Photos: Francois Lombard

#JozitoStellenbosch makes their message clear

BY ERIN WALLS

A group, which describes themselves as a political organisation called “#JozitoStellenbosch”, organised an illegal protest on Wednesday. The group had planned to walk from Kayamandi to Stellenbosch’s CBD. However, the SAPS prevented them from entering.

SAPS and protesters clashed for hours as a water hose, rubber bullets and stun grenades were used to curb the unrest, as reported by Aron Hyman, Sunday Times journalist, on Twitter.

The Stellenbosch Municipality released a public statement prior to the protest, stating “the threats of violence, destruction and intimidation in the run-up to the protest action is a cause for great concern”.

The Municipality filed for an interdict, which was granted by the Western Cape High Court, that stopped the protestors from “executing or participating in any gathering, march, protest or demonstration” due to the lockdown regulations, under the Disaster Management Act.

The #JozitoStellenbosch group consists of 12 young people  who embarked from Johannesburg on the 16th of June 2020, in honour of Youth Day. The march was organised through an effort by The South African Destitute Ex-Mine Workers Forum (SADEMF) and Mangaliso Sambo, the SADEMF’s General Secretary.

According to #JozitoStellenbosch, their aim was to walk 1300 km to Stellenbosch with the intention of ending white privilege and power, as well as calling for land to be returned to Africans. The official Facebook page of #JoziToStellenbosch claimed that “Stellenbosch is the most unequal society in the world.”

“In our life-time, we have blatantly witnessed the brutality, killer instincts and greed ridden white minority rule in our country led by a few families. Mainly, the Ruperts, Oppenheimers, Ackermans, Bekkers, Wiese’s, Le Roux’s, Bassons and Joostes,” the group’s statement on Facebook read.

The group added that the walk is “highlighting hardships faced by mining communities” and they “call upon all communities to continue the rapid land occupations across the country, not only for housing but for farming, better schools, access to water [and] electricity, recreation, mining and self-sustainability through Black Power”.

The Pan African Congress of Azania (PAC) released a statement on 11 August, publicly stating their support for the movement, stating “[the] (PAC) has pledged solidarity and support to #JozitoStellenbosch campaign and March for complete disruption of white privilege and comfort as espoused by the deeply unequal Stellenbosch situation”.

The municipality confirmed on Wednesday afternoon, that “5 protesters were arrested by SAPS and will appear in court.” The protestors were released on bail, and will need to return to court on the 23 September.

Members of #JozitoStellenbosch updated their Facebook page with a post stating “Comrades have been released. The battle continues and the war is on!”

Videos uploaded by #JozitoStellenbosch following the release of their fellow members, show a heavy police presence surrounding the area. The group marched back to Kayamandi, followed closely by police vehicles who escorted them out, as seen in a video posted on #JozitoStellenboch’s Facebook page.

The group stated that their work was far from over, calling for the mobilisation of people to join them on the ground, to amplify the movement “on and offline” and for donations in the form of blankets, toiletries, data or money.

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