Open letter to SA president Jacob Zuma


18 August 2012

President Jacob Zuma

Republic of South Africa
South Africa

Open letter to SA president Jacob Zuma

Kia ora President Zuma,

Many New Zealanders who demonstrated so strongly against the apartheid system in the 1970s and 1980s have watched with growing alarm at the direction the ANC leadership has taken South Africa since the first democratic election in 1994.

The events of the last week culminating in the massacre of 34 striking mineworkers with dozens injured is the inevitable outcome of the ANC choice to follow free-market economic policies which wherever and whenever they have been employed in human history they have always transferred wealth from the poor to the rich and stripped hope from the majority.

Under the ANC we have seen South Africa change seemlessly from race-based apartheid to economic apartheid.

We didn’t protest here just to see a few black faces at the top table in South Africa. We didn’t turn out in our tens of thousands to face batons and barbed wire so the likes of former anti-apartheid leaders such as Cyril Ramaphosa, Tokyo Sexwale and Julius Malema could become obscenely rich off the backs of South Africa’s workers – 34 of whom were riddled with police bullets two days ago.

The appalling scenes played out on our TV screens are reminiscent of the darkest days of apartheid such as the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 and the murder of black school children in Soweto in June 1976. Just as we held the apartheid regime responsible for those massacres we now hold the ANC government responsible for the massacre of striking mineworkers.

You and your government have blood on their hands.

This year is the 100th anniversary of the formation of the ANC – it should be a time of pride and celebration for all the people of South Africa but the betrayal of the struggle by the ANC leadership leaves most of us cold. As a spokesperson for Abahlahli baseMjondolo, which is struggling for decent housing against violence and intimidation said last month:

"All is slowly sinking as the new government is making sure that we remember the heroes of the struggle but not what the struggle was for".

At this time of deep sadness for those and injured and their families, and anger at the ineptitude, self-service and corruption running to the core of your government, we stand once more with the poor and oppressed people of South Africa and their struggle for freedom, hope and dignity.

Yours sincerely,

John Minto
GPJA Spokesperson

4 Responses to Open letter to SA president Jacob Zuma

  1. Jay Nair says:

    Dear Friend and Friends of the Organization
    i couldn’t have said it any better. Thanks for your letter to the President and the ANC.
    I was also involved with the Struggle and my Brother, Late Billy Nair served 20 years on Robben Island. He was one of the people who wrote parts of the Freedom Charter with ref. to the Working People of SA. I am sure he would be turning in his grave if he knew what happened to the Miners.
    Thanks again
    Peace & Solidarity
    Jay Nair
    Retired: Union Rep. United Food and Commercial Workers Union
    Labour & Human Rights Consultant
    Ontario, Canada

  2. Leslie & Marian Bravery says:

    Well said! Every gain has to defended, every betrayal exposed. Leslie

    • John Stewart Watkins says:

      I agree. I was at the demonstration on Saturday morning at the SA Consulate building and, although I thought the paint- bombing of the building wasn’t neccessary and didn’t help to get our point across, I support in principle everything that John wrote in that letter. It seems that the more things change,the more they stay the same. Witness Putin’s neo-stalinist dictatorship in Russia!The ANC needs to remember what they were elected to do. Not just to provide a benign investment climate for multi-nationals at the expense of the workers! John

  3. Tony Snelling Berg says:

    Kia Ora, Would it be a good idea to send a letter again and signed by as many as possible Kiwi’s? Tony.

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