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[TRIBUTE] SERI mourns the death of the Unemployed People's Movement's Ayanda Kota (23 February 2024).

5Dec drought EC JP 4 1920x1280 AyandaKota NewFrameSERI is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Ayanda Kota and we wish to extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. SERI represented Ayanda Kota in a civil damages case for his unlawful arrest and detention in 2012. While wrongfully arresting Kota, the police assaulted him in front of his son and was detained for approximately 17 hours.

In 2020, SERI was fortunate to have interviewed Ayanda Kota for a water rights case study, entitled Makana Local Municipality: provincial intervention in municipal crisis. Kota was generous with his time and knowledge, and most importantly was very passionate about addressing the myriad of challenges that plagued the Makana’s local governance.

He and the Unemployed People’s Movement played an important role in advocating for the interests of the poor and holding the Makana Local Municipality accountable over the years. Because of his work, he was forced to go into hiding in 2020 due to threats against him and his family.  Despite this, his commitment to justice led him to contest the 2021 local government elections, under the coalition Makana Citizen’s Front in which they won five proportional representation seats.

In 2022, Kota co-hosted a workshop with the Marikana families at the Grahamstown Arts Festival which helped host the 10th anniversary of the Marikana massacre. Again, Kota was gracious and expressed his solidarity with the families’ quest for justice.

Comrade Ayanda Kota’s contribution to the struggle for the poor is invaluable and he will be sorely missed.