Last year our movement lost three leaders to assassination and another comrade to a police murder. On 21 January our comrade Thulani Maseko was assassinated in Swaziland. Political assassinations have often been used to repress dissent in Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Across Southern Africa activists are at risk of assassination when they confront powerful forces. Many political activists, as well as LGBTI+ plus comrades, have had to flee their countries.
In South Africa, anti-mining activists have been hit hard, with many assassinations receiving little or no public attention. Fikile Ntshangase was assassinated in Ophondweni on 22 October 2020. Sikhosiphi ‘Bazooka’ Radebe from the Amadiba Crisis Committee was assassinated in Mbizana on 22 March 2016. There have been many others.
Now the Amadiba Crisis Committee have sent out a red alert warning that there have been threats against two of its leaders, Nonhle Mbuthuma and Thwesha Silangwe. As usual local ANC politicians are behind the threats.
The Amadiba Crisis Committee have been fighting a mining company from Australia, as well as an attempt to build a major road through their land. They have been fighting against this mining company for more than 20 years, yet our government continues to be on the side of the mining company.
Threats of assassination always have to be taken very seriously. Comrades are almost always aware that their lives are at risk before the moment of death arrives.
On 22 November 2022 Vukile Mhlelembana, the mayor of the Alfred Nzo District Municipality gave a public speech, which was recorded. He said:
“Ukuba kuyanyanzeleka ukuba masingevani, nokungevani kwethu kude kwenzeke ntoni komnye, masimxhase uNkosi kwenzeke eyenzakalayo. Kungathiwa ngexesha lakhe uNkosi, ngexesha lethu siphethe sikhokele singabalapha, kukhona izinto ezingazange zenzeke kungenjalo sakuphendula. Xa kunje Premier, zikhona izinto eziye zifune ukumelwa. Ukuba kunyanzelekile ukuba makufumntu ngokumela into eyiyo makafofayo.” [“Eih! Kunya nyiwa!”]. Kuba unobangela wokuba uNkosi basimsapoti asithi abantu abanazinto bazithethayo, bazikhalazelayo, kodwa mazenzeke ngendlela. Into endegayithetha Primer inye. Abantu abanizi abaxhabana apha ayisithi. Sixatyaniswa ngabantu eyingebabo nabokuzalwa, eyingibabo nabanyama balapha. Whether ngumlungu ohamba nobani, nohamba nobani. Kodwa yona into esixabanisayo kule lali. Zenje sibe nezazela zentwenye. Kuba mhla semka sabikho, saseweleka sonke thina bantu balapha. Sithi saba ngamagwala. Kwakuthi ngexesha lethu kwenzeka ezi zinto. Abandelayo babulawa sithi akwenzeka nto intle.”
The politicians do not even try to hide who they are, including their refusal to accept that people have a right to organise autonomously.
We are in full solidarity with Nonhle Mbuthuma and Thwesha Silangwe, with the Amadiba Crisis Committee and with all comrades facing assassination everywhere. We call for all progressive individuals, organisations and movements to work together to protect all comrades under threat and put an end to the politics of blood.
If Nonhle or Thwesha are harmed in any way we will all know who is responsible.
Thapelo Mohapi 084 576 5117
Bathabile Makhoba 081 360 2461
Mqapheli Bonono 073 067 3234