Johannesburg, 22 October 2018
Press release: Civil Society Coordinating Collective (CSCC) which is an umbrella body that brings together approximately 50 organisations and individuals and The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) representing 24 members nationally together with, Sonke Gender Justice, International Labour Research and and Information Group (ILRIG) and Lawyers for Human Rights lodges a complaint with the Electoral Commission of South Africa against the African Basic Movement (ABM) for infringement of the Electoral Code of Conduct.
The complaint was lodged on Friday 19th October to the IEC. The IEC confirmed reciept of the complaint on Monday 22nd October stating that investigation into the registration of ABM is underway.
The substance of the complaint centres on the failure of the ABM to comply with the IEC’s Code of Conduct; in particular, in relation to “Engaging in prohibited conduct which involved using language which provokes violence”.
The complainants call for the de-registration of the ABM - by virtue of its explicitly xenophobic stance, actively promoting intolerance, acts which are anathema to the spirit and letter of the Constitution. The collective argues that the ABM is using social media to fuel violence and hatred, particularly among poor people of colour. This unnecessary hatred does not solve the economic crisis of chronic unemployment and poverty in our country.
Our history is one marked by a system that fuelled divisions and thrived on hatred – that of Apartheid. It was the “othering” which was legalised oppression and exploitation of black people, based on propaganda of racial superiority of white people. Our democracy today is weakened by promoting a culture of prejudice and hatred against fellow human beings. Foreign nationals are targeted and used as a scapegoat – which is the focus of the platform of the ABM - as stated publicly by its leader, Thembelani Ngubane.
We strongly argue that what is needed in South Africa is not political parties that scrape the bottom of the barrel in their opportunist scramble for votes. We need leaders who are committed to eradicating inequalities, and discrimination in all its forms. As people living in South Africa, we need to unite to hold any politician to account. Talk is cheap. An election manifesto cannot be based on dehumanising people, be they black, be they women, be they foreign nationals. We challenge political parties to show us their plan to hold big multinationals to account, to enforce policies and regulations to ensure that there is work which earns a living wage. It is slave wages and chronic unemployment that is the enemy, not fellow comrades, predominantly from the African Continent, who come to South Africa fleeing intolerable conditions.
In 1995 Nelson Mandela addressed a gathering in Alexandra and said: “During the years I lived here, the people of Alexandra ignored tribal and ethnic distinctions. Instead of being Xhosas, or Sothos, or Zulus, or Shangaans, we were Alexandrans. We were one people, and we undermined the distinctions that the apartheid government tried so hard to impose. It saddens and angers me to see the rising hatred of foreigners.” We call for the same spirit of tolerance and comradely behaviour.
This complaint was endorsed by the following organisations: Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa, Lawyers for Human Rights, Sonke Gender Justice, International Labour Research and Information Group (ILRIG), SECTION 27, Afrika Awake, Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, South African Human Rights Comission, The National Council of Congolese for Development and The Nelson Mandela Foundation.
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