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Anti-apartheid campaigners support anti-corruption efforts

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Fortieth Anniversary of the Anti-Apartheid Movement in Bermuda: The South African flag flies at City Hall
Human Rights Commission (File image)

A joint statement backed by the Bermuda Human Rights Commission offers support to the people of South Africa following the imprisonment of the country’s former President Jacob Zuma.

The letter is signed by several prominent members of Bermuda’s community who on June 26 observed the 40th anniversary of the launch of the anti-apartheid movement in Bermuda. Their joint statement is being sent to South Africa’s embassy in Washington DC.

Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for contempt of court after refusing to appear before a corruption inquiry.

The letter reads: “This ruling resonates with the spirit of the Global Movement that – after much struggle and loss – ended the brutal system of Apartheid. It is also in concert with the expressed commitment and the restorative practices recently adopted by the current President of South Africa, Cyril Ramophosa.

“Mr Ramaphosa visited Bermuda in April 1990 as a member of the South African Liberation Movement Team which quietly negotiated with the Apartheid Government Team at the former Lantana Hotel in Somerset. At the time he was serving as the President of the National Union of Mineworkers and General Secretary of the Coalition of South African Trade Unions.

“Through the local movement’s contacts with the British Anti-Apartheid Movement, Mr Ramaphosa made time to quietly meet with a delegation of the local movement at the BIU [Bermuda Industrial Union] HQ.

“While we are somewhat saddened by this news, we are encouraged by this ‘stand’ being taken on the part of those promoting the stewardship of the future for the ‘New’ South Africa.“

The letter highlights that Zuma had been the subject of two investigations by Thuli Madonsela, South Africa’s public defender/ombudsmen.

It said that in the second of the investigations, ‘State Capture’, Ms Madonsela recommended a Commission of Inquiry to further investigate her findings of corruption by Zuma and his sons among others.

The letter continues: “However, the former President refused to co-operate with that process. When required to attend the Constitutional Court to explain his actions, Zuma also refused to appear in court when summonsed to do so.

“Acting Chief Justice Sisi Khampepe was damning in her ruling regarding the former President’s reaction to the due process of the courts pointing out that Zuma’s statements and behaviour: ‘….constituted a calculated effort to impugn the integrity of the judiciary.’

“’I am left with no option but to commit Mr Zuma to imprisonment, with the hope that it sends an unequivocal message … the rule of law and administration of justice prevails.’”

The letter is signed by those who were either active in the local anti-apartheid movement or are currently serving with an organisation which supported the movement locally or globally.

They are: Alex Scott, the former Premier of Bermuda; Cheryl Pooley, former special assistant to the Opposition Leader; Arlene Brock, former ombudsman; Kevin Grant, general secretary for the Bermuda Public Service Union; Reverend Dr Larry Dixon, presiding elder of the AME Churches; Glenn Fubler, former Bermuda Union of Teachers president and former coordinator for the Anti-Apartheid Coalition; Ellen-Kate Horton, former BUT president and former Permanent Secretary of Education in Bermuda; Lynn Millett, former BIU chief shop steward; Canon Thomas Nisbett, former honorary chairman of the Anti-Apartheid Coalition; Philip Perinchief, former attorney-general; Donald Scott, former Cabinet secretary, and former finance secretary; Reverend David Steele, Pastor at Wesley Methodist Church; Calvin Shabazz, sensei of martial arts; and Alvin Williams, former shop steward and writer for Workers’ Voice.

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Published July 06, 2021 at 7:54 am (Updated July 06, 2021 at 7:54 am)

Anti-apartheid campaigners support anti-corruption efforts

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