10 Dec 2011
"Is this what democracy looks like in South Africa?" an activist is heard asking, as volunteers hired by the state (wearing green tracksuits) wrench posters out of their hands at a meeting between civil society and President Jacob Zuma in Durban yesterday.
In a shocking demonstration of the supression of freedom of expression in South Africa, activists were physically attacked at the meeting and some forcibly removed by the police for the perfectly legitimate act of holding up posters and banners asking Zuma to stand with Africa on climate change.
Find additional reporting on the incident from Eye Witness News and Reporting Development Network Africa.
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Yes, This Is ANC Democracy
I am ashamed that any South African would allow themselves to be used as uncivilised goons by attacking peaceful demonstrators and spit in someone's face.
They have done nothing to advance the cause to showcase South Africa as a global player amongst democratic nations. They've only added to the destruction of what we've been building since 1994. Bunch of morons. And Zuma was just sitting there looking bemused. We think that Malema is a danger, but Zuma is the most dangerous person in this country.
A Wake Up Call
This is disgusting and an ominous vision of the future.
But its not the first time that ANC goons have behaved like this in Durban. Durban, we should recall, is the same city where Abahlali baseMjondolo leaders and activists were attacked and driven out of their homes in 2009. And where Nigel Gumede, head of housing in the eThekwini Municipality, publicly threatened to kill former AbM President S'bu Zikode a couple of months ago. Before that the movement suffered years of violence, including torture, at the hands of the police.
Let's hope that events in the City Hall and on the COP 17 March will be a wake up call for all those civil society activists that just ignored what was happening to AbM or, in some cases, actively sided with the state against AbM.
The fact is that democracy was lost in Durban many years ago and that because, up till now, this hadn't affected civil society, it has not been taken seriously by civil society (with some people in backing the state because it was more convenient than facing up to the reality that democracy is an aspiration rather than a reality in Durban).