Motsoaledi Community launches Residents Committee – 2005

Motsoaledi Community launches Residents Committee –  2005

NOTE: From the website of the (now defunct) Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF), here.  The Motsoaledi Concerned Residents (MCR) structure was linked to the Phambile Motsoaledi Community Project and the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (now Front) (or ZACF): according to this article, MCR was “a collective non-politically aligned community organisation, which is affiliated to the Anti-Privatisation Forum and the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation.” The ZACF was a direct successor of the Workers Solidarity Federation: on the ZACF, read here.

MOTSOALEDI COMMUNITY LAUNCHES RESIDENTS COMMITTEE DESPITE ANC EFFORTS TO SABOTAGE MEETING

On 15 January 2005, residents of Motsoaledi – a squatter camp on the Old Potch Road next to the infamous Baragwanath Hospital – gathered on a muddy soccer pitch to form an independent community structure to be called the Motsoaledi Concerned Residents (MCR). This meeting was called in response to the government’s repeated failure to deliver on many development promises over the past 12 years. The committee will bring the community together to fight for its basic rights in terms of housing and development, water, sanitation, waste management, electricity, education – problems shared by many other communities. The community is taking these matters into their own hands as they have come to realise that political parties only come to them when elections are near and after the community has voted, they walk away to fill their stomachs leaving the community alone with its struggles and complete lack of infrastructure.

The meeting of 15 January 2005 was a success despite the aggressive efforts of a group of ANC supporters to disrupt the meeting and sabotage the committee. The ANC group was eventually shut up and ignored and it was clear that those gathered were sick and tired of their disruptive behaviour and pro-ANC rhetoric. The group met with the local ANC councilor after the meeting – clearly he had not been brave enough to attend it himself. Residents then signed up for participation in a collective non-politically aligned community organisation, which is affiliated to the Anti-Privatisation Forum and the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation. The MCR held its first meeting on 22 January 2005. At this meeting members came and more residents signed their names in support of the MCR despite threats from members of the ruling party. On the day a banner was made for the MCR with the help of the previously elected media committee, which will be used in the activities of the MCR. It will also be used in the coming march to the regional councilor. The idea of a march emerged as one of the burning ones during the meeting. The MCR will first send the councillor a letter telling him of its demands and if he does not respond then the MCR will close the Old Poctchefstroom Road (one of the main roads through Soweto). The first meeting of the MCR was also featured in the January 20 issue of the newspaper, City Vision, and this has further antagonised the disruptive ANC members, because their faces appeared in the paper clearly showing them engaged in anti-democratic behaviour. The MCR will have another meeting to follow up on the march to the councillor on 13 February 2005.

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About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I am currently also involved in union education and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented papers at more than 120 conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 3 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and written well over 130 other articles, papers and entries. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. I have several books, including 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014) and 'Black Flame: the revolutionary class politics of anarchism and syndicalism' (co-written with Michael Schmidt, AK Press 2009).