/ 5 June 2012

Walter Sisulu in surprise call from jail

A message smuggled out of prison from African National Congress leader Walter Sisulu was read out at a June 16 commemoration service this week.

In it, Sisulu, who is serving a life sentence in Pollsmoor Prison, endorsed growing opposition resistance to foreign funding of anti-apartheid activity in the country. And the former ANC secretary general backed the United Democratic Front’s campaign to isolate vigilantes.

Sisulu’s surprise message, “backed by all our leaders in Pollsmoor and on Robben Island”, was delivered by General and Allied Workers Union president Samson Ndou to nearly 1 000 people at a South African Youth Day commemoration service held at the Lenasia Civic Centre outside Johannesburg.

“I bring you a message from Walter Sisulu in Pollsmoor Prison,” Ndou told the meeting this week. “Sisulu tells us that in 1960, when the ANC was banned, our people went to the West to ask for help. That request was shunned – but our struggle continued and has entered a new phase. “Today those same people, who shunned us in 1960, are coming to us with dollars in their back pockets and ideas on how to solve our problems. We do not need them – we will win our struggle ourselves.”

Ndou added that Sisulu had called on all progressive forces “to close ranks to force all vigilantes out of our streets, our townships, our villages.” Ndou, who is also the vice-president of the Transvaal Indian Congress, said black leaders in South Africa would talk to State President PW Botha only on their own terms and in their own time.  

This article originally appeared in the Weekly Mail newspaper