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Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku


Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku was the Chairperson of the local Sisonke Village branch of Abahlali baseMjondolo and a member of Abahlali’s KwaZulu/Natal Provincial Council. Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku worked to defend the rights of shack dwellers to basic services and political participation in Sisonke Village. Abahlali baseMjondolo is a grassroots movement of poor shack dwellers in Durban, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg and other parts of the province and of the Western Cape. The movement advocates for the rights of people living in shacks including access to decent housing, services and education. Its members have been the targets of ongoing intimidation and physical attacks due to corruption at the local political level, and since 2007, including Sibonelo Patrick Mpeku, seven members of Abahlali baseMjondolo have been killed.

The Republic of South Africa voted for the adoption of the resolution on the protection of human rights defenders (HRDs) by the United Nations General Assembly on December 18th 2015. Nevertheless, HRDs face threats, intimidation, harassment, and physical attacks, sometimes resulting in death, by private individuals and members of the police force. This is especially true for those human rights defenders working on corporate accountability and the impact of extractive industries on local people and the environment. Moreover, suspected perpetrators often go unpunished. There is overwhelming impunity for those who violate the rights of human rights defenders.