Landless People's Movement

The Landless People's Movement was an independent social movement in South Africa. It consisted of rural people and people living in shack settlements in cities.[1] The Landless People's Movement boycotted parliamentary elections[2] and had a history of conflict with the African National Congress.[3] The Landless People's Movement was affiliated to Via Campesina[4] internationally and its Johannesburg branches to the Poor People's Alliance in South Africa.

The Landless People's Movement outside the Constitutional Court, 14 May 2009


On 24 July 2001 provincial representatives of local landless formations met with regional organisations to unite their grievances and collectively seek change to relieve their struggles. The Landless People's Movement was formed out of this meeting[5]

Its stated aims were to:

  • To strengthen the capacity of the rural landless to organise effectively and advocate for themselves
  • To speed up land reform and hold the government to account on their promises
  • To draw on a wider South/South network to support initiatives of landless people in South Africa
  • To develop public awareness nationally and internationally about the needs of rural landless communities in South Africa[6]

The movement was initially formed and support by an NGO, the National Land Committee (NLC), but in 2003 it broke with the NLC after which it operated autonomously.[7]

On 13 November 2003 the movement issued a Memorandum to then President Thabo Mbeki asking "why is development brought to us through guns and the terror" and demanding an immediate halt to all evictions on farms and from urban squatter camps.[8]

In 2008 the Protea South branch in Johannesburg won a landmark court order against the city of Johannesburg.[9]

The Landless People's Movement has been described as being successful in linking the commonalities between both rural and urban land dispossession.[1]

Branches in Johannesburg

The Johannesburg Landless Peoples' Movement had branches in the following shack settlements:

  • Protea South
  • Harry Gwala
  • Freedom Park
  • Thembelihle
  • Precast
  • Lawley
  • Protea Glen

State repression

In April 2004 57 members of the movement were arrested on election day for marching under the banner of 'No Land! No Vote!'.[10][11] Some of the arrested activists were subject to torture[12] and this was later taken up in court action against the police.[13]

In September 2007 the Freedom of Expression Institute reported that at a peaceful protest by the Landless People's Movement:

"SAPS members fired at random towards the protesters, leaving the pavement covered with the blue casings of rubber bullets. Police also deployed a helicopter and water cannon, and we saw at least two officers using live ammunition. One Protea South resident, Mandisa Msewu, was shot in the mouth by a rubber bullet, and several other residents were attended to by paramedics due to police violence."[14]

In February 2009 the movement reported that eight Landless People's Movement activists from Protea South were arrested following a peaceful protest.[15]

The movement claims to have been subject to severe repression in Johannesburg in 2010,[16] including arrest, arson and murder.[17][18] Also in 2010 one of the movement's activists, Terrance Mbuleo (33), was murdered by middle class vigilantes in Soweto.[19]

Poor People's Alliance

In September 2008 the Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, together with Abahlali baseMjondolo, the Johannesburg branches of the Landless People's Movement and the Rural Network (Abahlali basePlasini) in KwaZulu-Natal formed the Poor People's Alliance.[20][21] The poor people's alliance refused electoral politics under the banner 'No Land! No House! No Vote!'.[22]

See also


  1. Bhambra, Gurminder; Robbie Shilliam, eds. (2009). Silencing Human Rights. New York City: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 230–232. ISBN 978-0-230-22276-2. OCLC 784531812.
  2. The Jacob Zuma Cargo Cult and the “Implosion” of Alliance Politics, by Michael Schmidt, Anarkismo, 2009
  3. The seed of a new opposition?Business Day, 7 February 2011
  4. World Social Forum – Thursday 10 February, The Guardian
  5. Habib, Adam; Imraan Valodia (2006). Voices of Protest Social Movements in Post-apartheid South Africa. New York City: University of Kwazulu Natal. p. 133. ISBN 1-86914-089-3.
  6. "The Landless of South Africa". War on Want. Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  7. "Crisis in South Africa Land Reform Movement". Land Action. Archived from the original on 27 August 2007. Retrieved 16 April 2009.
  8. "Memorandum To President Thabo Mbeki". Land Action. Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
  9. "Landless Peoples' Movement Protea South". Abahlali baseMjondolo. Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  10. "LPM Members Arrested on Election Day". Land Action. Archived from the original on 27 August 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
  11. "2005 Annual Report on South Africa". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on 29 November 2008.
  12. "Torture and Detainment of LPM Activists". Archived from the original on 19 November 2007. Retrieved 2 November 2008.
  13. FXI welcomes opening of trial in Landless Peoples' Movement torture case, Freedom of Expression Institute, 2005
  14. "Police repression in Protea South an indicator of a national trend". Freedom of Expression Institute.
  15. Abahlali_3. "8 Landless People's Movement Comrades Under Arrest in Johannesburg | Abahlali baseMjondolo". Retrieved 4 November 2021.
  16. Political tolerance on the wane in South Africa, Imraan Buccus, SA Reconciliation Barometer, September 2010
  17. Independent Report into Political Violence Against the Landless People's Movement, International Alliance of Inhabitants, 2010
  18. Landless People’s Movement Activist Killed by Police in Johannesburg Archived 11 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine, People of Color Organize, 2010
  19. To Be Betrayed By Your Brother Archived 23 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Rosaleen Ortiz, City University of New York, 2010
  20. The Struggle for Land & Housing in Post-Apartheid South Africa by Toussaint Losier, Left Turn, January 2009
  21. 'Participatory Society: Urban Space & Freedom', by Chris Spannos, Z-Net, 29 May 2009 Archived 6 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  22. The alliance, and its position on electoral politics, is mentioned in the speech by S'bu Zikode at
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.