Whenever AFRA talks of its support for social mobilization or social movements we are confronted by a level of fear from many stakeholders. Underpinning such fear seems to be their question: Are social movements an important part of our new democracy or are they a threat to the power of the ruling party?
For AFRA the question is actually about citizenship and rights. Who makes up the new citizenship of our new democracy? How do you know if you meet the requirements of being a citizen of South Africa so that you can access any benefi ts and rights, like secure access to land, free basic services, education etc?
The struggle for access to land is to regain citizenship and the rights that come with it. Without secure access you can have no residence and without residence you have no services, no education, no stability, no family life, no basis on which to improve your livelihoods. For those who have insecure access to land and little or no income, finding ways to assert your right to the benefits of citizenship is critically important.
So… while the legal system remains unreachable and expensive, and where those people with strong money-making interests in the land continue to challenge the landless people’s rights to the same land, the only real choice for the new citizens is social action. It then becomes the ruling party’s choice to decide whose citizenship rights really matter in our new democracy …
The stories in this new edition of our new AFRA News are just a few of landless people’s stories of their efforts to regain citizenship.