• Urgent Action

Urgent Action: HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER’S LIFE IN DANGER (South Africa 29.24)

April 17, 2024

Nomsa Sizani, a human rights defender and former General Secretary of the Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM), is facing imminent threats to her life. The threats followed her allegedly questioning government officials who were in the community on March 17, to speak about a development taking place there. The threats began the next day and have escalated since March 23, leading to her going into hiding, in fear for her life. Her rights to life, safety, and security are under attack and must be seen against a backdrop of a greater pattern of harassment, intimidation, threats, attacks, and killings of AbM members and leaders. The South African authorities must promptly, thoroughly, independently, impartially, transparently, and effectively investigate the threats made against Nomsa Sizani’s life and take all necessary measures to ensure her protection.  

take action:

  • Write a letter in your own words or using the sample below as a guide to one or both government officials listed. You can also email, fax, call or Tweet them.
  • Click here to let us know the actions you took on Urgent Action 29.24. It’s important to report because we share the total number with the officials we are trying to persuade and the people we are trying to help.

contact Information:

*Note: Some action takers have had their letters to this target returned

President Cyril Ramaphosa

Private Bag X463

Pretoria, 0001

South Africa

Email: [email protected]

Copies to: [email protected]

South African Embassy in the United States

Her Excellency Nomaindiya Cathleen Mfeketo

3051 Massachusetts Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20008

Email: [email protected]

sample letter:

Dear President Ramaphosa,

I am writing to raise your attention to the case of Nomsa Sizani, a single mother of four surviving children from eKukhanyeni, Marianhill in South Africa’s North-Eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN). Nomsa Sizani is a human rights defender and leader within the Abahlali baseMjondolo movement (AbM), a grassroots movement founded in 2005. She is facing imminent threats to her life following her questioning officials who were in her community to speak about developments taking place there on March 17. On March 18, Nomsa Sizani received a threatening phone call, saying “if you don’t shut that mouth, we will shut it for you”.

These threats continue to escalate. On March 26, she received a text message which said: “We hope that Zikode [referring to AbM president Sibusiso Zikode] and Abahlali will be able to protect you from that big mouth of yours”. On March 31, three men arrived at her home looking for her. She has now been forced into hiding.   

I know you are aware of the situation AbM is facing, having recently created a task team in KZN to investigate the killings of AbM members.

I therefore call on you and your government to take concrete and effective measures to investigate the death threats against Nomsa Sizani and to ensure her safety and security. Anyone suspected of being responsible for the threats should be brought to justice in a fair trial. I also urge you and your government to protect and ensure respect for the human rights of human rights defenders.

Yours sincerely,