffered at the hands of the state and its agents.
“It is easy to talk about struggles, it is easy to talk about injustices. But when you experience these things it’s different. Those NGOs who pretend to be with us, yet they are not, have done a lot of damage in undermining us. Our struggle is not just about service delivery or a shortage of water, it is about human dignity; it is a struggle for our own space.,” said Zikoda. “We have suffered at the hands of the state, using the Anti-land invasion Unit. We are still fighting brutal and unlawful evictions, and we have lost comrades at the hands of politicians. Our cities have now been hijacked and taken over by mafias and gangsters in order to deny us our rights to human dignity.”