Angonave protest in Angola shows no sign of ending

LUSAKA – FOR 524 days, sleeping in cardboard boxes, Joaquim and Franklin have maintained a vigil outside the offices of Angola’s state shipping company, Angonave.

Since October 18, 2000, the two men, come rain or shine, have camped outside the company’s office, in protest at the government’s move to privatise it.

They claim that in order to do so, the government illegally declared Angonave bankrupt and is selling it off to ministers.

The two men claim that 17 of their fellow protestors have already died from typhoid and malaria as a result of sleeping rough.

“We live here, 24 hours of the day… we sleep here, we eat here, we die here,” Franklin said.

Franklin, a maintenance inspector and Joaquim, a foreman, seek protection from the rain, wind and sun under a wall of cardboard cartons placed between the columns at the entrance to the Angonave building.

“We are leaders of the movement, the others, the 450 employees, take turns to support us,” Franklin said.

According to the Independent Maritime Union, the company’s liquidation was illegal.

“Under the law, the closure of a state enterprise must take place only after negotiations with unions,” Joaquim said. “In Angola, the workers are shareholders in the company.”

“As the government did not want to hold negotiations, we are occupying their headquarters. We have to prove, by our lawyers, that the company is profitable.”

Despite the government declaring the protest illegal in January, police agreed not to move the squatters, after intervention by their lawyers.

Currently, the two men get $10 (11 euros) each a month. Before, as a maintenance inspector, Franklin was earning $300 (342 euros) a month.

The men hope the death last February of Unita’s rebel chief Jonas Savimbi will expedite the peace process in a country besieged by poverty. – AFP

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

Libyan rebels soldier on towards Tripoli

Libyan rebels have captured two villages on the road to Tripoli, as Nato insisted it could complete its mission without putting troops on the ground.

In verse and prose, Benghazi liberates speech

Freedom of speech is the name of the game in Revolution Square where new publications have blossomed and women recite poetry in public.

Diplomats beat path to Benghazi

Diplomats from the United Nations and from Spain on Wednesday joined a growing number of envoys beating a path to the Libyan rebel capital Benghazi.

Subscribers only

Dozens of birds and bats perish in extreme heat in...

In a single day, temperatures in northern KwaZulu-Natal climbed to a lethal 45°C, causing a mass die-off of birds and bats

Q&A Sessions: Frank Chikane on the rainbow where colours never...

Reverend Frank Chikane has just completed six years as the chairperson of the Kagiso Trust. He speaks about corruption, his children’s views and how churches can be mobilised

More top stories

Eusebius McKaiser: Mpofu, Gordhan caught in the crosshairs

The lawyer failed to make his Indian racist argument and the politician refused to admit he had no direct evidence

Corruption forces health shake-up in Gauteng

Dr Thembi Mokgethi appointed as new health MEC as premier seeks to stop Covid-19 malfeasance

Public-private partnerships are key for Africa’s cocoa farmers

Value chain efficiency and partnerships can sustain the livelihoods of farmers of this historically underpriced crop

Battery acid, cassava sticks and clothes hangers: We must end...

COMMENT: The US’s global gag rule blocks funding to any foreign NGOS that perform abortions, except in very limited cases. The Biden-Harris administration must rescind it

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…