Working class resistance under attack in Kliptown, the home of the ANCís Freedom Charter


The housing struggles in Kliptown, Soweto, reflect the true meaning of the Freedom Charter, namely that a section of the black capitalist will benefit out of the democratisation of the country. In the words of Nelson Mandela when commenting on the so-called nationalisation clause from this Charter, from the June 1955 edition of the Liberator magazine:


'The breaking up and democratisation of these monopolies will open up fresh fields for the development of a prosperous Non-European bourgeois class. For the first time in the history of the country the Non-European bourgeoisie will have the opportunity to own in their own name and right mills and factories, and trade and private enterprise will boom and flourish as never before.'

What is important further, is that this development of a black capitalist class, is at the expense of the demands and rights of the working class. What follows from this is that the new black managers, the ANC in government, then adopt all the repressive measures of a capitalist regime, which indeed they are. The monopolies remain largely untouched and the black capitalist class are thus junior partners of imperialism. The ANC are incapable of even fighting for the demands of all the black middle class, let alone that of the working class. Yet, the Cosatu and SACP leaders all call for a resounding electoral victory for this capitalist ANC.


The national organiser of the WIVL, Thabo Modisane and 4 other activists having been found guilty on the 10th March 2008 on a charge of public violence . The charges relate to a protest by the community in Kliptown, under the banner of the Anti-Privatization Forum, on 3 Sept 2007 when they took to the streets to demand houses. On the 14th August 2007 the community had handed over a memorandum calling for their local councillor to be recalled and for adequate housing for all. In the town where the Freedom Charter was adopted ion 26 June 1955, Kliptown, thousands still live in shacks despite the document promising houses for all. To date, one and half years later, the memorandum has not been responded to.


On the 18th April last year (2008), there were confirmed cases of cholera in Kliptown. One of the first people to contract it was Kelebogile Malefane, who died on the 12th June 2008 of this preventable disease.


The response of the ANC government to years of protest by the Kliptown community for houses? They built a R200 million white elephant, called Freedom Charter Square. Part of the square is a 4 star Holiday Inn, which cost R23 million to build. This hotel remains mostly more than half-empty while 30m from its doors lies a sprawling squatter camp where raw sewage flows in the streets.


The magistrate in this case repeatedly postponed the case more than 20 times to give the police more time to find 'evidence' against the 5 accused.


On Friday 13th march 2008, the 5 face the prospect of being jailed for the crime of being leaders of the resistance to capitalist non-delivery to the working class. The case is being held at the Protea North magistrate's court in Soweto. Public violence carries a possible sentence of 5 years in prison.


It should be the capitalist parliamentary parties who should be on trial for the crime of keeping the working class without homes and of being the agents of profits for monopoly capital.


We call for a national and international campaign against the victimization of these working class activists. We are calling for mass protests at the court on Friday 13 March 2008 as part of a further general mobilization of the working class. The finding of the court exposes the true nature of the coming April elections, namely that it is a contest between the bourgeois parties as to who will be the new manager to serve the capitalist masters. Not a single one of them can commit to building decent houses for all the working class; thus it follows that every single one of them would support the arrest and jailing of activists who find themselves at the leadership of the working class. A vote for any of the parliamentary parties is a vote for more cholera, more homelessness, more starvation, more arrests of activists.


The capitalist monopolies made over R700 Billion in profits last year. Yet the ANC-SACP-Cosatu Popular Front bails out these same capitalists with hundeds of billions of Rands (Eskom electricity scam of new power stations. the 2010 stadia, etc). The capitalists continue to retrench hundreds of thousands of workers; no-one is bailing out the over 20 million starving; who will bail out the Kliptown 5? It is only united working class action, nationally and internationally can stop the imperialist attacks. The deeper their crisis, the more they will adopt harsher measures against working class fighters.


Forward to decent houses for all! Organise or starve!


Further information on the details of the court proceedings can be obtained from the APF ( Silumko Radebe

 ph  072 1737 268 or 011 333 8338)

The above statement is that of the WIVL.

Shaheed Mahomed
Workers International Vanguard League
1st Floor, Community House
41 Salt River rd
Salt River

South Africa
ph 0822020617
fax 0880214476777