Media: Poor are worse off now, says activist

19 04 2009
April 15, 2009 Edition 1
Francis Hweshe
Source: Cape Argus

Just before bedding down for the night on a pavement in Delft, a veteran New Zealand anti-apartheid activist said that despite democracy in South Africa, there was greater economic inequality now than under white minority rule.

John Minto, in the country for the first time, made headlines last year when he rejected then-president Thabo Mbeki’s nomination for the Companions of Oliver Tambo Award.

In rejecting it, he wrote to Mbeki that “it seems the entire economic structure which underpinned apartheid is essentially unchanged. Oppression based on race has morphed seamlessly into oppression based on economic circumstances”.

Commenting on the timing of his first visit to South Africa, Minto said it was a mere coincidence that it co-incided with the coming elec-tions on April 22.

He said the purpose of his visit was to see “what has happened 15 years on and what has changed for the most vulnerable”. He said he wanted to take a message home for those who had fought against apartheid.

Asked whether his anti-ANC stance regarding the party’s social and economic policies had changed, he said: “The faces at the top have changed from white to black but the substance of change is an illusion.” Read the rest of this entry »


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