WE ARE STILL RECOVERING FROM 1913 – WHAT MORE THE BANTUSTAN BILLS

Dateline: JOHANNESBURG, June 19

The Alliance for Rural Democracy and its partners under the Stop The Bantustan Bills campaign are disillusioned by the silence from the Presidency. Just two weeks ago more than 1200 rural people took to the streets to demand that the President does not sign the unjust and undemocratic ‘Bantustan Bills’. Communities from 7 provinces journeyed overnight and held a night vigil in Pretoria in preparation for the mass action. In refusing to neither receive nor respond to the memorandum in a timely manner it is now evident that the preferential treatment afforded to traditional leaders will continue unabated – whilst the rural masses go unheard and unseen.

“Awakening on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African native found himself, not actually, a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.” Plaatje’s famed words ring true on the devastating and lasting effects of the passing of the Natives’ Land Act; and equally true for Bantustan Bills. If passed, the Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill and the Traditional Courts Bill will render us subjects of Bantustans if we do not take concomitant action.

Evidently the office of the President intends to frustrate us until we retire to our former homelands and accept our fate that we are second class citizens. But we will not tire from this campaign just as we did not tire at the Union Buildings after hours of waiting. President Ramaphosa we will not back down – we call on you to honour the memorandum signed by your office so that we too may bask in the sun under this #NewDawn. As you prepare for the State of the National Address, we call on you to consider these demands because that is the real state of our nation – we are being robbed of our lands and our identity by these unelected and undemocratic chiefs.

It was on this day in 1913 that the Natives’ Land Act was passed with dire consequences for black people in South Africa. And it is on this day that we remember all who have come before us who have fought for justice and the rights to land. We will continue to protest, to occupy and to resist until you hear our demands. This is a sustained campaign for rural democracy and we call on all South Africans to support our cause because we are citizens and not subjects!

For more information or direct media liaison: +28 64 090 3719 or +27 82 559 0632

Email: admin@stopthebantustanbills.org

Visit www.stopthebantustansbills.org.za

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MASS PROTEST ACTION BY OVER 1200 SOUTH AFRICANS TO #STOPTHEBANTUSTANBILLS!!!

PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA LEFT WITH 3 DAYS TO RESPOND TO MEMORANDUM

Dateline: JOHANNESBURG, June 11

It has been a week since women and men alike, in their multiple hundreds descended in Tshwane, Gauteng to take a stand against colonial and apartheid law-making, in service of rural democracy and autonomy. On 5 June 2019, over 1200 people marched to the Union Buildings, united behind a memorandum which called on the President to do right by rural citizens of South Africa and uphold a constitution which guarantees all of us equality and freedom. We called on the President to STOP THE BANTUSTAN BILLS!

The Alliance for Rural Democracy, on behalf of the Stop the Bantustans Bills campaign and allied organizations, wishes to thank the South African public, civil society and progressive media for their support, be it physical support and solidarity through their presence on the day or support in resourcing this movement and amplifying our struggle though their platforms. Our deepest gratitude must go out to our team of provincial coordinators and mobilizing team, who worked relentlessly with rural citizens across 7 provinces to mobilize, share relevant information and knowledge around the bills through workshops, and facilitate all logistical travels enabling everyone who wanted to take a stand on the 5th of June to be able to do so.

The movement has received positive feedback and we are looking forward to consolidating ourselves and intensifying our efforts, should the office of the Presidency not do good on their promises and most importantly, deliver us justice by putting an end to the horror that is looming as a result of these bills. Rural communities stood united in opposing the Bantustan laws in their participatory mass action to affirm rural democracy. As we count down 3 more days until the office of the President honours their commitment to ensure President Ramaphosa responds to our memorandum, we call on all South Africans to not retire and continue to stand with us.

For more information or direct media liaison: +28 64 090 3719 or +27 82 559 0632

Email: admin@stopthebantustanbills.org

Visit www.stopthebantustansbills.org.za

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REJECT THE BANTUSTAN BILLS!

MARCH TO DELIVER MEMORANDUM TO PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA TO STOP THE BANTUSTANS BILLS! – 5 JUNE 2019

Dateline: JOHANNESBURG, May 30

On 5 June, 2019, women and men alike, in their hundreds, will march to the Union Buildings to assert their rejection of policies which seek to revive apartheid and colonial Bantustan laws governing citizenship, land, and the property rights of rural communities, by turning its people into subjects wholly dependent on the benevolence of traditional authorities.

The Stop Bantustans Campaign, an initiative of the Alliance for Rural Democracy together with allied organizations and movements, has as for months, rallied and mobilized ordinary women and men, and whole communities alike to defend rural democracy and equality in South Africa. The movement made up of activists and movements from across the country, will convene once more from the evening of Tuesday, 4th June 2019, at Moretele Park in Mamelodi, for a camp out ahead of the main protest action. Our intense and tireless mobilizing efforts over the duration of the campaign will see us on Wednesday, 5 June, MARCH TO THE UNION BUILDINGS to deliver a consultative memorandum demanding President Cyril Ramaphosa to 1) completely overhaul the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB) and 2) not sign the Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill (TKLB) into law. We will not sit back and watch the reversal of over 362 years of struggle and sacrifice by the masses of the South African majority Black population, who fought long and hard to defeat colonialism and formal Apartheid which sought to relegate them into permanent subjectivity and deny them dignity, self-determination and full personhood. These two laws if signed into law, will signal a spit in the face of the legacy of resistance and communities which have continued, post 1994 to speak truth to power against the loss of sovereignty, loss of their lands, and food and environmental insecurity. From Marikana, to Xolobeni, and now the Stop the Bantustans Bills Campaign across S.A., communities are standing united in their struggle to retain control of their lands and assert their right to reject regressive and oppressive law-making!

The TKLB and TCB, will have the sum effect of allowing traditional leadership (not necessarily recognized by the People, and not always elected by the People themselves) to dictate how communal land is used, allocated and accessed in the interests of corporate greed and government collusion. Furthermore, these Bantustan Bills are a threat to democracy; free prior informed consent; and social justice for 18 million of South Africa’s population. They will also have the added consequence of harming rural women the most, owing to the sharp intersection of capitalist exploitation, corruption and patriarchy. The abuse of power by the elite few, coupled with the weaponization of history, customs and tradition to further subjugate a rural mass population, will not happen unopposed; communities continue to stand together and assert their right to collectivized organizing power and self-determination.

Rural communities stand united in opposing the Bantustan Bills and call on all South Africans to join them in participatory mass action to affirm rural democracy. We too, are citizens and refuse to be subjected to indiscriminate laws and a parallel justice system! We too, are citizens and refuse to be subjects of a Bantustan governance system! We are calling on all South African citizens, progressive media and civil society alike to support this march and stand in solidarity with an 18 million strong rural population whose rights stand to be severely compromised by self-serving and illegitimate laws and policy! Support this march! Support this cause!

The details for this critical and urgent mass public action are as follows:

Date: 5 June 2019

Time: 07:30 Assembly at Paul Kruger Square (Bantustan Square)

Venue: the march will start at Paul Kruger Square, Tshwane and end at the Union Buildings.

For more information or direct media liaison: +27 64 090 3719 or +27 82 559 0632

Email: admin@stopthebantustanbills.org

Visit www.stopthebantustansbills.org.za

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STOP THE BANTUSTAN BILL
STOP THE BANTUSTAN BILLS MARCH POSTPONED

Dateline: JOHANNESBURG, April, 25 — Due to unforeseen logistical and
procedural challenges, the planned ‘Stop The Bantustan Bills’ march to the
Union Buildings has been postponed, and the new date is as follows:

Date: 05 June 2019

Time and Venue: Assemble at die boere square ( Paul Kruger Square) from 05:30
and procession starts at 07:00 to arrive at Union Building at 10.30

In the buildup to the march, STTB Campaign and the Alliance for Rural
Democracy will be undertaking a series of events across the country, labelled 10
Days before and after elections. Please visit our social media pages where will
continue to update and engage our partners and the media accordingly.

The Alliance for Rural Democracy staff and Stop The Bantustan Bills campaigners
would like to thank the public who have shown commitment and support
towards the march

For more information or direct media liaison: +27 64 090 3719or +27 82 559 0632

Email: admin@stopthebantustanbills.org

Visit www.stopthebantustansbills.org.za

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STOP THE BANTUSTAN BILL STOP GWEDE MANTASHE VISIT TO XOLOBENI

Dateline: JOHANNESBURG, April, 24

The Alliance for Rural Democracy, cross section of civil society organisations and of rural communities fighting against unjust laws ( Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill, Traditional and Governance Framework Amendment Bill and the Traditional Courts Bill) and practices in the former homelands is gravely concerned about the uninvited visit of the national minister of mining Gwede Mantashe to Xolobeni. Rural communities from across South Africa are concerned about the disrespect for the rule of law evident in the minister’s contemptuous intent in visiting Xolobeni despite the ruling of the Constitutional Court in the Bakgatla ba Kgafela case in which Acting Judge Xola Petse, noted that it is a case that strikes at the heart of the land question, Petse began by quoting Franz Fanon’s The wretched of the Earth “For a colonised people the most essential value, because the most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bring them bread, and above all, dignity.” Petse added: “Thus, strip someone of their source of livelihood, and you strip them of their dignity too,” and the Xolobeni case versus the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in the High Court in Pretoria, in November 2019, in which the right of communities to SAY NO to mining, and for the global principle to free prior and informed consent was affirmed by Judge AC Basson.

Clearly Minister Mantashe has no respect for the law or for democracy, as he seeks to impose the will of foreign corporate mining interests on rural communities. His actions cannot be divorced from the Bantustan Bill (The Traditional and Khoisan Leadership Bill) in which his government seeks to enact under the pretext of empowering the Khoisan people, yet will trap the majority of South Africans back into tribal Apartheid Bantustans as cheap labour for the mining industry for which Minister Mantashe seems to have an unhealthy affection. Rural communities stand with the people of Xolobeni against this latest provocation from Minister Mantashe. “We will not vote for any political party that supports the Bantustan Bill” says the ARD national coordination committee. Rural communities will not support any party that supports 19 th Century style land grabs by foreign mining corporations. Rural communities, being farmers, are adept at identifying a wolf in sheepskin, a capitalist posing as a communist.

We call on the South African Communist Party to expel Mantashe who is identifying himself, through his actions as an enemy of the working class and or rural people. We call on the President of South Africa to dismiss Minister Mantashe as Minister of Mineral Resources, because of his disrespect for the rule of law, and his contempt for our struggle for land. We call on President Ramaphosa to tell the Minister of Mining to stay away from Xolobeni and to respect the rule of law.

Alliance for Rural Democracy and its partners stand united in support of the people of Xolobeni in their struggle to retain control of their land. Rural communities stand united in opposing the Bantustan Bill and call on all South Africans to join them in participatory mass action to affirm rural democracy. We are citizens and refuse to be subjects of a Bantustan system

For more information or direct media liaison: +27 64 090 3719or +27 82 559 0632

Email: admin@stopthebantustanbills.org

Visit www.stopthebantustansbills.org.za

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Media Statement 20-02-2019

Increase the volume of rural community voices to Stop the Bantustan Bills in the new Democracy.

It seem as if rural communities are speaking to a toy phone, no one is listening to their plight. The President’s statements during State of the Nation Address (SONA) and during the opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders (NHTL) confirms, the President is definitely not listening.

Yesterday, the National Assembly passed the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Amendment Bill (Framework Amendment Bill). This Bill has the practical purpose of giving an extended legal legitimacy to apartheid-era Tribal Authorities (as defined by the apartheid government through the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951, not those necessarily recognised by communities). These undemocratic structures have failed to comply with the transitional requirements as prescribed in the Traditional Leadership and Governance Framework Act of 2003 (TLGFA) and have undermined rural democracy in communities.

The Tribal Authorities affected by this Bill have had more than 14 years to transform into Traditional Councils, which requires that they become democratic with 60% of the total council nominated by the senior Traditional Leader, 40% elected representation from their communities, and 30% of members of the Traditional Councils to be made up of women, but have failed to do so. The net effect is that traditional communities living in rural South Africa have little say in how the land, natural resources and customary law is governed.

Why is this Bill so important to pass whilst there is the TKLB (Traditional and Khoi- San Leadership Bill) which will replace all other Traditional Leadership laws? In the public hearings held in the Khoi and San District of the Free State, the community asked the Free State Provincial legislature why Government is calling them to discuss the Framework Amendment Bill which is silent about the Khoi and San communities if it is serious about recognition of Khoi and San communities?

The reason is simple. The non compliance of Tribal Authorities to democratize themselves into Traditional Councils as prescribed by the TLGFA renders them illegal and so are the deals they have signed and decisions they have made. This Framework Amendment Bill is considered in conjunction with the TKLB and Traditional Courts Bill (TCB). It means that the Tribal Authorities, appointed by the apartheid government, will be able to sell out their local communities, sell mining rights to mining companies to exploit the land, while the local communities lose their land, homes, family graves, their environment is permanently damaged, without consultation and consent and they receive no benefit whatsoever. These communities are already facing expropriation of their land rights without any compensation.

This Bill paves the way for further exploitation of rural communities across South Africa. In particular, communities that have been fighting their exploitation such as the Xolobeni community in the Eastern Cape, the Makhasaneni community in KwaZulu Natal, Bakgatla ba Lesetlheng community and Bapong ba Mogale in Northwest, and Mapela Community in Limpopo.

Later this week it is likely we will see Parliament attempt to pass the TKLB. The controversial Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill which will allow for reopening of land claims is also on Parliament’s schedule. It is crucial that we must make our voice heard now, so that Parliament and the President cease their efforts to pass these unconstitutional laws. Join the fight to stop the re-bantustanization and re-dispossession of rural land and further marginalization of the already marginalized people in our country.

The Stop Bantustan Bill campaign website www.stopthebantustanbills.org was launched in November and has already thousands of signatures. This is living proof that many people who will be directly affected by these new laws are demanding that their voice be heard – they have a right to say NO!

 

Media Statement 07-02-2019

The Stop the Bantustan Bills Campaign will be watching today’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) closely, expecting clarity on what legislative agenda will be outlined for the next three months.

Yesterday marked the opening of Parliament for one of our shorter legislative periods leading up to national elections in May this year. This means that Parliament will be working hard to finalize pending legislation before it lapses in terms of the rules of Parliament.

The Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB) is close to finalization, with only two  procedural steps remaining before it goes to the President for final signing into law.

The surprise sitting on 10 January, where the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) passed the TKLB, indicates clearly that Parliament’s intention is to finalize this Bill before elections.

This is concerning because the TKLB poses a number of threats to land rights and democracy, particularly for people living in rural areas of the former homelands. This bill, for all practical purposes, will impose a separate governance system on the 17 million South Africans living in the former Bantustans. This bill would also allow for land occupied by ordinary families to be used by multinational corporations, including mining companies, without proper community consultation or consent. Khoi and San communities deserve recognition, but this bill will undermine their rights too.

The Stop the Bantustan Bills Campaign demands that the President and the National Assembly put a stop to this Bill and protect the land rights of rural citizens who remain the most marginalized in our democracy.  The TKLB is undemocratic and unconstitutional!  

 

Media Statement 30-01-2019

Stop The Bantustan Bills calls for action to stop the National Assembly from passing the unconstitutional Traditional and Khoi-San Leadership Bill (TKLB) and the Traditional Courts Bill (TCB). 

In January the NCOP convened in an “special sitting” outside of the normal Parliamentary sessions to  pass three bills, one of which is the TKLB. This bill will impose separate and unconstitutional laws on the 17 million South Africans living in the former Bantustans. 

In its current form the TKLB will:

  • Effectively strip those in former homeland areas of basic citizenship and property rights by giving anti-democratic powers to traditional leaders in these areas.
  • Reinforces the tribal boundaries created by the Bantu Authorities Act of 1951
  • Reinforces domination of men over women

The bill  overrides the Interim Protection of Informal Land Rights Act (IPLRA) and important legal victories for mining affected rural communities, won in October (Maledu case) and November (Baleni case) of 2018, which ordered that IPILRA be complied with in consultation of affected people regarding their land rights.

A small part of this bill correctly provides Khoi San communities with state recognition,  but hidden in the rest of the bill, especially in  the newly amended Section 24  are provisions which will undermine the basic rights of South Africans including those of the Khoi and San communities. South African citizens living in the affected areas will not have the same rights as other South Africans regarding land rights, water rights, access to justice and a  say over their environment.

This is why Kgalema Motlanthe’s High Level Panel, established by Parliament itself, previously recommended that the bill be withdrawn because it will exacerbate structural inequality, encourage and protect corrupt mining deals.

Other groups, including the ANC Stalwarts and Veterans recently condemned it as undermining basic citizenship and property rights.

This shock special sitting followed a failed attempt to ram the bill through in the last week of Parliament’s 2018 term. The passage of this bill so far makes it appear that the ruling party is prepared to risk alienating rural voters and a humiliating legal defeat in the interests of mining moguls and some connected traditional leader elites.

We were deeply disturbed by the NCOP passing this undemocratic and unconstitutional Bill in January. More social and economic inequality is bad for all of us.

The next step in the process is for TKLB to go to the NA for a vote, which is expected soon.

We call on all South Africans to  ask questions, make your  voices heard and stand together to stop the Bantustan bill.

Join the campaign to ensure that this bill, along with the Traditional Courts Bill do not become law.