It was with shock that the staff of the Border Rural Committee learnt of the death of a community activist in Keiskammahoek, during a protest for better living conditions.

Thembekile Fana was a member of the Keiskammahoek Development Steering Committee and worked closely with BRC for many years. He was a committed community activist fighting for improved living conditions of the Keiskammahoek communities. He was an outspoken advocate for the transfer of the Keiskammahoek community restitution funds from Amatole District Municipality to community-based organisations. He participated actively in meetings of the Steering Committee, offering insight and contributing constructively.

BRC condemns the senseless killing of unarmed citizens who are exercising their right to protest the lack of development in their areas, the poor infrastructure and lack of service delivery that are experienced in rural areas.  This murderous act is further evidence of the SAPS’s lack of respect for human life.

BRC calls upon the ANC government to take action with respect to the rural poor and marginalised. When rural citizens vote for the ANC they are not signing a blank cheque. The ANC must deliver meaningful development in the rural areas. It is not for the first time that the Keiskammahoek communities are attempting to raise their concerns with government. The Premier is aware of the ongoing concern about the poor state of rural roads and lack of development.  Memoranda and letters have not delivered results. All that is left for the rural poor is to take to the streets to make their voices heard. That they are answered through a barrel of a gun is an outrage in a democratic South Africa. The Chairperson of the ANC in the Province must visit the area, condemn the SAPS’s violence and ensure that the ANC government addresses the problems in Keiskammahoek.

We salute you Comrade Fana.  Death and killing will not stop people from fighting for their rights. BRC would like to pass sincere condolences to your wife, children and entire family.

Even during this time our organisation will not leave you alone. Go well and inform Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani that people are dying as they fight for better life in the hand of the ANC government.

Farewell, my comrade.

Author: Phumeza Grootboom

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