Shange relieved to be back in SA

2013-07-15 23:29

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Johannesburg - Swedish-born Wasp member Liv Shange expressed relief on Monday for being allowed back into South Africa on a tourist permit after being refused entry in June.

"It's strange and different to what I was told on 20 June," the mother of three said in a telephone interview with Sapa.

"Them allowing me back is quite a turn... but I am relieved and happy that my children can go back to school on time."

Shange arrived back on Sunday ahead of the new school term.

She is a member of the Democratic Socialist Movement and the Workers' and Socialist Party (Wasp), and got married to South African Xolani Shange in December 2004.

Shange and her children visited her parents in Sweden in June during the school holiday. They were meant to return on 14 July.

But when she attempted to get back into the country, she was turned away. She said authorities would not even look at her documents.

"I was very upset. My main worry was that it would be protracted, but I maintained hope that it will be resolved."

Now she believes the campaign which called for her re-entry into the country put pressure on home affairs officials to rethink their decision.

Wasp had petitioned authorities and questioned the reasons behind the refusal as Shange had been at the forefront of organising striking mineworkers in the North West and Gauteng.

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

Last month, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe blamed the anarchy in the platinum mines on foreign nationals, and particularly singled out the Swedes and the Irish, reported the IOL website.

"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."

Shange found it "strange" that this happened after Mantashe's comments, but stressed that she had also had a difficult time with home affairs previously.

And despite being back at home, Shange's problems are not over.

She still has more battles ahead relating to her visa and citizenship status.

Home Affairs had told her she needed to have held a temporary visa permit for over five years of marriage before gaining permanent citizenship.

But in 2010, Shange was mugged and her passport and temporary visa stolen.

"I had just completed the five years when the visa was stolen... And again I am told to get a temporary permit sorted out first before applying for permanent residence. So I've been stuck with that."

Shange has now set up a meeting with home affairs officials to deal with the problem.

Read more on:    gwede mantashe  |  johannesburg  |  marikana inquiry

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