South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) is demanding apology from the US after its prominent leader Tokyo Sexwale was detained by US emigration last week.
The politician cum businessman Sexwale was detained after landing in the US because he is listed on American terrorism watch list. The listing is hangover from the apartheid past. Taking a cue from the National Party government the US listed South Africa’s freedom fighters and mainly members of ANC’s military wing uMkhonto Wesizwe (MK) as terrorists. This is despite the fact that the United Nations had characterised the apartheid system as a crime against humanity.
Sexwale who has become one of the wealthiest businessmen in Africa was a member of MK. He remains an active politician and was appointed minister of human settlement in 2009 when President Jacob Zuma’s became President. He was fired recently when Zuma conducted a cabinet reshuffling.
The ANC said in a statement it condemns the detention Sexwale. “Comrade Tokyo Sexwale is a former Minister of a democratic Republic of South Africa, a decorated freedom fighter, activist and leader of our liberation movement, not a terrorist”.
The very fact that the Government of America continues to view members and leaders of the African National Congress as terrorists is an affront to the global anti-apartheid movement, in which many compatriots from the United Nations including that country’s sitting President, were part of”.
The African National Congress toiled selflessly with the people of America, despite their government’s opposition at the time, for the liberation of the people of South Africa”.
The ANC added that “In 1966, Resolution 2202 A (XXI) of the United Nations General Assembly, labelled apartheid as a crime against humanity. It is inconceivable therefore that today, the African National Congress and/or its members and leaders, who were at the forefront of the struggle against apartheid, are regarded as terrorists by America”.
“The African National Congress further calls upon the US to remove from its terrorist profiling lists all those included because they fought against apartheid. We would have expected the United States to honour these freedom fighters of our people rather than what is being done to them now”.
The ANC described the detention as an “affront on the rights and dignity of Comrade Tokyo Sexwale”. It added that the detention necessitates an unconditional apology to him and the people of South Africa from the US administration”.