ZACF Response to The Times of Swaziland: Zabalaza DOES NOT claim bombing of police van
(18 January , 2006)
(A letter to the editor of The Times of Swaziland, which carried an article in the January 15th edition falsely saying that the Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation claimed responsibility for bombing a police van).
In The Times of Swaziland, Sunday Edition of January 15, under the headline “Zabalaza’s claims of bombing police van” by Mduduzi Magagula it seems to us that he has misread the report when he says “Also shocking in the claims is that they stoned and petrol bombed a police vehicle in Manzini during a PUDEMO organised demonstration recently.”
The newspaper quotes our website as saying “Our organisation together with PUDEMO comrades took control of a certain territory around Manzini and it is then that an armored police “hippo” wandered into comrade controlled territory, was stoned and petrol bombed,”
What Zabalaza actually said can be read at http://www.anarkismo.net/newswire.php?story_id=1462 :
“Countering Saturday’s SWAYOCO demonstration in which the ZACF participated, the Royal Swazi Police fired warning shots and in the resulting chaos, arrested “MK” and seven SWAYOCO comrades. Last month, however, the shoe was on the other foot, when an armored police “hippo” that wandered into comrade-controlled territory found itself stoned and petrol-bombed.”
Nowhere did we claim, nor have we ever done so, to have stoned or petrol bombed a police vehicle, or any other symbol of oppression for that matter. In fact the ZACF has consistently been against terrorism in favour of mass popular mobilisation. Which can be seen in our public statements on the September 11 WTC attacks (found online here: http://www.zabalaza.net/recent/wtc_911_attacks.htm), the bombings in Madrid (found online here: http://www.zabalaza.net/news/news02.htm) and in London (found online here: http://www.zabalaza.net/news/news03.htm).
Please note also that we have never claimed, “to be even mightier than PUDEMO or SWAYOCO” nor have we claimed “to have members in most parts of the country”.
Therefore, in defense of our organisation, which we feel has been misrepresented; we declare the following:
1) The ZACF, which operates in both South Africa and swaziland, supports the pro-democracy movement in swaziland, but it does so realising that the Swazi political system can only be changed democratically by the bulk of the Swazi popular classes organising en masse to change it at grassroots level into a form acceptable to themselves. A few people running around with petrol-bombs is both insufficient to change the system and is an anti-democratic substitution of shadowy unaccountable individuals for democratic mass action.
2) Therefore, the ZACF as a whole has no policy of petrol-bombing state or capitalist targets, and its membership in swaziland have denied to our annual regional congress in December 2005 to having taken part in any such bombings. The report carried on our website of the attack on the hippo has been misread to suggest that ZACF members participated in the attack. The reference to “comrade-controlled” territory simply implies territory controlled, at least at the time, by comrades of the pro-democratic movement, not necessarily ZACF members.
3) The ZACF remains committed to the struggle for mass participatory democracy for all people resident in swaziland (and more broadly in southern Africa) but, as The Times of swaziland article correctly reported, “agitates to go beyond the usual bourgeois betrayal and involve a destruction of the Swazi capitalist state and its replacement by decentralised popular assemblies” of the working class, poor and peasantry.
In solidarity with the struggling Swazis,
Jonathan Payn, International Secretary, Zabalaza Anarchist Communist Federation (southern Africa)