AWARENESS CAMPAIGN IN DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA
28, December, 2014
By Kapele Mutachi
The Congolese Solidarity Campaign and Abahlali Basemjondolo held a successful march on, Saturday, 8 November 2014 as thousands of members marched to Durban’s City Hall in solidarity to the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A memorandum was handed over to the representative of the South African Ambassador for the DR Congo regarding the assassination and other violent crimes. The Congolese Solidarity Campaign demanded for peace and sovereignty in the DR Congo. They demanded an end to genocide and human right abuse. They also demanded an end to the balkanization of the DR Congo.
They also demanded an end to all sexual violence against women and children. They reject the DR Congo Constitution change and demanded an end to looting of minerals and other wealth of their country. The Congolese people who are living in South Africa wanted to show the local and international public opinion that the incidents taking place in the DR Congo are being ignored. Even though we are not at home in the DR Congo, we can make a change and show solidarity to our country. All we want is justice and peace and for the genocide to end.
The march was very vital for Congolese, just simply because we wanted to justify to South Africans why our people are here in their country, and some more people are still jumping borders to enter in the land of Mandela. We wanted to show them that the problem of DR Congo, it is not our people but the leaders who want to overstay in power. Most of South Africans did not know why our people are living in South Africa; some of them have been fed with wrong information. They say that we came here (Congolese) to take their jobs and women, but that day was the starting point for the South African public opinion to be given the appropriate information about our presence in the country.
They were able to know the reasons why our people are running away from their land of ancestors. We told them that there is no man on earth who wants to live away from his home. We told them that government, military, and police should exist to protect civilians, but in our country, especially in eastern part of our country, the government together with its securities establishments has failed and it continues to fail to protect, defend, and represent its own people. The government fails to restore state authority over our national territory and create opportunities to our people. As a result of that, our country is known is as a place of brutality, killings, torture, extortion, massacre, sexual violence against women, use of child soldiers, and economic exploitation. The South Africans were able to have some insights of some of the security challenges that have forced millions of our people to look refuge in different countries in Europe, Americas, Asia, Africa, and particularly here in South Africa.
Our intention was to pass the message on to the public opinion so that they can have a better understanding of our presence in South Africa, and seek solidarity with people of South Africa to help us to be the voice of the voiceless to see whether the South African community and government will come and listen to the cries of pains, and sorrows of our people. We strongly believe that South Africa is like USA in Africa, if it fully involves in this matter, we are hoping that peace and stability can be restored back home. We wanted to also make clear to our African brothers and sisters in South Africa that, the instability of our country is not going to be cost free in South Africa, simply because people will continue to enter in the country which will increase immigration pressure on South African side.
South African government is busy amending the immigration law in order to curb the influx of refugees in the country, but I do not think so if it is going to be the solution because majority of people who are coming from war torn countries like DR Congo are not ready to leave due to the insecurity, civil wars, human rights abuses, and lack of freedom of expression and association in their country. As a result, people will be willing to live without proper documentation. The only solution is for South African government to use its political and economic weight to push the government of DR Congo to institute sound democratic reforms so that its citizens should be free in their country.
South African government must make sure it uses its political leadership to other members state so that peace and stability can be restored in DR Congo and Africa. This is the solution that can help South Africa to avoid the influx of refugees rather than changing the immigration laws. The focus should shift from military intervention to political pluralism and private sector development to ensure accountability, openness, and responsiveness. Let us stand together to save Congolese people in the name of humanity.