18 July 2011
Abahlali baseMjondolo Press Statement
The Victory in the Kennedy 12 Trial is a Victory for all the Poor in South Africa
The Kennedy 12 have been acquitted of all the charges bought against them after the attack on our movement in September 2009. It is a great day for the 12, their families, our movement and the struggle of the poor in South Africa.
We wish to begin by extending our deepest, heartfelt gratitude to all our comrades and our partners around the world who have supported the 12 and our movement since the attack. We must thank our Alliance partners, the Rural Network, LPM, and the AEC; our comrades in the UPM and the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Front; Bishop Rubin Philip of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Diakonia Council of churches, and all the other church leaders that stood with us; the German churches; the Church Land Programme; the Human Rights organization around the world, particularly Amnesty International, the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York; our comrades in the grassroots organisations in the US from Chicago to New York City and the Bay Area in California, our comrades in Moscow (Russia), Italy, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Belgium. We also want to thank all the academics and leading scholars who signed a powerful petition in our support and all those who academics who wrote articles in our defence while we and our supporters were under attack. Most importantly we want to thank our Legal Team from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI). There are so many of you, we cannot mention you all by name, but we thank you all. We are not alone in this struggle.
Today the Durban Regional court has acquitted all of the the Kennedy 12 accused of murder, attempted murder, armed robbery, public violence and damage to property. In fact there was no case to answer as the prosecution failed to make any case against any of the accused on any charge. We have always been saying that these charges were fabricated and politically motivated. This emerged clearly in the court. The Magistrate said that the evidence that was brought before the court was contradictory, was unreliable, not credible, had serious discrepancies and was concocted. No court in this world could find the accused guilty without any evidence at all against them. The court has agreed that there was fighting and killing but that it was not by the accused. The Magistrate was saying all these things because our legal team had applied for acquittal under Section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Act. The Magistrate had no option but to grant that application to have the accused acquitted because it was clear that there was no evidence against any of the accused and that there had been an attempt to frame them.
Today it has, again, been clear that there will be high price to be paid in the struggle for justice and a better society. We salute our comrades, the Kennedy 12, who have paid a very high price not just for Abahlali but for all poor in South African who are suppressed every day when they try to resist their repression. This is a lesson to all those who have chosen to be our enemies – Abahlali will defeat you in the streets and in courts. We are many and we have proven to the world that we have the courage to stand together and to face repression and lies. Abahlali will celebrate this hard won Victory. Our meeting will discuss the celebration plan.
Those in High authority within the eThekwini Municipality and those in the KwaZulu Natal legislature who abused their power to engineer and back this attack on our Movement have been exposed to the world. This was not just an attack to our Movement but an attack against our hard won democracy. From today, as it has always been the case, our Movement will move forward without any fear of any thuggery from any politician. We will continue to be together and to find courage in our unity.
The likes of Henrick Bohmke and his associates have been exposed to the world as the liars that they are. The regressive left that would rather support state repression against a movement than to allow the poor to organise ourselves and to speak for ourselves has been exposed for what it is.
We call upon the media to attend our Press Conference to be held at the Anglican Church, St Mary’s Street, Greyville at 11:00am tomorrow. At this Press Conference we will tell the Nation about the lie of our democracy, the democracy that serves the interest of the few, while the majority of us live in deep poverty.
Our struggle continues.
For more information please contact:
S’bu Zikode (ABM President) 083 547 0474
Mnikelo Ndabankulu(ABM PRO)081 309 5485
Bandile Mdlalose(ABM Secretary General) 071 424 2815
Rev. Mavuso (Rural Network PRO) 072 279 2634
Zodwa Nsibande (ABM Youth League Secretary) 071 183 4388