Veteran activists in action
Three Black Sash stalwarts again stood in protest this week in a landmark action. The anti-apartheid organisation was founded in 1955 to defend the Constitution against the Nationalist government. Veterans Rosemary Smith, Adrienne Whisson and Kay Marx on Tuesday held placards in protest outside Makana Municipality’s Finance Department.
For the past two weeks, a group of activists has been staging daily protests and inviting passers by to sign a petition calling for the dissolution of the Makana Council in terms of Section 139(1)(c). They cite numerous infrastructural and administrative failures, including alleged unpaid debt to Eskom leading the entity to threaten power cuts to the city from 4 December. The trio have held placards at other political landmarks, such as at the 2011 military parade bestowing Freedom of the City on then president Jacob Zuma, once again red-flagging Constitutional abuses.
In April 2017 they staged a silent protest outside the Cathedral as part of the national #Savesa campaign following Zuma’s reshuffling of the Cabinet. On that occasion Smith, a Black Sash trustee, held a poster that read, ‘When will you hear, Mr Zuma?’ It mirrored the one she had held in the same spot during a vigil in the 80s that said, ‘Mr Botha, when will you hear?’ when the apartheid president declared a state of emergency .
This week, Smith said of the protest and the petition, “I understand that there are challenges and difficulties, but this is abuse of the community.
“We felt we had to take a stand again.”