APF launches a court battle
Friday 22 September 2006
In defence of the right to march: THE APF and LPM March Goes Ahead!
On 19 September 2006, the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) refused to grant permission for the land and housing march of the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) and the Landless People’s Movement (LPM). Scheduled for the 20th of September 2006, the march is supposed to highlight the fact that the working class and the poor are demanding land and housing.
The LPM and the APF complied with the gatherings act which requires organisations to notify the authorities not later than seven days before the date of the event. The application for the march was submitted on 29 August 2006. In other words, the authorities had more than three weeks to prepare for the march.
According to the act the JMPD was supposed to have called the LPM and the APF for a routine meeting within 48 hours after receiving the notification for the march. The JMPD did not convene a meeting with the organisers of the march, namely APF and LPM.
On the eve of march, the 19th of September 2006, the JMPD called the APF to a meeting and informed it that the march will not be allowed to take place. The strange thing is that the JMPD did not bother to furnish the APF with reasons verbally as well as in writing. Once again, this is a breach of the gatherings act.
The actions of the JMPD and the SAPS are undermining our fundamental rights that are enshrined in the constitution. Our rights to freedom of expression and association have been violated by the authorities who think that they are a law unto themselves. This is not happening for the first time. The actions of the SAPS and the JMPD are part of generalized attacks on working class organisations such as the LPM and the APF. In places like Orange Farm, the Vaal, Cape Town, Merafong and Durban our sister organisations are always persecuted by state authorities as an attempt at undermining the present wave of legitimate struggles for access to water, land, housing and other basic services.
The LPM and the APF is taking legal action as part of our defence for the right to demonstrate and hold public gathering. This is the right that was won in the street and can only be defended in the streets. We are calling upon all communities and working class organisations to join a peaceful march tomorrow (20 September 2006), 10 am, corner Rissik and Plein Street.
For more information, please APF (011 339 4121), Mondli (0843773003), Silumko (072 1737268), Bongani (074 251 5440)
- Right of speech/association
- Rights of expression