Army unwelcome to some

Mario Wanza, Samekoms administrator, Manenberg

Samekoms says “no” to the government’s decision to send the army into our communities.

Activists from the communities of Bontas, Tjatjies and Heideveld met on Friday July 12 to reflect on the government’s decision to send the army into our communities.

The meeting spoke about the government using kragdadigheid and instilling fear into our community by sending in the army.

Decisions are being taken for the community without the community’s participation in the decision. We say, “Nothing about us without us!”

The government is increasing policing as a solution while failing to address the socio-economic conditions under which our people live daily.

The government has in the past had the ability to detain, harass, and victimise activists who stood up for people’s rights but is surprisingly unable to bring to book those responsible for the violence in our communities.

We believe that there are alternative ways to address the violence. We are already undertaking these in our communities.

Women have started a process of engaging with the gangs to start addressing alternatives to the violence. We are rolling out the Balls not Guns and Bread not Bullets initiatives in our communities which focus on alternatives to violence.

We are building partnerships between the government and communities, bringing together and uniting community organisations and people striving towards building safe communities, and addressing the root causes of crime, namely the socio-economic conditions under which we live.

We are also addressing the inequalities between the rich and the poor, as it is the indigenous poor who are killing each other while the foreign rich live in luxury. And we are exploring land restoration, as we remain displaced and need to return to the land. This includes reparations of R1million for each person.

Samekoms is a movement of activists from different communities which addresses social issues through campaigns and various projects.