Bio of famous New Zealand anti-apartheid activist who is to visit AEC communities today

14 04 2009

AEC Note: Famous anti-apartheid activist John Minto will be visiting Anti-Eviction Campaign communities on April 14 and April 15.  He will be sleeping on Symphony Way today (April 14) in solidarity with the Symphony Way residents.  He can be interviewed in person on Symphony Way between April 14 at 15h00 and April 15 at 10h00.

To interview Mr Minto and for more information, contact Ashraf at 076 186 1408 or Mncedisi at 079 305 1066 between the hours of 15h00 today and 10h00 tomorrow.

Short bio on John Minto:

John Minto is visiting to South Africa for two weeks from 12 to 26 April.

John is a political activist who was spokesperson for HART – the New Zealand Anti-Apartheid Movement during the 1980s and was the public face of the campaign to stop the 1981 Springbok tour to New Zealand. (He was arrested numerous times during the protests and has a medium-sized criminal record!)

Early last year there was public controversy when he wrote a letter to Thabo Mbeki rejecting a nomination for the Companion of OR Tambo Award as he said the anti-apartheid campaign was not waged simply to enrich a few black millionaires but to bring economic and social change to benefit all South Africans (M&G article).

He is very critical of the economic policies of the ANC, in particular it’s reliance on free-market strategies which wherever they have been applied bring wealth to the few at the expense of the many.

After completing a physics degree John trained as a high school teacher and has taught most of the last 25 years. However he currently works for Unite Union – a trade union for low-paid workers in New Zealand. He is a spokesperson for Global Peace and Justice Auckland and the Quality Public Education Coalition.

It is John’s first visit to South Africa. The main purpose of the visit is to see first hand the development of post-apartheid South Africa and meet with groups struggling for a better deal under ANC policies. For example he will visit groups such as Abahlali baseMjondolo (the Durban-based shack-dwellers movement), Western Cape Anti-Eviction Campaign, the Anti-Privatisation Forum and meet with union representatives and activists in Ditsela (Development Institute for Training, Support and Education for Labour). He will address two university-based seminars – in Durban and East London.

He will also be meeting with South African activists from the sports boycott era.

John is 55 years old with two teenage boys and lives in Auckland.


Four Day Rolling Picket by the LPM at the Johannesburg High Court

14 04 2009
Press Statement from the Protea South Branch of the Landless People’s Movement
Sunday, 12 April 2009

As the Protea South branch of the Landless People’s Movement we have been resisting forced removal totransit camps and to the human dumping ground of Doornkop, demanding basic services and organising a bottom up democratic poor people’s politics against top down oppression by councillors and the police that beat people on their orders.

The middle class residents, in their privatised bond houses, want to deny us the right to live here in Protea South. The councillor is, as they always are, on the side of the middle class. The councillor, together with the police, wants to deny us the right to organise here. Our marches have been banned and we have been assaulted. It has become clear that democracy will not be given to us by politicians and the police – democracy is something that we will have to build in our struggle against the politicians and the police.
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