The shack dwellers movement warned that its decision to back the EFF was not a permanent one.

Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) has announced that it is throwing its weight behind the EFF in the upcoming 29 May general elections.

The shack dwellers movement held a rally called Unfreedom Day in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.

This followed a general assembly held two weeks ago to consolidate demands to political parties contesting the elections.

‘Not a permanent arrangement’

Announcing the decision, AbM president S’bu Zikode said the organisation is not a political party and will never become one.

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He added that the civic movement was “unapologetic” on its stance against those who “misappropriate public funds.”

“We agreed that whatever party we pick, we are just lending them our votes, we can revoke our decision at any time, it’s not a permanent arrangement.

“There is no guarantee that we will vote for you again.

“Abahlali have decided to lend its vote to the EFF come 29 May elections,” Zikode said to a round of applause from the audience.

The plight of shack dwellers

Known for campaigning against evictions, the AbM’s gatherings are attended by hostel residents, women, and leaders representing foreign nationals.

The social movement fights for shack dwellers’ rights, housing and dignity and is the largest movement body in South Africa.

Equally, it has taken up the plight of residents of informal settlements – in Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Cape Town. emerging out of a road blockade staged at Kennedy Street shack settlement in Durban in 2005.

There had been a series of attacks and arrests targeting AbM members over the years as their activism grew, especially in KwaZulu-Natal.

Some of the leaders were murdered with very few arrests of the perpetrators. Others went into hiding, fearing for their lives.

Furthermore, the AbM’s work has attracted solidarity from prominent local and international academics linked to social justice efforts such as Noam Chomsky, Ruthie Gilmore, Yanis Varoufakis and many others.

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