Shange back 'to fight for the workers'

15 July 2013 - 03:03 By KATHARINE CHILD
Activist Liv Shange after arriving at OR Tambo International airport yesterday with her children Nomanyano, 5, and Nila, 8. She was welcomed by members of the Workers' and Socialist Party
Activist Liv Shange after arriving at OR Tambo International airport yesterday with her children Nomanyano, 5, and Nila, 8. She was welcomed by members of the Workers' and Socialist Party
Image: LAUREN MULLIGAN

Activist Liv Shange arrived back in South Africa yesterday and vowed to continue her fight for workers' rights in the mines, in the platinum belt and beyond.

She and her political party had expressed concern that she would be denied entry to South Africa after she had difficulty getting a visa and was blamed by the ANC for strife in the platinum belt.

Shange has been married to a South African for nine years and has lived here since 2003.

She is a founder of the newly formed Workers' and Socialist Party, much of the membership of which is drawn from the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union.

Shange was granted a spousal visa after her marriage in 2004 but her passport was stolen in 2010.

She has been waiting for a new visa for her passport since 2011.

She had not had difficulty travelling on the strength of her pending application until recently.

Last month Shange was fined about R2000 when she arrived in Sweden because her tourist visa had expired.

She was told by the South African embassy that she could not return to South Africa with her three children at the end of the school holidays but would have to re-apply for a spousal visa.

Shange has been singled out by ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe as being behind the strife in Marikana.

"What is happening in Marikana ... I can give you what comes out of that information. Anarchy, anarchy, anarchy - driven by people who are from far away. Sweden, Irish," said Mantashe in June.

When pressed, Mantashe said: "The reality is that it is a Swedish citizen who is at the centre of anarchy in the platinum belt. I did not suck it out of my thumb."

Shange spoke out yesterday against the recent mining peace accord, saying it did not benefit the workers.

Amcu workers did not sign the agreement brokered by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

Shange vowed to keep fighting for better pay for mineworkers and is joining Amcu in its demand for a minimum R12500 a month for miners.

"I will continue to play a role, as I have always done in Marikana, creating unity among mineworkers."

She slammed Matashe's comments.

"Blaming foreigners for strikes is an insult to the workers."

Shange said she was not surprised by reports that she was being investigated by state security agencies.

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