For the first time in 20 years New Zealanders will picket a South African government institution in Auckland tomorrow in protest at yesterday’s killing of striking mine-workers by South African police.
The appalling scenes where up to 18 workers were shot dead are reminiscent of the darkest days of apartheid – the Sharpeville massacre of 1960 and the murder of black school children in Soweto in June 1976 come immediately to mind.
The precise details of the killings are unclear but irrespective of this the blame lies squarely with the ANC government which has been in power for 18 years while conditions have become worse for most South Africans.
The mineworkers strike and the struggle for decent housing, health, incomes and education are the same struggles the ANC once supported but have turned their backs on since gaining power.
They have betrayed the core principles of the historic “Freedom Charter” and instead followed free-market economic policies which has meant little change in the lives of the poorest South Africans while a wealthy elite, which includes a few black faces now, has become obscenely rich.
Race-based apartheid has been replaced with economic apartheid.
New Zealanders didn’t protest on the streets to pave the way for a small number of black millionaires to be created at the expense of the majority.
Last year in a withering attack on the ANC Bishop Desmond Tutu said the ANC government was in some ways worse than the old apartheid regime and told South African President Jacob Zuma that the day would come when people would pray for the defeat of the ANC.
For many that day can’t come soon enough.
The picket will be held outside the new South African consulate in Auckland at 1 Kimberley Road, Epsom, Auckland from 2pm tomorrow, Saturday 18th August.
Included on the picket line will be some veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle.