Posts tagged ‘durban’

Occupy COP17 Activists Stage Protest at South African Embassy in London

UN Climate Conference Leaves People Homeless Amit Torrential Deadly Storms

In solidarity with the 31 families from Durban who were unlawfully evicted for the UN’s COP17 Climate Change Conference, activists from the Occupy COP17 movement will stage a colourful protest at the South African Embassy in London, England. At 3:30pm on Thursday 5 January, they will gather with giant cardboard cut-outs of the community members in an international solidarity action that aims to draw local and international attention to put pressure local Councillor Lucky Mdlalose to provide immediate housing for these 31 families.

Just days before the international summit last November, residents of KwaMashu Above (an area north of Durban) had their houses destroyed and all their possessions and food stolen from them in an unlawful eviction. There were told by local officials that they were making the place look untidy for visiting dignitaries and so were being moved on. The next night, as members of this community crouched in the rain under plastic bags in the spaces where their houses used to stand, Mwempi Caka caught a chill and died soon after. To this day, this community of grandmothers, mothers, babies and sons sleep each night on the floors of the kind neighbours that surround the empty land where their own houses once stood. Weeks later, this community is still without shelter and is being ignored by their local government.

“The municipality said we were messing up the community and they didn’t want the people coming to Durban for the United Nations conference to see us,” said Jabulile Mdlalose, 36, who is now one of the displaced. “They are ashamed of us. We have nowhere to go in our own country.”

Article 26, Section 3 of the South African Constitution States: “No one may be evicted from their home, or have their home demolished, without an order of court made after considering all the relevant circumstances.” The PIE act was also violated: “whether people have been living lawfully or unlawfully they cannot be evicted without there being alternative accommodation.”

This creative action is part of an ongoing international campaign, that began in Durban, in support of the community from KwaMashu Above.

On Friday, there will be an international “Call-In”, with people from all over the world calling the office of Councillor Lucky Mdlalose’s to put further pressure on him for immediate action. Please join us this Friday by calling Councillor Lucky Mdlalose at +27 822565398 to demand that he respect the constitutional rights of these families and provide them with immediate housing.


Occupy COP17 Supports CJN Statement at the Conclusion of COP17

Spanish and Zulu translations below

COP17 succumbs to Climate Apartheid

Antidote is Cochabamba Peoples’ Agreement

Durban, S. Africa, 11 December, 2011 – Decisions resulting from the UN COP17 climate summit in Durban constitute a crime against humanity, according to Climate Justice Now! a broad coalition of social movements and civil society. Here in South Africa, where the world was inspired by the liberation struggle of the country’s black majority, the richest nations have cynically created a new regime of climate apartheid.

“Delaying real action until 2020 is a crime of global proportions,” said Nnimmo Bassey, Chair of Friends of the Earth International. “An increase in global temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius, permitted under this plan, is a death sentence for Africa, Small Island States, and the poor and vulnerable worldwide. This summit has amplified climate apartheid, whereby the richest 1% of the world have decided that it is acceptable to sacrifice the 99%.”

According to Pablo Solón, former lead negotiator for the Plurinational State of Bolivia, “It is false to say that a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol has been adopted in Durban. The actual decision has merely been postponed to the next COP, with no commitments for emission reductions from rich countries. This means that the Kyoto Protocol will be on life support until it is replaced by a new agreement that will be even weaker.”

The world’s polluters have blocked real action and have once again chosen to bail out investors and banks by expanding the now-crashing carbon markets – which like all financial market activities these days, appear to mainly enrich a select few.

“What some see as inaction is in fact a demonstration of the palpable failure of our current economic system to address economic, social or environmental crises,” said Janet Redman, of the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies. “Banks that caused the financial crisis are now making bonanza profits speculating on our planet’s future. The financial sector, driven into a corner, is seeking a way out by developing ever newer commodities to prop up a failing system.”

Despite talk of a “roadmap” offered up by the EU, the failure in Durban shows that this is a cul-de-sac,  a road to nowhere. Spokespeople for Climate Justice Now! call on the world community to remember that a real climate program, based on planetary needs identified by scientists as well as by a mandate of popular movements, emerged at the World People’s Summit on Climate Change and Mother Earth in Bolivia in 2010. The Cochabamba People’s Agreement, brought before the UN but erased from the negotiating text, offers a just and effective way forward that is desperately needed.


On technology

“The technology discussions have been hijacked by industrialized countries speaking on behalf of their transnational corporations,” said Silvia Ribeiro from the international organization ETC Group.

Critique of monopoly patents on technologies, and the environmental, social and cultural evaluation of technologies have been taken out of the Durban outcome. Without addressing these fundamental concerns, the new technology mechanism will merely be a global marketing arm to increase the profit of transnational corporations by selling dangerous technologies to countries of the South, such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology or geoengineering technologies.

On agriculture

“The only way forward for agriculture is to support agro-ecological solutions, and to keep agriculture out of the carbon market,” said Alberto Gomez, North American Coordinator for La Via Campesina, the world’s largest movement of peasant farmers.

“Corporate Agribusiness, through its social, economic, and cultural model of production, is one of the principal causes of climate change and increased hunger. We therefore reject Free Trade Agreements, Association Agreements, and all forms of the application of Intellectual Property Rights to life, current technological packages (agrochemicals, genetic modification) and those that offer false solutions (biofuels, nanotechnology, and climate smart agriculture) that only exacerbate the current crisis.”

On REDD + and forest carbon projects
“REDD+ threatens the survival of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities. Mounting evidence shows that Indigenous Peoples are being subjected to violations of their rights as a result of the implementation of REDD+-type programs and policies,” declared The Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities against REDD and for Life.

Their statement, released during the first week of COP17, declares that “REDD+ and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) promote the privatization and commodification of forests, trees and air through carbon markets and offsets from forests, soils, agriculture and could even include the oceans. We denounce carbon markets as a hypocrisy that will not stop global warming.”

On the World Bank and the Global Climate Fund

“The World Bank is a villain of the failed neoliberal economy,” says Teresa Almaguer of Grassroots Global Justice Alliance in the U.S.

“We need a climate fund managed by participatory governance, not by an anti-democratic institution that is responsible for much of the climate disruption and poverty in the world.” “The Green Climate Fund has been turned into the Greedy Corporate Fund,” said Lidy Nacpil, of Jubilee South. “The fund has been hijacked by the rich countries, on their terms, and set up to provide more profits to the private sector”

On the Green Economy

“We need a climate fund that provides finance for peoples of developing countries that is fully independent from undemocratic institutions like the World Bank. The Bank has a long track record of financing projects that exacerbate climate disruption and poverty” said Lidy Nacpil, of Jubilee South. “The fund is being hijacked by the rich countries, setting up the World Bank as interim trustee and providing direct access to money meant for developing countries to the private sector.  It should be called the Greedy Corporate Fund!”

Climate policy is making a radical shift towards the so-called “green economy,” dangerously reducing ethical commitments and historical responsibility to an economic calculation on cost-effectiveness, trade and investment opportunities. Mitigation and adaption should not be treated as a business nor have its financing conditioned by private sector and profit-oriented logic. Life is not for sale.

On climate debt

“Industrialized northern countries are morally and legally obligated to repay their climate debt,” said Janet Redman, Co-director of the Sustainable Energy & Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies. “Developed countries grew rich at the expense of the planet and the future all people by exploiting cheap coal and oil. They must pay for the resulting loss and damages, dramatically reduce emissions now, and financially support developing countries to shift to clean energy pathways.”

Developed countries, in assuming their historical responsibility, must honor their climate debt in all its dimensions as the basis for a just, effective, and scientific solution. The focus must not be only on financial compensation, but also on restorative justice, understood as the restitution of integrity to our Mother Earth and all its beings. We call on developed countries to commit themselves to action. Only this could perhaps rebuild the trust that has been broken and enable the process to move forward.

On real solutions

“The only real solution to climate change is to leave the oil in the soil, coal in the hole and tar sands in the land.” Ivonne Yanez, Acción Ecologica, Ecuador



La COP17 sucumbe ante el apartheid climático.

Su antídoto es el Acuerdo de los Pueblos de Cochabamba

Durban, Sudáfrica – Las decisiones resultantes de la  COP17 de Naciones Unidas sobre Cambio Climático constituyen un crimen con la humanidad, de acuerdo a la coalición de movimientos y organizaciones de la sociedad civil, Justicia  Climática Ahora! (CJN!).

En Sudáfrica, que inspiró  al mundo por la lucha liberadora de la mayoría negra del país, las naciones ricas cínicamente han creado un nuevo régimen de apartheid climático.

“Posponer una  acción real hasta el 2020 es un crimen de proporciones globales”, dijo Nnimmo Bassey, Presidente de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional. “Un aumento de las temperaturas  globales en 4 grados Celsios, permitido con este plan, será una sentencia de muerte para África, los Pequeños Estados Insulares, y los más  pobres y vulnerables del mundo. Esta  Cumbre ha amplificado el apartheid climático, en el cual  el 1% más rico ha  decidido el sacrificio del 99% restante.

De acuerdo a Pablo Solón, anterior líder negociador del Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia, “es falso decir que un segundo periodo de  compromiso de Kioto haya sido adoptado en Durban. La  actual decisión ha sido meramente pospuesta para la siguiente COP, sin compromisos  de reducciones de emisiones de los países ricos. Esto significa que el Protocolo de Kioto estará vigente hasta que sea reemplazado por un nuevo acuerdo que será inclusive más débil”.

Los  contaminadores del mundo han bloqueado acciones reales y nuevamente han escogido sacar de apuros a los inversores y bancos, expandiendo los ya quebrados mercados de carbono, como ocurre con todas las actividades de los mercados financieros  actuales, que principalmente enriquecen a unos  pocos.

“Lo que se ve como una inacción, en realidad es una demostración de la falla palpable del actual sistema, que conlleva crisis económicas, sociales y ambientales”, dijo Janet Redman  del Institute for Policy Studies de Washington. “Los  bancos que causaron la  crisis financiera ahora están haciendo bonanza, especulando y lucrando con el futuro del planeta. El sector financiero  está buscando una manera de salir de  la crisis desarrollando nuevas mercancías  para tratar de apuntalar este sistema fallido”

A pesar de hablar de un “mapa de ruta”, ofrecido por la Unión Europea, el fracaso de Durban muestra que éste fue un callejón sin salida. Voceros de Climate Justice Now!llaman a la comunidad  internacional a recordar que un programa real para enfrentar el cambio climático, debe basarse en las recomendaciones de los científicos, así como en  mandato de  los  movimientos populares emergido en la Cumbre de los Pueblos sobre Cambio Climático y la Madre Tierra de Bolivia en 2010.  El Acuerdo de Cochabamba fue presentado para su discusión en la UNFCCC en pero borrado del  texto que se iba a negociar.



“Las discusiones sobre tecnología han sido secuestradas por los países industrializados que hablan de parte de sus corporaciones transnacionales” dijo Silvia Ribeiro del la organización internacional ETG Group.

“La crítica al monopolio de patentes, o la evaluación ambiental, social y cultural de las tecnologías, no está entre los resultados de Durban  Sin enfrentar estas preocupaciones fundamentales, los nuevos mecanismos tecnológicos serán meramente un brazo del mercado global para el beneficio de las corporaciones transnacionales que venden tecnologías peligrosas a los países del Sur, como son la nanotecnología, la biología sintética o la geoingeniería.


“La única manera de avanzar en materia  de agricultura es apoyar las soluciones agro-ecológicas, y mantener a  la agricultura  fuera del  merado de  carbono” dijo  Alberto Gómez, coordinador de la Via Campesina para Norteamérica, el mas  grande movimiento campesino del mundo.

“Los negocios agroindustriales, a través de su modelo social, económico  o cultural de producción, es una de las principales causas del cambio climático e incrementa el hambre en el mundo. Por eso rechazamos los Tratados de Libre Comercio, los Acuerdos de Asociación y toda forma de aplicación de derechos de propiedad intelectual sobre la  vida; los actuales paquetes tecnológicos (agroquímicos, modificación genética) y aquellos otros  que ofrecen falsas soluciones (agrocombustibles, nanotecnología o agricultura climática “inteligente”) solo exacerban la crisis actual”.

“REDD+ amenaza la  supervivencia de los pueblos indígenas y de las comunidades que dependen de los bosques. Numerosas y crecientes  evidencias muestran que los pueblos indígenas están siendo sujetos a violaciones a sus derechos como resultado de la aplicación de políticas  y programas tipo  REDD” declaró la Alianza  Global de Pueblos  Indígenas y Comunidades Locales contra REDD y por la Vida.

En su comunicado, lanzado durante la primera semana de la COP17, declaran que “REDD+ y el Mecanismo de Desarrollo Limpio (MDL) promueven la privatización y mercantilización  de los bosques, los árboles y el aire a través del comercio y compensación de carbono de los bosques, suelos, agricultura, y podría incluir hasta los océanos…Denunciamos que los mercados de carbono son una hipocresía que no detendrán el calentamiento global”.


“El Banco Mundial es un villano en la fracasada economía  neoliberal”, señaló Teresa Almaguer de la Grassroots Global Justice Alliance de Estados Unidos.

“Necesitamos un fondo climático manejado con una gobernancia participativa, no por un institución antidemocrática que es en gran parte responsable de los trastornos climáticos y de la pobreza en el mundo”. El fondo Climático Mundial se ha convertido en el Fondo Codicioso Climático”, dijo Lidy Nacpil, de Jubileo Sur. “El Fondo ha  sido secuestrado por los países ricos, bajos su términos, y establecido para dar mas ganancias  al sector privado”.


Las políticas climáticas están dando un giro hacia la llamada “economía verde”; peligrosamente reducen sus compromisos éticos y responsabilidades históricas hacia una economía de calculo  de eficiencia, de costo-beneficio, comercio y oportunidades de inversión. La mitigación y adaptación no deben ser tratadas como un negocio, ni tienen que estar condicionadas  a la intervención del sector privado, ni menos orientados a una  lógica de lucro. La vida  no se vende ! 


“Los países industrializados del Norte están moralmente y legalmente obligados a reparar la deuda climática”, dijo Janet Redman, Co-directora de SEEN en el Institute for Policy Studies. “Los países desarrollados se hicieron ricos a expensas  del planeta y del  futuro de los pueblos, explotando carbón, o petróleo baratos. Ellos deben pagar por las pérdidas y daños resultantes, reduciendo drásticamente sus emisiones ahora, y apoyando financieramente a los países del Sur hacia un camino de energías limpias.

Los  países desarrollados, asumiendo su responsabilidad histórica, deben honrar su deuda climática en todas sus dimensiones como base de una solución científica, justa y efectiva, lo que no  debe ser solo compensación económica, sino justicia reparadora, entendida como una restitución integral a la Madre Tierra y a todos sus seres vivos. Llamamos a los países desarrollados a comprometerse a tomar acciones en este sentido.  Solo esto puede, quizás reconstruir la confianza que se ha roto y avanzar por una camino mejor.


“La única solución real al cambio  climático es dejar el petróleo,  el carbón y las arenas bituminosas en subsuelo“, Ivonne Yanez, Acción Ecológica, Ecuador


ICOP17 inqotshwe uBandlululo Lwesimo Sezulu

Ikhambi Kuzoba Isivumelwano Sabantu eCochabamba

 eThekwini, eNingizimu Afrika – Izinqumo ezingumphumela eziqhamuka kwingqungquthela yesimo sezulu iUN COP17 eThekwini iyicala kuluntu, njengokusho kweClimate Justice Now! Inhlanganyela yezinhlangano zenhlalakahle kanye nezemiphakathi. Lapha eNingizimu Afrika, lapho umhlaba wawugqugquzelwa umzabalazo wenkululeko ngabamnyama abaningi bakulelizwe, amazwe acebe kakhulu ngenkulu indelelo-le asedale ukubusa kabusha ngobandlululo lwesimo sezulu.

“Ukudembesela okufanele kwenzeke ngempela kuz kube ngu2020 kuyicala emhlabeni wonke,’ kusho uNnimmo Bassey, uSihlalo weFriends of the Earth International. “Ukunyuka kwamazinga okushisa emhlabeni ngo4 degrees Celsius, okuvunyelwe kulelicebo, kungukufa kweAfrika, Amazwe Ayiziqhingi Ezincane (Small Isaland States), abahlwempu kanye nabangakwazi ukuzikela umhlaba wonke. Lengqungquthela ilubeke lwacaca ubandlululo lwesimo sezulu, lapho abacebe kakhulu abangayiphesenti engu-1 emhlabeni benqume ukuthi kwamukelekile ukudayisa ngezimpilo zabangamaphesenti angu-99.”

NgokukaPablo Solon, owayengomunye owayehola izingxoxo ngaphambili ngezwe lakubo iBolivia, “Kungamampunge ukuthi ukuzibophezela kwesikhathi kwesibili kwiKyoto Protocol kwenziwe eThekwini. Isinqumo sangempela siyekelelwe iCOP elandelayo, kube kungekho ukuzibophezela okuqhamuka  ukwehlisa ukukhiqiza izisisi ezingcolisa umoya. Lokhu kusho ukuthi Ikyoto Protocol izobe isengcupheni kuze kufikwe esivunyalweni esisha naso futhi esiyobe sibuthakathaka kakhulu..”

Abangcolisi bomoya bomhlaba bavimbe izisombululo zangempela futhi sebebuye baphinda ukukhetha ukusiza abatshali bezimali kanye namabhange ngokwandisa izimakethe zecarbon nazo eziwayo – njengoba kufana nazozonke izimo zezimali kulezizinsuku, kubonakala sengathi kuhlomula abambalwa abakhethiweyo

Abanye abakubona sengathi ukungabi namnyakazo empeleni izinkomba zokwahluleka kwendlela yomnotho wamanje ukubhekana nezingqinamba zomnotho, zezenhlalakahle kanye nezemvelo,” kusho uJanet Redman, weInstitute for Policy Studies ezinze eWashington. “Amabhange adale izinkinga zezimali manje asenza inzuzo enkulu ngokuqagela ukuthi kuzokwenzekalani ngekusasa lomhlaba. Abazezimali, bacindezeleke ekhoneni, bafuna indlela yokuphuma ngokuthuthukusisa okusha okudayiswayo ukulungisa lesisimo esingaphumeleli.”

Ngaphandle kwezinkulumo “zenkomba ndlela” elethwa iEU, ukungaphumeleli eThekwini kukhombisa ukuthi sisendleleni engayi ndawo. Okhulumela iClimate Justice Now! uthi umphakathi womhlaba awukhumbule ukuthi uhlelo lwangempela lwesimo sezulu oluzimelele kwizidingo zomhlaba ezikhonjiswe ngososayensi kanye nangokuthunyelwa izinqumo zezinhlangano zemiphakathi ezinedumela, kwaqhamuka Kwingqungquthela Yabantu Bomhlaba Ngokuguquka Kwezulu kanye noMother Earth eBolivia ngo2010. Isivumelwano Sabantu eCochabamba, esalethwe ngaphambi kweUN kodwa sacishwa emibhalweni yezingxoxo, siletha indlela onobulungiswa futhi esebenzayo enenqubekela phambili edingeka ngokushesha.


OccupyCop17 supports International Day of Action for Human Rights.

#OccupyCop17 letter of support for Madrid’s callout:
International Day of Action for Human Rights

A Statement on Intergenerational Rights

Let us not forget that the victories that will define 2011 in the pages of history began in Africa. That story of 2011 should end here. 2011 took us from Tunisia to Durban, South Africa – where Mandela cast his first vote and Gandhi held his first public meeting. Draw a line on the map from Tunis to Durban and think of all the languages you have crossed, all the diversity, all the wisdom, all the gods. There is a continent bridging those two cities – dreaming.
We are all in that dream.

2011 started with the demand for freedom, and ends with the demand for justice.

As our planet rampantly burns its insides and warms, history will view these years as a window closing. We have a chance to escape the catastrophe we are creating for our children. But there is no freedom without justice, and no justice without rights.

For our rights thrive, we must be guardians of their principles. Freedom is bigger than us – it is the architecture our dreams inhabit. It does not belong to us anymore than a house built of stone belongs to its inhabitant. Rights belong to the generations that will come after us. Justice grows like a garden, we water it with our wills. As each day passes, a window is closing and with it the justice that we will pass on to the future inhabitants of this world. Justice loses its meaning if it is stolen from the future.

Here in Africa, the well of hope is drying. People are being forced away from the land of their ancestors and have been sent wandering with nothing, into a darkening world.

Our planet is changing, and with it the story of human rights. Here in Africa, the river beds are already drying and the seedlings that we watered for the future, are wilting. We do not rob water from the cups of others, we divert the streams. Climate change is the tyranny of the present over the rights of the future. In Africa, the future is already here.

Human rights are universal, they exist not only to everyone who is alive – but to everyone who will ever live. No one is free until everyone is free.




An Open Letter to the Delegates at COP17

(to be read on human microphone)


Can you hear me? /

Are you listening? /

These words / are not my own. / They are the voice / of the voiceless. / I speak to you, / not as a nation –/ but as the unheard majority of this planet – / the youth who are inheriting a system / we will not accept. / And I speak to you, / with the authority of every child / yet to be born. / The future belongs to them / not you.

We speak to you now / not as delegates of nations / but as people / as fellow humans – / so that your own hearts may speak truth. / For if you let a single word escape your lips / that does harm to your own conscience/ and to the rights / of all future generations –/ then you have no authority,/ for you know no justice./ And may the weight of the floods, / of the droughts,/ of the storms / and of the deaths –/ be upon your shoulders, / and upon your conscience/ from this day forth / For you held back the tides of change.

For 16 years / you have not heard us -/ so we are no longer asking. / The future of the 99% / will not be written by your documents,/ but by our actions. / You cannot stop an idea whose time has come / you cannot stop an idea whose time has come. / So speak your heart / for there is no choice now / but change.


Occupy KwaMashu & vigil for Climate Justice

A few of us from #OccupyCop17 were contacted last week by a community in KwaMashu, a nearby township to Durban, and were invited to go hear their story. The General Assembly agreed to send members of the assembly to go meet with them. The community had been evicted from their homes to build a road for the World Cup, and never received any compensation or help. They then built homes using materials they bought with their own money on vacant land. Two weeks ago they were evicted and told that they were “dirtying” Durban for the COP17. Their homes were then destroyed by police and the building materials stolen. They also took their food and clothing. The community, including about 12 children,  is now sleeping on neighbors floors after spending a week sleeping on the land where their houses had been – too afraid of the police to set up tents or build structure, so sleeping under plastic bags and sticks. During the police raid, a woman fleeing broke her leg in two places. During the abnormally strong rain-storm the day before the COP, one man from their community got sick, went to the hospital, and died.

Tomorrow this community from KwaMashu are coming to the #occupycop17 / Speakers Corner Space (4 min walk from ICC, corner of Walnut and Braam Fischer) for the 7pm General Assembly. The children from the community had previously created a play about the eviction, and will perform it tomorrow. We want to help share their story, to remind the world of the role justice plays in the climate debate. Pablo Solon and others will also be participating in the General Assembly, which will be followed by an all-night vigil for Climate Justice at the same location.

An Open Letter to Delegates at COP17

(to be read on human microphone)

Can you hear me? /
Are you listening? /
These words / are not my own. / They are the voice / of the voiceless. / I speak to you, / not as a nation –/ but as the unheard majority of this planet – / the youth who are inheriting a system / we will not accept. / And I speak to you, / with the authority of every child / yet to be born. / The future belongs to them / not you.

We speak to you now / not as delegates of nations / but as people / as fellow humans – / so that your own hearts may speak truth. / For if you let a single word escape your lips / that does harm to your own conscience/ and to the rights / of all future generations –/ then you have no authority,/ for you know no justice./ And may the weight of the floods, / of the droughts,/ of the storms / and of the deaths –/ be upon your shoulders, / and upon your conscience/ from this day forth / For you held back the tides of change.

For 16 years / you have not heard us -/ so we are no longer asking. / The future of the 99% will not be written by your documents,/ but by our actions. / You cannot stop an idea who’s time has come / you cannot stop an idea who’s time has come. / So speak your heart / for there is no choice now / but change. / Welcome to 2012.

Day of local action

Today at Speakers Corner we will be joining with and supporting local actions.

12:00 we will join with the Right2Know Campaign (R2K) who are fighting against the South African Protection of Information Bill, also know as the Secrecy Bill.

The Bill will threaten hard-won constitutional rights including access to information and freedom of expression.

 R2K believes a responsive and accountable democracy able to meet the basic needs of our people is built on transparency and the free flow of information. The R2K campaign statement – “Let the truth be told. Stop the Secrecy Bill!” – demands that the Bill be drastically rewritten to bring it in line with constitutional values, or thrown out.

R2K have been campaigning around COP17 and have an impressive set of demands:

  • Make the UN COP17 negotiations transparent: stop closed ‘green room’ negotiations that exclude the media and civil society.
  • Release the full text of the contracts Eskom has signed with major smelters such as BHP Billiton, Mozal & Anglo (Skorpion). These three smelters use almost as much electricity as 4 million households! Eskom are selling these smelters cheap electricity, and ordinary South Africans are subsidising the cost!
  • Release the full text of the loan agreement signed between the SA Government and the World Bank to fund the building of two of world’s largest coal-fired power stations in the world – including the full cost of the loan (including interest calculations).
  • Publish details of donations to all political parties from mining and energy companies, which profit massively from South Africa’s carbon intensive energy plans.
  • Publish the energy consumption projections given to government by SA’s Energy Intensive Users Group (a handful of large corporations that use over 40 percent of SA’s energy). These secret projections were used to develop the IRP 2010 Demand Forecast Revision – the basis of South Africa’s carbon heavy energy plan
  • Publish the research that government used to include a forecast of 4.5 percent annual GDP growth rate in the IRP (Integrated Resource Plan). This projected economic growth would require SA to generate 10 Terawatt Hours of energy a year to meet South Africa’s needs. In the period of economic growth from 1994 to 2005 real demand did not exceed 5 Terawatt Hours a year. What information is the government using to plan on a 100 percent growth in energy use in 20 years
  • The petro-chemical industry is withholding information from communities and even from government with regard to “risk assessment” (i.e. the health and safety of the surrounding communities). All “risk assessments” must be made public! In particular Shell, BP, and Engen refineries must release health and environmental information denied to the communities of Durban
  • Release Eskom’s evacuation plan for the Koeberg nuclear plant in Cape Town.

13:00 we will have a general assembly and continue to work on plans for an all-night vigil at speakers corner on Friday night. All are welcome, we are united, one struggle, one fight!

14:00 A bus will be going to KwaMashu to learn about and support the struggle of those fighting against eviction from their dwellings and where the latest evictions were to clear people away ahead of COP17.

Abahlali baseMjondolo (Shack Dwellers) Movement have been fighting against these evictions and have recently started Occupy KwaMashu, Hilary and Pinetown.

Occupy Hillary

Four weeks ago 77 people were evicted from the Valley View flats in Hillary. These flats are owned by SOHCO which is a social housing company. Social housing was set up to cover those who don’t qualify for RDP houses but are too poor to qualify for bonds. It is called a ‘public private partnership’. But the private side of this arrangement has taken over the public side. Tenants are being exploited by paying rentals that will, over their lives, be worth much more than the value of the flats and those that are falling behind are being evicted. They remain unable to get RDP houses and unable to get housing through the market and are therefore being excluded from access to housing. Social housing is therefore failing and it will continue to fail until the alliance between the government and private investors looking to make private profit is abandoned and replaced with an alliance between the government and co-operatives of people needing housing.

Last night 50 of the evicted people returned to the flats to occupy them. The police succeeded in forcing them out again. Tonight they have returned to reoccupy the flats. If they are evicted again they will return tomorrow night.

Contact Details for the Hillary Occupation:

S’fiso: 079 818 1987
Nomfundo: 082 541 0855

Occupy KwaMashu

The KwaMashu comrades were first evicted from eBhandeni, which was in Siyanda in KwaMashu in 2009. They were evicted by Nandi Mandela as a road was being built. It was said that the road was important for the 2010 World Cup and that the poor people would have to make way. They were never given alternative accommodation as demanded by the law and were just left homeless.

They have tried several times to engage with the councilor, Mr Lucky Mdlalose who has neglected them. After a long time of failing to get any help from the councilor they decided to occupy the vacant land which is next to the school called Thobile Primary School. On Wednesday last week the shacks that they had built on the land were demolished by people from the Municipality. The cars that there were driving had these number plates: NDM 6902, NDM 6903 and NDM 6999. The comrades were brave and they rebuilt their shacks the next day.

On Friday the municipality came with cars that had these number plates: NDM 6963 and NDM 6903. They demolished the shacks again and this time they also stole the people’s building material. The community went to the police station to open a case of theft. The police refused to open a case but one police officer did call the councilor who responded by saying that as there is COP 17 coming the councilors have been given a mandate to make sure that no one is dirtying the community and that they must take care of the animals and nature. Later there was a debate on Vibe FM between the councilor and Bandile Mdlalose, the AbM Secretary General. During that debate the councilor said that he would make arrangements for alternative accommodation but he has not contacted them. Around thirty people have now decided that on Monday morning they are going to occupy the KwaMashu community hall with their children as there were all made homeless by Nandi Mandela and then again by the Municipality and the Councilor is doing nothing to protect them. The occupation will start at around 7 a.m. Tomorrow.

Contact details for the KwaMashu Occupation:

Jabulile : 074 542 5939
Mama Mdlalose 073 501 4200

Occupy Pinetown

The eMmaus land occupation, in Pinetown, was founded in September 2010. These people had previously been evicted by the Mahogany Ridge 2 Property Owners’ Association and before that by the Roman Catholic Church after it sold its land to industry. They had been left homeless after these evictions and needed a place to stay. Since then they have suffered more demolition and theft of their building material. The Mahogany Ridge 2 Property Owners’ Association has also put an electric fence around the occupation which is very dangerous for children. The land owners are currently trying to get the people evicted through the courts. AbM is fighting the case in the courts and on the 19th of October 2011 the movement organised a mass march on the landlords in defense of the land occupation.

Contact details for the Pinetown Occupation:

Khanyi Dlamuka, eMmaus AbM Coordinator: 071 218 3007

It is clear that to many people in government, and to many rich people, the poor remain dirt, something to swept out of the cities. If housing is to be given to us it is housing that is unfit for human beings and that will hide us away in rural human dumping grounds. In Durban our attempts to organise and struggle for land and housing have been met with serious and violent repression from the state and the ruling party. Neither the economic system nor the political system are working for the poor and therefore we will continue to struggle for justice. We invite all the comrades who are in Durban for the COP 17 meeting to come and show their solidarity for the occupations in Hillary, KwaMashu and eMmaus and for our struggle for the right to organise for land and housing and to be able to engage the state meaningfully.

For further comment contact Abahlali baseMjondolo at: 031 304 6420.