By BO Staff Writer
The following statement was previously published on the Black First Land First website and is now reissued by Black Opinion:
There is a war in the ghetto. The looting and vandalizing of “foreign” owned spaza shops is a signal of a deep crisis. Black people are displaced from township economies and the general South African economy. Our people are hungry and engulfed in despair. The hysteria of poisoned and expired food was the trigger to the looting and mayhem. The truth is the “foreign” owned spaza shops are not integrated in the township social fabric – they stand out as an imposition. This makes them vulnerable to the penned up black rage of blacks in the ghetto. We often unleash our anger to those who are closest to us when we can’t cope anymore.
The sharp increase in the cost of living, such as increased VAT and petrol prices, coupled with increased joblessness, have conspired to create a systematic crises for the people. Hunger and hopelessness define life in the township. A people in sub-human conditions do not act rationally or peacefully. This is what we see in the townships.
Black South Africans lost the land and economy to white settler criminals from Europe. The enslavement and exclusion of blacks was then made into law. In the slave labour dumping zones called townships, blacks created vulnerable trade to service each other. We bought from white monopoly capital and sold to each other for a marginal profit. Spaza shops are an offshoot of this tradition.
Come 1994 with democracy, instead of economic empowerment, there was a new dispossession by trade, even of the spaza shops. This created an environment for white monopoly capital to attack township economies. In this vulnerable state, entered the Somali, Pakistani and Bangladeshi small traders who were better organised and calibrated by economies of scale through co-operative networks. The township spaza shops had no chance against these developments.
The war against “foreign” small traders must end. The anomaly of townships being dominated by outside traders, from malls to spaza shops, must also end. A new dialogue to correct the crisis in township economies is now urgent.
Black First Land First (BLF) calls on dialogue amongst all affected parties to ensure that township economies stay in the hands of township people. Others can trade as partners not as usurpers. Co-operation instead of competition must be a guiding principle.
BLF calls on the people to halt the attacks. In the same way, BLF calls on the “foreign” traders to stop selling poisoned and expired goods. BLF is also aware that white monopoly capital shops also sell poison to the people, including GMO products. Action will also be taken against these.
ISSUED BY THE NATIONAL COORDINATING COMMITTEE OF THE BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST MOVEMENT (BLF NCC)
01 September 2018
Black First Land First Email:[email protected]
Facebook: Black First Land First
Cell: +27 79 915 2957
(Head of Media & Communications)
Cell: +27 82 216 7664