Man to fight for activist wife's return

2013-07-08 16:33

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Johannesburg - The husband of one of the foreign nationals thought to be behind the Marikana uprising, Liv Shange, will take court action if his Swedish wife and their three children are not allowed back into SA.

Last month, ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe blamed the anarchy at Marikana on foreign nationals, and particularly singled out the Swedes and the Irish, reported the IOL website.

"I'm thinking that I will be exploring legal steps if she is not allowed to return to the country," a worried Xolani Shange told Sapa on Monday in a telephone interview.

"The home affairs department had been giving her problems in the past. When she came to South Africa they put a stamp for a tourist inside her visa."

That stamp had been the cause of many problems.

Liv and her three children are currently visiting her parents in Sweden.

They went there for the school holiday, and were meant to return on 14 July so the children could return to school the following day.

The Swedish-born woman is a member of the Democratic Socialist Movement and the Workers' and Socialist Party (Wasp), and got married to South African Shange in December 2004.

Shange because of her visa.

She had eventually obtained a temporary visa, but did not renew it.

"The problem was she did not apply for permanent citizenship because of the visa... it had a tourist stamp on it," he said.

Shange said he had not been contacted by the home affairs department about his wife not being able to return to the country.

"I haven't had any discussion with them. What I know is what has been said in the newspaper."

He had, however, spoken to Liv recently.

"Yes I spoke to her. She is in the process of re-applying for the visa. Basically, that information [that she is unable to get into the country] is coming from the department of home affairs who spoke to the journalists," said Shange.

"She never told me that someone told her that. What we know is that there's been a challenge with her visa. The whole issue is that the home affairs must rectify that problem."

He said when she approached the South African embassy in Sweden, she was told to re-apply for the visa because "they say she is a tourist in South Africa".

She is in the process of applying for a new visa.

Lonmin strike

Liv has been at the forefront of organising striking mineworkers in the North West and Gauteng, according to a report by IOL.

On 16 August, 34 striking miners were shot dead by police near the Lonmin Platinum mine. An inquiry into the matter is pending.

"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," Mantashe was quoted as saying.

"They are a force behind the anarchy that is happening in the platinum industry."

According to the Business Report, there was also an Irish connection at the Wasp launch, in the form of Joe Higgins, a Socialist Party member of the Irish parliament, who had connections with South Africa and with the local union movement.

Liv told the newspaper she had a spousal visa in her passport which got lost when she was mugged in 2010.

Visa application

Attempts to get the visa re-issued proved fruitless because "they couldn’t find my file".

She suspected she might be a victim of political persecution, but believed the loss of the file could also be a matter of bureaucratic bungling.

Home affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa declined to comment directly about Liv, but gave a broad comment on the matter.

"The department of home affairs has a responsibility to ensure everybody that comes into the country does so legally and in full compliance with the Immigration Act," he said.

"Should it be found that an individual is inside the country in contravention of the act, our home affairs inspectorate unit will be expected to enforce the provisions of the law."

- SAPA
Read more on:    wasp  |  gwede mantashe  |  johannesburg  |  marikana inquiry
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