Sheep magazine Archive 2: issues 10-17


Lefty online magazine: issue 10, May 2016 to issue 17, November 2016


to regain control over territories in which

a degree of political autonomy has been


One of these strategies is the simple

exercise of violence – whether carried out

by the police, private security, local party

structures or assassins. Violence has been

a constant presence during a decade of

struggle. But there have been two periods

of particularly intense repression that have

both, in different ways, had a profound

impact on the movement.

The first was the expulsion of the

movement’s leading members from the

Kennedy Road settlement in 2009, via the

destruction of their homes by armed men

acting under the direction of local party

structures, and with the support of the

police. This was a process that continued

for some months. The second was two

assassinations, and a police murder, in

the Marikana Land Occupation, in 2013,

followed by another assassination in

KwaNdengezi in 2014.

Both periods of intense repression placed

some people under severe stress resulting

in anxiety and paranoia, as well as familial

pressure, and resulted in real strains

in the movement. In 2014, in an act of

desperation when it seemed that murder

was being carried out with impunity, a

collective decision was taken to make a

tactical vote against the ANC, with a view to

raising the costs of repression for the ruling

party, while remaining independent from

any party political affiliation.

The second primary strategy of

containment, frequently related to the

exercise of violence, is the often very

effective attempt to make independent

development on occupied land very

difficult while mediating access to state

development through local party structures.

For as long as the state has the capacity to

demolish homes, an investment in building

a brick and mortar house is not rational.

Shacks, particularly in acutely contested

land occupations, are often designed to be

cheap, perhaps built from pallets salvaged

from a warehouse. They are sometimes

designed to be able to be collapsed when

the demolition squad comes and rebuilt

when they have departed.

When the state concedes the legitimacy of

a land occupation and offers a housing

development there will be significant

opportunities for accumulation via local

party structures, often enmeshed with

local criminal networks, and access to the

housing will be allocated through party

structures. These two factors combine


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