Thanks from the Shackdwellers of South Africa
16 September 2011
Dear Friends of Abahlali,
This note serves to inform you that I am now back in South Africa and had a very safe travel. The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) did not phone or worry me this time around.
I also wish to extend my endless gratitude to all the families who have hosted me in the comfort of their families. Especial thanks goes to Global Peace and Justice, Auckland, the Unite Union, John Minto and Bronwen, Jared Phillips, Andrew Tait, Michael Herman, Christine Dann and Martin, Robbie Shilliam, Dion Martin, Rex Begley, Kevin and Diane, Dr Ali Memon (Lincoln University), Joe Carolan and Socialist Aotearoa.
I had a wonderful time with you all, full of learnings, adventures and pleasure. More importantly you have taken much of your time with me, listening to what I had to say and taking action on it. Abahlali appreciate that. I was moved by the fact that just before I had left your country already words and petitions of solidarity with Abahlali and the poor people of South Africa were in action. Abahlali friends were signing up in their numbers. This is very good for the movement of the shack dwellers, a movement that has given hope to millions of South Africans. Many of you are aware that John Minto had facilitated the meeting between myself and South Africa High Commissioner to New Zealand, Mr. Anthony Mongalo which took place on Monday, 12 September 2011 in Wellington. The meeting went very well and the commissioner was going to send all our concerns as discussed to the Pretoria office in South Africa. He said he was also going to write a report on that matter to his Ministry in South Africa. It became very clear to me that Mr. Mongale has high regard for New Zealanders' role in the fight against apartheid. So, this suggests greater chances of success in your effort from your side. It seems South Africa is not prepared to let your effort for a free South Africa down.
The opportunity to share with you, especially elderly people, about the 1981 Springbok Tour protest was so touching. The commitment, the courage and the sacrifice you have shown and the high price you have paid for the people of South Africa were very moving and encouraging. I have so much to report to Abahlali and the other movements here in South Africa. The Mercury newspaper (a provincial newspaper here based in Durban) has followed the example of the media of New Zealand and published my speech delivered in Auckland and other cities. This has added a lot of publicity to the visit on this side as well.
I was honoured to be part of the Maori community of Ruatoki 17 comrades who are like the Kennedy 12 in our situation here in SA and whose charges were formal dropped by the High Court in Auckland. We know that the struggle is not over up until everyone is free. We stand in solidarity with the remaining four comrades who are due to be trialed later this year.
Again if there something we can do please do not hesitate to let us know. We will do whatever it takes to highlight our concerns with your Embassy here in South Africa. But we will be guided by your thoughts and desires on how we should procede.
We will just wait for any development and impact provoked by my visit to you and share that with you all.
Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA. (President)