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Nokuthula Simelane memorial in Bethal, Mpumalanga, vandalised

Khulumani is deeply shocked by the news of the destruction of the memorial statue in Bethal, Mpumalanga of Comrade Nokuthula Simelane, beloved daughter of Khulumani member, Mrs Ernestinah Simelane. The statue was broken from its base in the early hours of Tuesday morning, January 25, 2011, and dragged behind a vehicle in the streets of Bethal, causing extensive damage to the statue.

Bethal, Mpumalanga provinceKhulumani is deeply shocked by the news of the destruction of the memorial statue in Bethal, Mpumalanga of Comrade Nokuthula Simelane, beloved daughter of Khulumani member, Mrs Ernestinah Simelane. The statue was broken from its base in the early hours of Tuesday morning, January 25, 2011, and dragged behind a vehicle in the streets of Bethal, causing extensive damage to the statue.

Khulumani deeply regrets this act of vandalism and what it symbolises of the 'unrepentant' attitudes of some South Africans who have never appreciated the huge cost paid by a few for the freedom of our country in the struggle that sought to make it a place where people of all races might find a home.

Nokuthula Simelane was one of those who made personal courageous sacrifices. Two white men have been arrested in the case. They appeared briefly in the Bethal Magistrate's Court on Thursday. The case will proceeed on March 14, 2011.

The actions of these two men have the potential to undo the hard work of individuals who have served the country as 'reparative leaders'. They include the former President, Mr Nelson Mandela, whose state of health is particularly fragile at present. As we think of him with deep gratitude and appreciation for his life of sacrifice and service, we demand that all South Africans respect those who have paid so high a price for our freedom.

The Preamble to our Constitution reminds us of this commitment which informs Khulumani's broad programmes for justice for victims of apartheid atrocities as it strives to restore the dignity of victims of apartheid oppression and violence and to heal the past in order to build an inclusive and just future.

Nokuthula's life reminds us of this call as we honour her memory and as we join in sending Madiba our wishes for the restoration of his health at this time.

In re-committting ourselves to the aspirations made explicit in the Preamble to our Constitution, we also remember and honour the 1,500 others whose enforced disappearances during apartheid, have yet to be resolved.

This coming week, starting on Wednesday, February 2, 2011, Khulumani's programme to expand its work on resolving enforced disappearances from apartheid political violence, continues with a capacity building and knowledge-sharing workshop in Vryburg in North West Province.

Nokuthula Simelane "disappeared" as a result of a meeting to which she had been called in the underground car park of the Carlton Centre, Central Johannesburg. She was at the time a university student in Swaziland and was a courier for the ANC. Her enforced disappearance has never been resolved. While certain security police took responsibility for her torture on a remote farm in North West Province and received amnesty for her torture, no-one has come forward to take responsibility for her disappearance.

Nokuthula's case is one in respect of which the members of the South African Coalition on Transitional Justice are lobbying the National Prosecuting Authority to honour their promise to prosecute those cases for which perpetrators have failed to take responsibility or to receive amnesty. A failure to build an accountable society in which all people experience equal justice and equality before the law, will undermine the possibility of building a just society.

___________

So we remember and declare that:

We, the people of South Africa,

Recognise the injustices of our past;

Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;

Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and

Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to ­

  • Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;
  • Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;
  • Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and
  • Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.

May God protect our people.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso.

God seën Suid-Afrika. God bless South Africa.

Mudzimu fhatutshedza Afurika. Hosi katekisa Afrika.

In re-committting ourselves

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