South Africa: Update on the Campaign to Free the Boikeltong 4!
Below we publish an update on the Campaign Free the Boikeltong 4! which we received from the Workers International Vanguard Party (WIVP) in South Africa. The RCIT, irrespective of its political differences with the comrades from the WIVP, is in full solidarity with their campaign for the release of the four political prisoners. We also urge our readers to send donations to the fund to help pay for the costs of the appeal process (see below).
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Free the Boiketlong 4!
On the 21st April 2015 The court in Sebokeng sentenced 4 community activists from Boiketlong, to a total of 16 years in prison. The activists are: Dinah Makheta, Sipho Mangane, Dan Molefe and Pulane Mahlangu (in absentia). We call for the immediate and unconditional release and dropping of charges against all 4. Key witnesses could not even identify the 4 but this was immaterial to the judge, ‘you opposed the ANC and therefore you are guilty’, is the message from the courts. They were found not guilty of ‘public violence’ but guilty of ‘assault, arson and malicious damage to property’. To put some perspective on the matter, infamous athlete Oscar Pistorius was found guilty of shooting his partner to death but received a 3 year sentence.
Further, the magistrate denied leave to appeal the case and denied bail. He only allowed leave to appeal the severity of the sentence. This means that just to apply for bail and to petition for full leave for appeal and if successful, the actual appeal itself, are all high court processes. This places a huge financial burden on the families and the Boiketlong community. Thus if you are rich, the wheels of the ‘justice’ system turn. If you are a worker, you are locked up and the key thrown away. Thus the state is exposed as an instrument of big capital, an instrument of violence, to control the working class.
This marks a new stage in the desperation of imperialism to control the masses- the same dropping of the democratic mask of the state and the criminalization of protest, is seen across Africa, from Cape to Cairo. Special fascist gangs such as the Chrysalis black shirts are springing up like mushrooms. The fascist attacks on immigrant poor are also similar signs of desperation by imperialism to use terror and force to attempt to break the resistance of the masses.
The community of Boiketlong have long suffered from broken promises of the ANC government. Since the elections in 2006, the ANC has come with empty promises to upgrade the area that by then had already long suffered a lack of sanitation, lack of water, lack of electricity and lack of housing. The 4 are part of the collective leadership, assigned by the community to lead their struggle for houses. This is their only ‘crime’. They are political prisoners of the capitalist state. They are not criminals.
The ANC government claims that there is a lack of resources and has even gone on the offensive by cutting pensions in real terms (recently giving a 4% ‘increase’ which is a cut of at least 2% in real terms), even wanting to give public sector workers an ‘increase’ of 4,8%. (they have now ‘settled’ on 5.25%, which is a disgrace, considering Cosatu and Nehawu leaders are selling this as a ‘victory’). The govt went back on its word and implemented a 4,8% increase, such is the total disregard that the ANC-SACP govt has for the working class.
The SACP are the main theoretical wing of the ANC govt who claim that we have much to be thankful for, that at least we have had so many ‘gains’ over the past 21 years, that at least we have ‘peace’.
In reality, the capitalists have had ‘peace’ to make unprecedented profits, that have accelerated to a greater level than was ever dreamed of in the days of apartheid, ie by continuing the war against the masses.
It is reported in the Journal of Southern African Studies that the mining giants have accelerated their theft through transfer pricing after 1994 to such an extent that in 2007 alone about R600bn was taken out by imperialism through illegal means. (This is about $50bn, which is more than what is required to end world hunger for a year). The amounts that imperialism has stolen over the years is in the order of trillions of dollars, and this is from SA alone. If the entire Africa is also considered, we are looking at several trillions of dollars stolen by imperialism.
Yet, across Africa, all the regimes, without exception, turn a blind eye to this and are instruments of keeping the masses in check while imperialist plunder continues.
SA and Africa has enough wealth to meet all our needs, with decent housing, free education, free, quality health care, decent jobs for all. Yet everywhere there is poverty and suffering and only the imperialists and their paid hirelings benefit. Indeed, SA has enough wealth to care for the whole of Southern Africa, but it is a giant prison for the masses of Southern Africa.
Boiketlong is a symbol of the capitalist injustice that there is. The imperialist who plunder and steal and cause the early death of millions, get off scot free. The masses and anyone who dares raise a question, are brutalised and suppressed.
There should have been houses and proper facilities in Boiketlong but instead it is a slum. It is being kept a slum by the ANC govt. That is why the 4 comrades were jailed because they dared to challenge the slum conditions.
The SA govt dares to blame the other African regimes for their ‘nationals’ coming to SA. The very same imperialism that plunders SA, also plunders the whole of Africa. All these regimes are responsible for the enforced poverty of the African masses. The SA govt has more blood on its hands. In the DRC imperialism funds the wars that have killed 6-10 million people. After the lands are cleared and imperialism opens up its mining operations for Cassiterite (raw material for cell phones, tablets playstations and laptops- 70% of the world’s reserves are there. It is SA soldiers that are provided as a free security force for the plunder. Each soldier is paid R50 000 a month for this work of protecting Anglo American from the starving masses in the DRC.
The spread of HIv-Aids in SA, according to credible research reports, was largely due to the collapse of the health system which led to the re-use of infected needles, among other unsanitary practices. Thanks to the ANC govt.
Yes, a lot of dwellings have been built but most of them are in the old group areas. In other words, the ANC govt perpetuated apartheid housing policies.
There is enough wealth for jobs for all, but due to the theft that the ANC (and DA) govts allow, there is mass unemployment and starvation everywhere.
This is not peace but a sustained civil war against the masses which the ANC has continued from the old NP apartheid regime.
We call for activists to work together to form a revolutionary working class party, in every part of Africa and the world. One of the problems of 1994 was the presence of the counter-revolutionary SACP that led the struggle into a dead-end. We need to draw the lesson. Freedom will not fall from the sky. The working class needs to be organised. We need to tear down the artificial barriers that separate us.
We call for a national and international programme of action against the criminalization of protest, for the freeing of the 4 Boiketlong activists.
The same fate awaits other activists if we leave the state unchallenged on this. We call for letters of protest to email@example.com ,firstname.lastname@example.org , email@example.com (please cc all letters to firstname.lastname@example.org ) and mobilisation of mass action on a wide scale, let us protest and use what channels are available to us. We appeal also to the honest activists in the ANC to also take up this struggle.
27 April 2015 Workers International Vanguard Party, 1st Floor, Community House, 41 Salt River rd, Salt River,7925
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Free the Boikeltong 4! SPECIAL APPEAL
The activists Dinah Makheta, Sipho Mangane, Dan Molefe and Pulane Mahlangu are political prisoners of the capitalist state. We demand their immediate release. We call for all working class organizations to take up this call to campaign for the over-turning of their sentences, for an end to the criminalisation of protest and for the arrest of the bosses of Anglo American, Lonmin and other mining giants that have stolen hundreds of billions over the years that could have been used for decent housing for all, jobs for all, free, quality health care for all, free, quality education for all and all the needs of the entire masses.
More than 63% of deaths of children are caused by hunger. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying from diseases of poverty. Millions are crowded into small dwellings and shacks. More than half the youth that start school drop out before matric because of poverty conditions. Our pensioners are starving; this year they received only a 4% ‘increase’, which is a cut in real terms. Meanwhile Anglo American and other mining giants not only take hundreds of billions of Rands of profits out of the country and the region, they also do not pay the taxes that they should. The government turns a blind eye to this theft while targeting activists who lead the struggles of the masses.
Cde Dinah has a 12 year-old boy and a 83 year old granny who is blind. Cde Sipho has 1 child; cde Dan has 3 children;
Cde Pulane cannot care for her family as she is regarded as a prisoner-on-the-run. Cde Sipho is currently in hospital due to sickness. Ma Madipuo, the granny of cde Dinah, passed away on the 16th June 2015. Most likely the stress of the trauma of her grandchild was a contributing factor. The magistrate denied cde Dinah the opportunity to attend the funeral.
The state has used the apartheid law of 1973, of so-called ‘common purpose’ ,
which means, even though none of the 4 were identified in any way with the burning of the councillor’s house and cars and in the case of cde Dinah, who was not even present at the time, merely
because they were leaders of the community, they were found guilty.
Free Dinah Makheta, Sipho Mangane, Dan Molefe, Pulane Mahlangu and other political prisoners! Workers should
mobilise committees, at all mines and other workplaces. Forward to workers’ control over the means of production!
Arrest the mining bosses and the corrupt police and political leaders responsible for the Marikana and other
massacres! The police are the executive arm of the big bosses. They are not there to protect the masses. They
protect thieving big bosses.
A legal fund has been set up to help pay for the costs of the appeal process. Please contribute to
Name of account: Eastes Inc Trust fund
Northcliff branch (Johannesburg)
Account number: 2840184350
Branch code: 334705
Please use the reference: M478
For international deposits:
SWIFT code: ABSA ZAJJ, Address of bank: 257 Beyers Naude Drive, Blackheath, Johannesburg.
Address of Eastes Inc is 140 Milner rd, Roosevelt Park, Johannesburg, 2195
Please also email or sms us how much you are depositing so that we can keep track of funds. Please send messages of solidarity also to:
Email: email@example.com ph/sms/whatsapp +27 822020617