The Landless People’s Movement (LPM) organised a ‘No Land, No Vote’ campaign to coincide with the 2004 South African General Elections.[1] The campaign aimed to highlight how democracy fails for the poor because, in this instance, in order to vote you need to be registered in your home ward which is not possible if you don’t have secure tenure or at threat of evictions.[2]


Abahlali baseMjondolo organised a ‘No Land, No House, No Vote’ campaign against the 2006 municipal election in Durban. The campaign began with a march to Durban mayor, Obed Mlaba, which was heavily repressed.[3] The Anti-Eviction Campaign also boycotted the Cape Town municipal elections under the same slogan.[4]

Organising similar constituencies to the Landless People’s Movement, these calls were advocating for people to actively participate in democracy instead of relying on political parties. Abahlali baseMjondolo president, S’bu Zikode, explained: “‘The community has realised that voting for parties has not brought any change to us - especially at the level of local government elections, ‘At [the] local level, whoever wins the elections will be challenged by us. We have been betrayed by our own elected councilor. We have decided not to vote.”[5]


In a protest for free basic electricity in Johannesburg, the Anti-Privitisation Forum threatened not to vote in the 2009 elections if their demands were not met.[6]


The ‘No Land, No House, No Vote’ is extended to the 2009 South African General Elections[7] by Abahlali BaseMjondolo, the Anti-Eviction Campaign, the Landless People’s Movement, and others under the combined banner of the Poor People’s Alliance[8]


Based on continued failures to receive adequate service delivery and heavy police repression, Abahlali BaseMjondolo once again decided to launch a “No Land, No House, No Vote" campaign against the 2011 Local Government Elections .[9]

S’bu Zikode reasoned: "This is because any councillor from a political party forgets about our situation soon after the election. That is why we have decided to stand on our own and fight our own battles - we have been betrayed so many times before."[10]

End notes:

[1](Mail and Gaurdian Staff Reporter, 2005)

[2] (Ballard, 2005)

[3] (Mail and Gaurdian Staff Reporter, 2005)

[4] (Pithouse, 2009) and (Indymedia SA & von der Haide , 2005)

[5] Quoted in (Losier, 2009)

[6] (IOL Staff Reporter, 2008)

[7] (Hlongwa, 2009)

[8] (Losier, 2009)

[9] (IRIN News, 2011)

[10] (IRIN News, 2011)


Ballard, R., 2005. An anatomy of new power. [Online] Available at: www.mg.co.za/article/2005-01-25-an-anatomy-of-new-power [Accessed 15 02 2018]. Hlongwa, M., 2009. The No Land, No House, No Vote Campaign Still on for 2009. [Online] Available at: www.abahlali.org/node/510/ [Accessed 15 02 2018]. Indymedia SA & von der Haide , E., 2005. NO LAND, NO HOUSE, NO VOTE ! Voices from the housing struggles. [Online] Available at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqysQucEYXY [Accessed 21 07 2018]. IOL Staff Reporter, 2008. 'No electricity, No vote'. [Online] Available at: www.iol.co.za/news/south-africa/no-electricity-no-vote-422532[Accessed 15 02 2018]. IRIN News, 2011. Poor people's movement draws government wrath. [Online] Available at: www.irinnews.org/news/2010/04/21/poor-peoples-movement-draws-government-wrath[Accessed 10 05 2018]. Losier, T., 2009. Sekwanele! (Enough is enough!): Post-apartheid land and housing struggles. [Online] Available at: www.pambazuka.org/land-environment/sekwanele-enough-enough-post-apartheid-land-and-housing-struggles[Accessed 15 02 2018]. Mail and Gaurdian Staff Reporter, 2005. “No Vote” Campaigns are not a Rejection of Democracy. [Online] Available at: www.abahlali.org/node/865/[Accessed 15 02 2018]. Pithouse, R., 2009. Elections: A Dangerous Time for Poor People's Movements in South Africa. [Online] Available at: www.sacsis.org.za/site/article/245.1[Accessed 15 02 2018].

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