anti-xenophobia action – update

Winning a war, hard as it may be, is just the beginning.

Creating a different society is not only harder but requires resilience, courage, conviction

– perhaps much more than the initial struggle eve -demanded.

– Haydee Santamaria

So, my sisters and brothers we begin yet again in this journey which does not have an end. We continue to seek ways of speaking not only of the multiple traumas we suffer in our society but to find a language that help us come closer to an understanding of the problem and the challenges we face. For many, there has been no break of course, the struggle has been relentless – we move into this carrying the scars of yesterday. I think that just how it is…

Yesterday we met at 13:30 in CGE Boardroom. Thank you to sisters and brothers who turned up at short notice. The discussion was very productive. We looked at the immediate situation and balanced it with medium and short term. We will circulate the notes from the meeting and see what we can do to take things from there. Many people have responded with practical assistance and I would like to direct them to the relevant structures that handle this.

I will be talking to the Department of Social Development focal person in Gauteng to ensure that we are clear of the places of contact and how to offer assistance in a structured manner. Thanks to those who took up the challenge yesterday and have already been in touch with the DSOC person in Jeppe. Sanitary wear, toiletries, baby formula, blankets and food supply has been received. Much more is needed, I am afraid.

We are finalising the fact sheet and we will be circulating it to all colleagues. The Fact Sheet contains inter alia, basic provisions needed, the stance of government on ‘foreign nationals’ (I hate this label), the situation on identity documentation and the assistance to victims of violence in police stations etc. We would like you to circulate this fact sheet and help us to develop it further.

The Legal Working Group of the Chapter 9 Institutions has already been set up. Nomazotsho Memani-Balani (Commissioner of the CGE) is chairing it and it comprises the South African Human Rights Commission and other civil society organisations. I say ‘other civil society organisations’ because I do not want to leave any organisation out. Please, we need the affidavits of victims and people who have been turned away from places of shelter, especially those owned by government. Amongst other things, this Committee is taking up issues of access and administration to justice, including exploring the special and extra-ordinary courts. We’ll circulate the special hot line number and where affidavits must be submitted.

Understanding the nature of the conflict and its causes is another area that is emerging strongly. The Community Liaison Working Group will be set up within the next few days to explore the different platforms and dialogues that must be set up. The CGE and SAHRC will announce its composition and TORs.

Let us know of other initiatives and let us keep talking of ways in which we can together stop the breakdown of the moral imperative for which all fought so hard for. We need courage now and a stubborn belief in the right to human dignity for all of us.

In struggle and solidarity,



Posted on 23 May 2008, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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