Emergency Press Statement Sunday 30 May 2010
Early on the morning of Sunday 30th May the shacks of two members of the Landless People's Movement (LPM) Executive Committee in eTwatwa, Ekurhuleni, were burnt down. The previous day the police attacked the LPM, killing one person and seriously injuring another
After the police attacked the LPM yesterday, killing one person and seriously injuring another, David Mathontsi, chairperson of the new LPM branch in eTwatwa, went to the Far East Hospital to visit the wounded. While he was away from his home the supporters of the local ward councillor went to his shack looking for him and his wife. They pointed at his children with a gun. David did not return to his shack and managed to get his children out.
At 2:30 this morning David received a call to say that the councillor's supporters had returned to his shack with the police. David's younger brother was looking after the shack. He was shot at but managed to escape after which the shack was burnt down by the councillor's supporters as the police looked on. David and his family have lost everything that they own.
The group, still with police protection, then burnt down the shack of another member of the LPM Executive Committee in eTwatwa. After that they began to go door to door, still with the police, looking for all the Tsonga people and driving them out. What started as an attack on LPM turned into an attack on all the Tsonga people in the settlement. The attack on LPM turned into a kind of xenophobia. The LPM is not an ethnic organisation and its Executive Committee in eTwatwa is very mixed.
The secretary of the LPM in eTwatwa was arrested. She is an old woman. As the police arrested her they hit her with the butts of their guns and with their boots. They also seriously assaulted the LPM youth as they arrested them.
The leadership of the LPM in eTwatwa are all arrested, in hospital, dead or in hiding.
What is happening in eTwatwa has some clear similarities with the attack on Abahlali baseMjondolo in the Kennedy Road settlement in Durban in September last year.
For more information and comment on the ongoing events in eTwatwa please contact David Mathontsi, Chairperson of the eTwatwa Landless People's Movement on 079 314 9868.