[DEBATE] : Re: (Fwd) SA soc.mvts. in Zim
p.waterman at inter.nl.net
Sat Aug 5 11:05:29 BST 2006
I remember when I was identified with a party, full of self-righteousness
and equally full of disparagement of anyone on the left who was not
self-subordinated to my party and vision, or at least a hypothetical contact
or recruit. I was, indeed, quite ready to consider them as 'objective'
agents of imperialism despite their 'petty-bourgeois humanism'.
However, that was about 50 years ago and I was about 20.
Could you not allow for the possibility of error in your theory, in your
position, and for the possibility of truth in the theory or position of
recalcitrant or differently-inspired others?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dominic Tweedie" <hypercube at telkomsa.net>
To: <bondp at ukzn.ac.za>; <pbond at mail.ngo.za>; "debate: SA discussion list"
<debate at lists.kabissa.org>
Sent: Saturday, August 05, 2006 11:05 AM
Subject: [DEBATE] : Re: (Fwd) SA soc.mvts. in Zim
Why was this concern about Operation Murambatsvina left to lie fallow for a
Why is there no reflection of recent developments in Zimbabwe? Too
embarrassing? Too revealing? Or what?
This looks too much like a preparation for a new funding round to me. These
NGOs are expecting Soros and others to open cheque books if they can show a
portfolio (photos, report, contact book from Zim &c). The APF and the rest
are just there to add some extra stage business.
What do they want? Murambatsvina was stopped because of SA government
intervention, long ago.
Another NGO, or maybe it's the same one, wants to set up a big screen near
the UN office in Pretoria and show videos of Murambatsvina. What for? Do
they want "humanitarian intervention" or something? Do they know any history
Or are they just putting of a show for the benefit of the donors? To make
sure they've got funds to rule the roost for another year?
These NGOs can't do the job politically or organisationally. They have
become a blockage.
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From: debate-bounces at lists.kabissa.org
[mailto:debate-bounces at lists.kabissa.org]On Behalf Of Patrick Bond
Sent: 05 August 2006 05:18 AM
To: debate: SA discussion list
Subject: [DEBATE] : (Fwd) SA soc.mvts. in Zim
711 Khotso House
62 Marshall Street / Sauer Street
Tel: 011 838 3732 / Tel(fax): 011 838 9642
Email: info at crisiszimbabwe.org
REPORT ON SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL MOVEMENTS VISIT TO ZIMBABWE
A delegation of four ; Philani Zungu, Nopasika Mboto, Ellen Chauke and
Siphiwe Segodi from different social movements in South Africa visited
Zimbabwe between the 3rd and 12th of July 2006. They comprised of one
comrade from the Anti-Eviction Campaign which was formed as a response
against eviction and other related social injustices. Two comrades were
from the Anti-Privatisation Forum which brings a number of organisations
together in struggle, including communities threatened by
evictions/forced removals. One comrade was from Abahlali Base Mjondolo
fighting and defending the rights of the poor to demand basic needs. The
visit was organised by Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, South Africa office.
This report covers the general circumstances that the citizens of
Zimbabwe find themselves in, one year after Operation Murambatsvina.
Objectives of Visit
Ø To witness the effect of Operation Murambatsvina in general
Ø To exchange views, learn and share experience with the victims of
Ø To forge links for building solidarity and network.
The delegation was warmly welcomed by the Combined Harare Residents
Association (CHRA) on the 3rd of July 2006. CHRA facilitated all the
tours during the entire visit with assistance from Bulawayo Agenda and
Christian Alliance. The delegation was accommodated in various
households and hosting was rotated amongst the four delegates. Such
accommodation provided the delegation with an opportunity to meet and
discuss with various people in different communities to get different
accounts on the livelihood of Zimbabweans. The mornings and the
afternoons kept the delegation busy as they visited various sites of
Operation Murambatsvina and held interviews with the Zimbabwean citizens.
The areas visited in Harare included Tafara, Glenora, Hatfield,
Glenview, Dzivarasekwa, Tynwald, Sunningdale, Kuwadzana, Kambuzuma,
Mbare, Calidonia, Porta Farm, Hatcliffe, Tongogara, Highfield,
Borrowdale, Warrenpark, Greendale and Ushewokunze.
In Masvingo the group visited Great Zimbabwe and had a briefing meeting
with members of the municipality. In Gweru the group visited some home
industries including Kotamayi Botique. In Bulawayo the group met with
some pastors, Bulawayo Agenda Director and victims of Operation
Murambatsvina. The group also had a chance to visit former Killarney
squatter camp where shacks were demolished by the government in the name
of cleaning up the city.
The group was briefed on Murambatsvina as a government program which
began in May 2005 where the state demolished people's shelters and
removed vendors from the streets in the name of cleaning up the city and
the townships. The delegation gathered from the community that this
Operation was nick-named Tsunami as it left a trail of destruction.
Operation Murambatsvina - One Year After
The delegation clearly noticed the damage caused by this 'Clean - Up'
campaign. There was still evidence of the concrete rubble where once
stood housing for Zimbabweans. Open fields which previously were sites
for thriving home industries were a further testimony of this monstrous
operation. Such home industries used to be means of survival for
thousands of families and served as an alternative of the unemployed.
The current unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is standing at 80%. The
streets were wiped clean of all forms of vendors further eliminating a
source of livelihood to hundreds of families.
According to the statistics made available to the group, 99.9% of
Harare's high density residents were the most affected directly or
indirectly. People were left homeless, sleeping in the open. Some family
members were sleeping in abandoned scrap cars since backyard rooms which
were built to provide sufficient accommodation were demolished. Pieces
of furniture were seen still lying around as there is no shelter to
store it. Most backyard rooms which were being rented out were also
demolished with or without any rent paid.
The government insisted that there was no resistance during the
operation, but the delegation learnt otherwise. People are using
makeshift shelters made of plastics, cardboard and many have returned to
the same sites where the demolishing of their houses took place. The
delegation met with one individual who was arrested as a result of this
resistance. The delegation gathered that the police still visit the
sites of destruction and order everyone in a makeshift shelters to
vacate the "cleaned -up" sites. Most of the residents complain that the
government has never built houses for them but instead it continues to
destroy the little that people have built for themselves.
The delegation noted that most victims of Murambatsvina had no
alternative accommodation in the rural areas where they were told to go,
so most returned to the cities after being dumped in the rural areas
where most did not know anyone . Most argued that they could barely
survive in the rural areas. The government destroyed dwellings made of
brick and mortar claiming it was cleaning the country of any squatter camps.
The delegation heard evidence of an HIV/AIDS support group that was
severely affected since it was not getting any form of support from the
state and the building which the organisation used was demolished and as
a result, the project was brought to a halt. The support group now has
difficulties in tracking its members and they have to start all over
again for their projects and shelter to continue. An orphanage was
destroyed during the operation and the poor orphans had to seek shelter
at a church.
Students suffered as they had to dropout after their homes were
destroyed and the parents/guardians were sent to the rural areas. A
women's group focussing on women empowerment was severely affected as
the members were selling their goods in the informal market that was
destroyed during the operation. The women are currently facing
continuous harassment by the police ordering them to stop selling their
The delegation also visited the Ushewokunze settlement which had
previously been occupied by civil servants and war veterans. The
dwellings were completely destroyed although some reconstruction has
since started. This surprised the delegation since they had thought that
only those people who were perceived to be anti-government were
targeted, and yet civil servants work for the government and war
veterans are by and large part of the ZANU-PF machinery.
Masvingo and Gweru were less affected compared to Harare. The group did
not spend a lot of time in these areas. However, they met with 2
councillors from Masvingo City Council where the role of councils in
Murambatsvina was discussed. The councillors briefly told the group that
they were never consulted on the operation by central government or
In Gweru, the delegation managed to gain access to the Operation
Garikayi (the so-called 'rebuilding' programme of the government) houses
as compared to Harare where there was tight security in the new Garikayi
houses. The residents of both Harare and Gweru claimed only individuals
who lost their own homes had the possibility of getting houses under
Operation Garikayi. Tenants have been excluded. Most people claimed the
Garikayi Operation was an attempt by the government to cover up the
embarrassment of Operation Murambatsvina. Further claims were that
Operation Garikayi benefited those who were politically connected to the
government and those who could afford a certain amount. Individuals who
were meant to benefit from Garikayi have been long forgotten. The
current number of units build under Operation Garikayi constitutes about
5% of the dwellings destroyed in Operation Murambatsvina. Further claims
are that the Operation Garikayi has all but come to a halt due to lack
of funds for construction.
The situation in Bulawayo was similar to that in Harare. A coalition of
churches made positive intervention around the victims of Operation
Murambatsvina by providing food, clothing, burying the dead and paying
school fees to date. The church leaders were harassed by police for
helping the victims of Operation Murambatsvina. Data was collected of
people put in transit camps during the Operation by the churches and was
provided as part of the church's submissions to the UN envoy.
The delegation was debriefed by Bulawayo Agenda on how the organisation
facilitated a platform for residents to discuss Murambatsvina. They were
faced by police harassment as well, but are striving to bring the
Bulawayo residents associations together.
The Zimbabwean community face formidable challenges caused by political
divisions. Many still have to accept that Operation Murambatsvina
affected everyone despite their political affiliation. There is a need
to eliminate individualism and replace it with collective effort. Unity
amongst the communities could strengthen social movements in the
country. There is a growing need for communities to overcome their
accumulated fear of the government if a way forward, one year after
Murambatsvina, is to be found. Those outside Zimbabwe, in particular the
poor majority who themselves are suffering from evictions, lack of
adequate housing and other basic services, need to build solidarity with
ordinary Zimbabweans and embark on campaigns that will bring meaningful
and lasting political and socio-economic change to Zimbabwe. The poor
communities in South Africa can, and should, project the voice of the
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