South Africa, Campaign for a month of Action

Call to actions. Starting with a march to parliament and occupation

Western Cap, July 3,2012

WE FORESTRY COMMUNITIES CAN NO LONGER TOLERATE SILENCE AND CONTINUED DISCRIMINATION. NOW WE ARE TAKING ACTION.

We the households and residents of isolated forestry towns in the mountain areas of the Western Cape (such as Hawequa, Nuweberg, Meerlust, Wemmershoek, Lamotte, Limietberg Lebanon amongst others) continue to be rejected and oppressed by our own government. We live under the yoke of oppression despite our well intentioned constitution, policies and laws that are supposed to improve the living conditions of all South Africans, including ours – the poor, landless, destitute and homeless.

We simply cannot afford to give up our precious time by leaving our places of work and families to go to Cape Town to remind the government of its constitutional responsibilities. We have no other choice but to mobilise and march, because we are experiencing continous  discrimination. We are tired of phoning, writing, faxing, emailing, reminding and begging the government to listen to us. We are tired of lies and empty promises. We are angry and inflamed.

We are getting poorer by the day – the food and fuel prices are rising uncontrolable. We are retrenched forestry workers and many of us are unemployed, without any income. We do not have land to produce our own food, we are dependent on cash and shops; we are suffering from hunger; we are occupiers and homeless because we do not have our own land and houses; the houses we live in are dilapidated and collapsing on us, because we remain renters. Our communities are deteriorating because of unemployment, violence, alcohol and drug abuse. Our local government avoid us like a pest, because they say service delivery is not feasible. Are we written off, are we forgoten? Is it because someone is not doing his or her work or is it just because we are poor and keep quiet?

We live in unspoiled environments with natural beauty. Here the air is still fresh and clean. We still feel safe, because we still sleep with open doors and open windows. Our children are still safe. Now we are threatened with evictions. Our residential areas are targeted for tourism, recreation and conservation for the pleasure and games of the rich and powerful.

We are sick and tired of the government’s feet dragging and game of hide and seek. We are tired of empty promises of land reform and poverty alleviation. Privatisation is depriving us of our land and livelihoods. What happened to community forestry, participatory forestry management and all the policies and laws, promises, processes, money and time spend on all of this? Who has deprived us of all these opportunities and rights? Who is benefiting the most and who are the fat cats getting fatter from forestry profits at the cost of our existence. We have worked ourselves into the grave – our hands to the bone, slaved and contributed to the economy of this country. Why are we now rejected and wished away? Has slavery and apartheid not long ago been declared inhumane and a crime against humanity? Must we still stand cap in hand? Have we the legitimate inhabitants of this country, become an embarresment in our our country? We acknowldge then: that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

We do not have a choice but to stand up and mobilise against our continued oppression, poverty, discrimination, hunger, landlessnes and homelessness. We demand a dignified existence, because it is our right. We will mobilise until the government listen to us. Action we will get.

WE SHALL OVERCOME

ISSUED BY THE AGRARIAN REFORM FOR FOOD SOVEREIGNTY CAMPAIGN AND FORESTRY COMMUNITIES IN THE WESTERN CAPE

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