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Declaration of the Socialist Green Coalition issued on the Steps of Durban City Hall . 6 May 2011

Whereas we, the members of the SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION, being of the firm belief that South Africa, 17 years after having thrown off the shackles of apartheid, is not about to achieve UHURU; and further recognising that the struggle still continues unabated in our country for an egalitarian, non-racial society based on social, economic and environmental justice;

The SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION is gravely mindful of, and condemns in the strongest terms, all corruption and theft by public servants, lack of service delivery to the poor, and the unacceptable ongoing violence inflicted on the protesting poor by the state machinery.

Over these past years, in pursuit of uniting and strengthening the struggles of the poor and exploited, the SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION has entered into partnerships and coalitions with organisations and parties, such as the SOCIALIST PARTY OF AZANIA, ECOPEACE, DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST MOVEMENT, OPERATION KHANYISA MOVEMENT, PALESTINE SUPPORT COMMITTEE and the broad social movement, which share our democratic vision and values;

The SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION is also a founding affiliate of the newly-formed DEMOCRATIC LEFT FRONT (DLF), having joined in the firm belief of the need for a strong, national and international resistance to global capitalism, imperialist wars and rampant environmental destruction.

The SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION is also the only DLF affiliate in the eThekwini Municipality to contest the 2011 local government elections.

Now therefore, we solemnly pledge the following:

1. That the membership of the SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION commits itself unequivocally to continue to champion the interests of the poor and the environment.

2. All SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION candidates undertake to SERVE their communities and wards, placing the interests of the communities before their own. We understand that the most important criterion for selection as a councillor is the willingness and track record of the candidate to serve; and that the SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION is not an employment agency.

3. In accordance with our belief that all public servants should not earn more than the average salary of a skilled worker, any and all candidates who are voted into eThekwini Municipality shall not earn more than one third of the remuneration after taxes. The remaining two thirds shall be utilised by the SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION in advancement of its pro-people, pro-environment objectives.

4. SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION councillors shall, under no circumstances, tender for municipal and other state contracts either directly or indirectly.

5. All SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION councillors shall be accountable to the communities they serve.

6. All SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION candidates standing for elections agree to subject themselves to the right of recall by the SOCIALIST GREEN COALITION, should they not perform their duties adequately in terms of the pledges and declaration listed above.

Signed:

1. Marilyn Isaacs (Wentworth – ward 68)
2. Leonard Joseph (Mayville – ward 30)
3. Vanessa Black (Umbilo/Glenwood – ward 33)
4. John Devenish ( Berea – ward 31)
5. Peregrine Dace (Morningside – ward 27)
6. Alan Murphy (all other wards)

Equality, Dignity, and Respect for People and Nature
Office : 449 Oliver Lea Drive , Umbilo, 4001
Telephone: 0314657129, 0842037721Fax: 0866522614
0sgc.durban@gmail.com

Bios

Marilyn Isaacs
A respected member of the Wentworth community, Marilyn was born on 10 February 1965. She is married to Anice Isaacs and has three children ranging from the ages of 20 to 25. She attended Umbilo Road Secondary, and obtained her matric from CEED (Centre for Education and Enterprise Development), where she had been doing voluntary work, thus starting her career in community upliftment with WDF (Wentworth Development Forum). Later she did community work through the Department od Community Safety and Liaison, where she is now a team leader. This venture has enabled her to really get to know the community and help in whatever small way she can. She works daily with the youth in the community as her job requires her mainly to be based in the High Schools. She encourages, motivates, guides and corrects the youth in a positive way. Other ventures which she is involved in are SAPREF CLF (Community Liaison Forum) and more recently chairing the CSF (Community Safety Forum). Most importantly she is an ordained Minister in the church of Miracle Ministries as she has a passion for reaching individuals and communities on a spiritual as well as physical level. She has attended numerous workshops, for example, the crime learning encounter workshop, to gain more experience and knowledge in her various community projects and activities.

Leonard Joseph
Lenny is a retired boiler maker. He has worked in industry most of his life and entered the trade determined to learn a skilled profession. Originally from Wentworth, he and his family, especially his late brother, were active in the anti-apartheid liberation movement. Unfortunately, like many others, he now feels that the principles for which he fought and the non-racial prosperous egalitarian society have not come to fruition because of the self-enrichment of an elite few. Lenny is very active in his community around the issues of housing and corruption.

Vanessa Black
Vanessa completed a Bachelor of Architecture Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand . She worked briefly on the development of the Linksfield Park before moving into the environmental sector as the Gauteng co-ordinator of the Environmental Justice Networking Forum. Vanessa’s interest in environmental development issues has grown through ongoing activism for the volunteer environmental organisation, Earthlife Africa, which she joined as a student in 1989. In 1993, Vanessa and other members of Earthlife Africa conceptualised the GreenHouse Peoples Environmental Centre Project. Vanessa was employed as the co-ordinator in 1997 and worked with the project until 2003 to facilitate its development from an idea to a functioning sustainable living demonstration and information centre in Joubert Park in the Johannesburg inner city. Following 7 months of back-packing in West and North Africa , Vanessa relocated to eThekwini in 2004.

Vanessa has continued to pursue environmental justice and sustainable development through a variety of freelance assignments that include zero waste, child participation, campaigning against genetic engineering and pollution, green design, sustainable agriculture for the agriculture section of eThekwini local government, and support to NGO and local government organisations in the form of research, writing, workshop facilitation, planning and fundraising.

John Devenish
John lives in Musgrave and works at UKZN as technical staff in the Centre for Civil Society with Professor Patrick Bond. Responsible for the CCS website, John keeps up to date with global, national and local events. He was a founder member of Ecopeace & assisted them in the 2000 & 2006 election campaigns. He also is involved in organising the contract workers at UKZN to fight for better wages & working conditions. Other interests include renewable energy, alternative media & co operatives.

Peregrine Dace
Born in 1979, Perry has his roots in Ward 27. His grandparents lived there, his parents live there, and he lives and was schooled there. He is an educator with backgrounds in the sciences and the humanities, which place him well to confront the mix of technical and ethical issues with which a public servant is faced. Over the past few years he has become increasingly dissatisfied with the treatment of legislative public office as a source of profit instead of an opportunity for service. This mindset has led to absurd councillor remuneration and the abuse of tendering, particularly the section 36 tenders in eThekweni. Perry hopes, as a servant of the people of the city, to serve the city’s people and the public trust far more ethically and rigorously.

Alan Murphy
Alan lectures Science and was an eThekwini Municipal Councillor from 2004-2006 for ECOPEACE Party. He always opposed pay increases for councillors and forwarded many community issues to council. His last proposal to a full council meeting that no one be cut off from water was not supported by any of the other parties.

Alan is vehemently opposed to South Africa getting into billions of dollars of debt to burn more coal when Renewable Energy will create millions of jobs and supply cheap affordable electricity for everyone. With COP17 coming to Durban at the end of 2011 this year, and contrary to scientific consensus that demands otherwise, the intensification of the unsustainable course of action that is causing global climate disruption and threatens most species on the planet with extinction is supported by both the ruling party and the official opposition. This is nothing less than criminally insane.
********

An Election Debate: “To Vote or Not to Vote”
What difference does it make in the current South African political economy, state of service delivery & environmental justice”?

HAROLD WOLPE MEMORIAL LECTURE
The Centre for Civil Society based within the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal invites you to the following;

Speakers: Mazibuko Jara (Democratic Left). Alan Murphy (Socialist Green Coalition)
Respondent: Orlean Naidoo (community activist – Westcliff Chatsworth)
Anchored by: Blessing Karumbidza (Researcher – Social Economic Rights Institute, Johannesburg)
Date: Thursday 21st April 2011
Time: 17H30-19H00
Venue: Howard College Theatre (All Welcome), Howard College Campus, (King George V Avenue, Glenwood, Dbn)
Queries: Helen Poonen or Lungi Keswa, 031 260 3577/3195
http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za/default.asp?11,22
********

SGC protests Peace Pledge

Text of Speech given at IEC Peace Pledge Signing Ceremony Durban City Hall Monday 11 April 2011-04-11

Peaceful comradely greetings to all

The IEC code of conduct binds all parties and candidates participating in the elections whether or not they sign this so-called Peace Pledge.*
This signing is ceremonial. We do not disagree with the code of conduct but we must voice a protest. The code of conduct calls for unhindered opportunity to peaceful protest, yet this Municipality has a history of banning protests, peaceful protestors have been shot, and newspaper headlines are now about student protestors beaten up by the police.

Peace is not simply a lack of violence in terms of physical confrontation. There is also systemic violence. Poverty is violence, a crime against humanity. Cutting water off poor people is attempted murder; there is no other way of saying this. And ostentatious displays of wealth in the face of grinding poverty are obnoxious, especially by political leaders who should be making a better example. Instead they own the most expensive cars.

At the end of this year COP17 will come to Durban, but in the face of this and scientific evidence, both the ruling party and the official opposition agree on billion dollar loans to Burn More Coal and emit more fossil carbon into the atmosphere – a crime against nature.

In regards to this I respectfully decline to sign.

Alan Murphy
SGC (eThekwini)
0842037721
0314657129
https://sgcdurban.wordpress.com
http://www.sgc.org.za
follow on facebook and twitter

* All parties and candidates have already signed to abide by the IEC rules and code of conduct when registering for elections.

SGC does not object to the IEC code of conduct and have agreed to abide by the code when signing registration forms for these elections.

This protest is symbolic but SGC feels any platform must be used to voice the concerns of the poorest, the most socially, economically, politically and environmentally vulnerable and disadvantaged. This does not affect the participation of the SGC in the elections; SGC will be on the ballot.
*********
MALL(ICIOUS) PLANS WITHDRAWN BY ETHEKWINI COUNCIL.

The Ethekweni municipality has today made public its intention not to continue with its undemocratic plans to build the proposed Warwick Mall on the site of the Early Morning Market.

This announcement follows a municipality Executive meeting held yesterday (Tuesday 12th April 2011) in which it withdrew its April 2009 decision to lease land on which the historic Early Morning Market has stood for the past 76 years, to the Warwick Mall (Pty) Ltd for the development of the R350m Mall.

According to the Mercury (April 13, 2011) Carlos Correia, a director of Isolenu, the mall developer (market demolisher), submitted a letter to the municipality in February this year advising of the company’s decision to ‘review its development plans’.

Deputy Mayor Logie Naidoo is reported to have said that the municipality has since ‘lost’ the R300m funding from government for the ‘development’ and that the city ‘regretted’ that the mall development could not take place. Are we to believe that had the funding still been available they would have gone ahead with their demolition plans?

The impression erroneously created by Sutcliffe, and peddled by others like Logie Naidoo over the past two years, was that the government funding for 2010 was contingent on the mall being built on the historic market site. That they had not upgraded the area is yet another measure of their lack of service delivery.

Ever since the municipality announced its dastardly plans to build the mall of shame, the stall-holders, workers, porters and the broad community of supporters have mounted a resolute and protracted political and legal struggle to save their livelihoods, as well as save the historic site and Early Morning Market structure from demolition.

As the traders, workers, porters and the broad community stood resolute and firm in their uncompromising and principled fight for justice, the ANC controlled municipality tried its damnedest to make the lives of the traders, workers and porters a living hell in every way that they possibly could so as to frustrate and retard that fight.

Today the same ANC hypocrites dare to ask the same market community for their vote in the upcoming local government elections!

Before any champagne corks are popped we must highlight below some of what this ‘democratic’, ‘non racial’ municipality did to the traders, workers and porters of the Early Morning Market to remind ourselves of the kind of rubbish and scum we are really dealing with.

· The municipality through its officials, from the mayor and city manager downwards had resorted to the most backward and dangerous behavior when it tried to incite anti Indian sentiments amongst African people to pressure the stallholders into backing down in their noble, historic fight. Nevertheless, today as a result of our common struggle, the so-called ‘African’ and ‘Indian’ stallholders and workers remain even more united than ever!

· In May 2009 the City Police, armed to the teeth, invaded and occupied the market for many months to harass and intimidate the market community.

· In the course of this ongoing stand-off the hard-working stallholders, workers and porters were violently and indiscriminately assaulted, tear-gassed, locked-out and shot at by heavily armed municipal police. No apology (from our city officials) has been forthcoming to date. Instead those who were severely beaten up were charged in order to justify the police brutality.

· The municipality, in an act of vengeance and by the stroke of a pen, unreasonably deemed hundreds of stallholders to be ‘illegal’ occupiers of stall, thus barring these bread-winners from earning a living. These humble stallholders and their workers remain out in the cold till this day. Their suffering continues.

· As part of the ongoing harassment, the city officials tried and failed to ban and stop the porters from operating in the market. Thanks to the successful legal intervention of the Legal Resource Centre the porters were able to continue earning their living.

· For months the occupation-force (of armed police) routinely harassed the stallholders for permits, several times a day. On one occasion this was witnessed by the advocates for the Legal Resource Centre, who immediately petitioned the court for a stop to the harassment.

· In the run-up to the 2010 World Cup, the municipality consciously neglected providing cleaning services to the market in the hope that it will fall to rack and ruin. They had gone to the extent of not cleaning the toilets.

· The actions of the municipality caused untold suffering, grief and stress for poor people and their families as they were faced with an uncertain future and certain poverty.

· Sutcliffe and his fascist gang of bullies accused the traders of corruption without any concrete proof. This was done to undermine the credibility of the noble struggle of the poor traders for justice. Yet today it is Sutcliffe and that same gang of bullies who stand accused of corruption and fraud running into billions of Rand of ratepayer’s money following a forensic audit. The integrity (or the lack thereof) of the tender process and section 36 non-tender process of the municipality in awarding contracts have been called into question by Auditors. It is expected that charges will soon follow. How ironic!

We must therefore ask the Deputy Mayor exactly what it is that the council ‘regrets’!

Does the council regret that they failed in their attempts to destroy the market and the fighting spirit of the poor stallholders, porters and workers? Is it that they regret that a few rich fat cat BEE developers and their financial backers and scavengers will not make millions at the expense of the poor?

So it appears that the ANC municipality has done the ‘right’ thing but for the completely wrong reasons!

It must be understood and made very clear to all that the municipality’s decision not to continue with its plans to demolish the market is not done out of any goodwill or generosity to the market community or to the broader community which wants to protect its historical legacy, nor is it in any way an admission that they were wrong and unjust. It must be remembered that the ruling class will always act in its own interests. This ANC municipality has a notorious track record of being anti poor. It has shown that it has and will continue to act in the interest of the rich and powerful.

In the light of the allegations of corruption against the municipality we are compelled and justified to also call into question whether the decision to demolish the market and build a mall is free of corruption and fraud?
We are also justified in asking whether the plans to demolish the market have been shelved because the municipality is under scrutiny for fraud and corruption?
We are also justified in asking if the plans to demolish the market will not be revived after the upcoming Local Government elections?
We must also ask if the municipality will follow through with its plans to demolish the market if it somehow ‘finds’ the funds it ‘lost’ from government to do so?
We shall not forget that the municipality kicked the market community in the teeth and spat upon their dignity, and continue to do so. Neither shall we forget that they acted in the most evil and undemocratic fashion to force their will upon the people. And that they did all this so that a few rich people could make a big profit from the mall, even though it meant destroying the lives of poor stallholders, workers and porters. This municipality was prepared to destroy a heritage site with close to 140 years of history, with no regret.

We must therefore not be fooled into dropping our guard!

We should always be vigilant against the machinations of this council.

We must demand for now:

· that all so called ‘illegal’ traders be reinstated to their stalls with immediate effect!;

· that the Early Morning Market site be officially declared a National Heritage site!, and that the Early Morning Market structure and site be given permanent statutory protection from demolition.;

· that the entire Warwick precinct be developed in the interests of all the citizens of Durban. That any development must follow a democratic and transparent process.

· that the Early Morning Market be regularly serviced, renovated and expanded to accommodate as many stallholders as possible!

· that the municipality compensate the traders for losses they have suffered as a result of the actions of municipality.

OUR STRUGGLE TO PROTECT THE EARLY MORNING MARKET CONTINUES!

NOTHING SHORT OF PERMANENT STATUTORY PROTECTION FOR THE MARKET STRUCTURE AND SITE WILL SATISFY THE EARLY MORNING MARKET SUPPORT GROUP!

WE MUST CONTINUE OUR FIGHT FOR A MUNICIPALITY THAT PLACES THE INTERESTS OF POOR AND EXPLOITED ABOVE ALL ELSE ALL THE TIME.

LONG LIVE THE EARLY MORNING MARKET!
LONG LIVE OUR HERITAGE!
VICTORY TO THE POOR AND EXPLOITED !!

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