Viva Satawu Viva
Long live international solidarity
Viva Rubin Phillip Viva!
Panzi lamsak Mbeki panzi
Viva Afriforum Viva!
Mhambi feels so pround of Satawu (The South African Transport and Allied workers Union) today. But not only them, but plaudits go to Rubin Phillip, the Anglican archbishop of KwaZulu-Natal, and Gerald Patrick Kearney, ably assisted by the Southern African Litigation Center and Judge Pillay.
Consider the evidence. When the Chinese 'gun' ship An Yeu Jiang's deadly Zimbabwe bound cargo was exposed, our president Mbeki was asked if he knew:
"Well, ask the Chinese ambassador," he said. "Durban harbour handles goods for many countries on the continent. If you say there are weapons that have arrived from China in the Durban harbour, I think you should ask the Chinese. There might be a consignment of coal that is being exported to the Congo or something; it is a port, those weapons would have had nothing to do with South Africa. I really don't know what Zimbabwe imports from China or what China imports from Zimbabwe."
Cue Randall Howard, general secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union. He said the dock workers had no intention of allowing the cargo to be unloaded. “If they bring in replacement labor to do the work, our members will not stand and look at them and smile,” he said.
Very refreshing and to the point. Not a little Macho. On the side of right. I like it. Bravo!
“For the South African government to actively facilitate the transfer of arms in these circumstances is a violation of its constitutional obligations and an abdication of its regionally mandated role to bring about a peaceful resolution of the crisis,” said Nicole Fritz, who heads the litigation center. Say it again sister.
The government had not only approved the shipments, they had arranged for their transport. And one Sydney Mufamadi, one of the mediators in the crises was involved in approving the shipment.
It's almost a pity that the arms was never allowed to leave port. Because Afriforum, the Afrikaner civil rights organisation had promised to make life hard for it all the way to the border. What a tantalising visual spectical that would have been.
As rugby has shown, theres nothing like a bit of controlled violence for a good cause to bring South Africans together.
This was an important victory for civil society in this country and more proof of how strong it is. Sociologist Andries Bezuidenhout has said before that it was a blessing that the ANC 's Mk was such a poor military force, and that the UDF was forced to make the case against apartheid internally and did so successfully.
Compare with Zimbabwe, where Mugabe won power by military means, and not by the people. How seductive that military instrument became.
Power through the people tends to be a bit harder to control. It has a mind of its own.
As Frederik van Zyl Slabbert says, we don't even know who is head of the SA army is today. We are not a militarised society. Were a society where citizens can have their say. So say it loud and clear.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Viva Satawu Viva