An open let­ter from civil so­ci­ety


Last Thurs­day, a spe­cial meet­ing of civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions and pop­u­lar move­ments was con­vened by the Unemployed Peo­ple’s Move­ment and the Ru­ral Peo­ple’s Move­ment (RPM) in Gra­ham­stown to de­lib­er­ate on the xeno­pho­bic loot­ing, its im­pact and im­pli­ca­tions with a view to find last­ing and peace­ful res­o­lu­tion in defence of hu­man and fun­da­men­tal rights of the peo­ple. They drafted the fol­low­ing state­ment:

We, the un­der­signed, con­demn this un­law­ful ac­tiv­ity. We are aware that cer­tain sec­tors of our broader com­mu­nity have been mis­led by ru­mours [about re­cent mur­ders] and that some have sought to jus­tify their il­le­gal loot­ing on the ba­sis of such ru­mours and un­sub­stan­ti­ated al­le­ga­tions. Loot­ing can never be jus­ti­fied.

We call upon the fol­low­ing par­ties – some of which have clear le­gal re­spon­si­bil­i­ties – to act swiftly to pro­tect hu­man rights:

• The pub­lic to ex­er­cise calm and abide by the law. Loot­ing is il­le­gal and should re­sult in the ar­rest and pros­e­cu­tion of per­pe­tra­tors. No rea­sons or be­liefs can jus­tify loot­ing or in­jury to per­sons. For­eign na­tion­als have the right to trade and live peace­fully in South Africa pro­vided they abide by the laws of the land.

• The SA Po­lice Ser­vice to pro­tect the lives of peo­ple, ar­rest and en­sure that due process is fol­lowed against those im­pli­cated in crim­i­nal ac­tions. We im­por­tantly call upon the Po­lice to ur­gently pro­vide the pub­lic with a de­tailed up­date re­gard­ing the var­i­ous re­ported deaths that have oc­curred in the lead-up to the loot­ing.

• The Makana Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil to show lead­er­ship dur­ing this time of wide­spread rights vi­o­la­tion. Dras­tic ser­vice de­liv­ery im­prove­ment is re­quired to meet the de­vel­op­men­tal needs of all com­mu­ni­ties.

• Civil so­ci­ety, Trade Unions, Civic As­so­ci­a­tions, and faith-based lead­ers to play an in­flu­en­tial role in calm­ing com­mu­ni­ties and re­store unity and sol­i­dar­ity among and be­tween the peo­ple.

• We call upon the var­i­ous taxi as­so­ci­a­tions to abide by the law and re­spect the rights of other peo­ple en­gaged in build­ing our shared econ­omy.

• The In­de­pen­dent Po­lice In­ves­tiga­tive Direc­torate to as­sist in mat­ters where SA Po­lice mem­bers are al­leged to have failed to ful­fil their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

• Or­gan­ised busi­ness to speak out in sup­port of those for­eign-owned busi­nesses that have been se­verely af­fected by the loot­ing.

• The NPA to pros­e­cute those im­pli­cated in loot­ing and other forms of vi­o­lence and un­law­ful ac­tiv­ity.

• School lead­ers to ed­u­cate and in­form stu­dents of the con­se­quences of loot­ing and other un­law­ful ac­tiv­ity.

• Print and elec­tronic me­dia to play a role in ed­u­cat­ing the cit­i­zens to re­frain from loot­ing and to re­spect the fun­da­men­tal rights of peo­ple to trade freely and peace­fully to­wards build­ing the lo­cal econ­omy.

In con­clu­sion, we call upon the Mu­nic­i­pal­ity and the SA Po­lice in as­so­ci­a­tion with civil so­ci­ety, to ur­gently con­vene a pub­lic meet­ing of all role play­ers so that a peace­ful and long-last­ing res­o­lu­tion can be ar­rived at.

Is­sued by Makana Anti-Xeno­pho­bic Con­cerned group and en­dorsed by: • Unemployed Peo­ple’s Move­ment • Masi­funde Ed­u­ca­tion and De­vel­op­ment Project Trust • Ru­ral Peo­ples Move­ment • Young Women’s Fo­rum • Pub­lic Ser­vice Ac­count­abil­ity Mon­i­tor • South African Na­tional Mil­i­tary Vet­er­ans As­so­ci­a­tion • Aza­nian Peo­ples Or­gan­i­sa­tion • Youth De­vel­op­ment Move­ment • Women’s De­vel­op­ment Move­ment • Farm­ers De­vel­op­ment Move­ment • United Front • Inyanda Na­tional Land Move­ment

For en­quires con­tact – Ayanda Kota, Unemployed

Peo­ple’s Move­ment (078 625 6462) or Jay Kru­use, Pub­lic Ser­vice Ac­count­abil­ity

Mon­i­tor (082 880 5407)

No rea­sons or be­liefs can jus­tify loot­ing or in­jury to per­sons. For­eign na­tion­als have

the right to trade and live peace­fully in South Africa

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