Wednesday, March 26, 2014


(Ms Thuli Madonsela) By Subry Govender Corruption! Do you want to be shocked more? If you think corruption is rife in our beautiful South Africa following the report by the Public Protector, Ms Thuli Madonsela, on Nkandlagate last week, then you have to watch the Tamil movie, NIMIRNDHU NIL (STANDUP SRAIGHT), now showing at the Ster Kinekor at Gateway. The movie portrays the struggles of a few people, led by a new graduate, in fighting bribery and corruption that is eating away the souls of people. From the ordinary traffic cop, to the police commander, judge, doctor, officials in government departments - the ordinary many has to pay every step of the way. If you don't pay the traffic cop, your key is taken and your bike is confiscated. When you go the police station, the commander there is also on the take, then when you appear before the judge, the judge is also on the take, and then when you go to the government official for a medical cerificate - the doctor is also on the take. But not all people are corrupt. There are some good officials both in and outside state departments. What this film portrays is that those who have the money to pay - get on with their lives, while those who have no money or refuse to pay - life becomes one huge hurdle. We have not yet reached that stage in South Africa. One just hopes that the powers that be will live up to the moral values and principles of Ms Thuli Madonsela and put processes in place to eradicate this menace from developing to the state where the people of Indian find themselves in.

Monday, March 24, 2014


(Art work by Shan Sundaram) By Subry Govender The South African Tamil Federation (SATF) has supported moves by the United States, United Kingdom and other countries to call for an international and independent commission of inquiry into the allegations of human rights violations of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The SATF's support is contained in a letter submitted on Monday this week to the United Nations Human Rights Council session which is currently being held in Geneva, Switzerland. A resolution for an international and independent inquiry is most likely to be adopted at the UNHCR session on Friday this week. South Africa has not yet announced what its position will be on the resolution but according to recent pronouncements by the Department of International Relations, the country's delegate at the UNHCR will most likely either abstain or vote for the resolution. South Africa will not vote against the resolution. The plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka has become a major issue at the UNHCR session in Geneva following claims that between 70 000 and 100 000 Tamils were slaughtered during the last days of the civil war in 2009 by Government soldiers. (Art work by Shan Sundaram) Tamil leaders in the North and East of Sri Lanka and in the Tamil diaspora in England, United States, Canada, Australia and other countries have also claimed that since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in 2009, the violation of human rights through land invasions of Tamil areas in the North and East, desecration of religious sites, arrest and torture of civilians and the rapes of women have continued unabated. The situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka had also become a major issue during the Commonwealth Conference held in Colombo, capital of Sri Lanka, late last year. During the conference, President Jacob Zuma was quoted as saying that South Africa would help Sri Lanka to set up a South African-style Truth and Reconciliation Commission(TRC) to promote peace, unity and justice. During his state of the nation address recently, Zuma also announced the appointment of ANC Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, as a Special Envoy to Sri Lanka in order to help in promoting a political solution. The SATF said in the letter to the UNHCR that it supported, in addition to the independent inquiry, the holding of an internationally-supervised referendum among Sri Lankan Tamils inside and outside the country so that Tamils could decide their own political future. The SATF, among other points of concern, said: "There can be no reconciliation without the full investigation into the atrocities and senseless killings executed by the Sri Lankan Government soldiers. Those responsible must be called to account by an international and independent commission of inquiry. "Successive governments in Sri Lanka and the current Rajapakse regime do not recognise the Tamil people's rights to freedom but treat the Tamils as second and third class citizens. "The South African Tamil Federation calls for United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon's independent panel of expert's findings into gross human rights violations in Sri Lanka to be recognized and addressed by the Sri Lankan Government as a matter of urgency. "The South African Tamil Federation calls on the South African Government, its' neighbours and all world leaders to hold the moral high ground and vote in favour of the UNHRC resolutions. "In finding a lasting political solution, one needs to first acknowledge the origins of the struggle of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and address the discrimination and systematic oppression by their own Government - the Government of Sri Lanka." ends - ms/dbn

Friday, March 21, 2014


On the day when we as South Africans are celebrating and observing Human Rights Day, let us remember the continued oppression of people in many parts of the world. One such country where people are being colonised and where their human rights are violated is Sri Lanka. Tamils in their homeland of North and East of Sri Lanka are continuing to suffer at the hands of Sri Lankan soldiers following the mass slaughter of between 70 000 and 100 000 Tamils in the last days of the civil war in 2009. Here's a latest story of the continued oppression of Tamil people in Sri LankA. The following information was sent by S A N Rajkumar, a Tamil activist. TAMIL MOTHER AND DAUGHTER DETAINED AND TORTURED IN KILINOCHCHI THIS MONTH
The real story of Balendren Jeyakumary and her 13 years old daughter P.Vibushikka both of who were taken into custody on 13.03.2014. After having lunch at about 3.30pm when Vibushikka was at the door a stranger wearing maroon color T shirt and black trouser carrying back pack stormed into the house saying “if you shout I will strangle your neck”. Both mother and daughter came out of the house shouting for help. Just at the time 4-5 men in uniform came through the gate and the women told these persons that there is a stranger inside. One of the uniformed men went inside and after a while they heard a gun shot . The uniform man came outside with the stranger without any injury and without any apparent hurry. Thereafter other 2 uniform person also went inside. Only at that time both women became aware that large force of armed army and police personnel had surrounded their house. Thereafter both women were taken to the joining land but the mother was permitted to lock the house. Only then that they realized that the household goods had been ransacked and the entire contents of almirahs and cupboards including jewelery boxes put on the ground. The uniformed men forcibly took 3 savings bank books, identity card and 2 mobile phones from the women. Out on the adjoining land the mother was intimidated to give some information which the mother stated she did not know. She was abused,insulted and assaulted by the uniform people and they were taken by army jeep. There were no women police or women army personnel to accompany the two women and were taken the Kilinochchi police station where they were interrogated. They were not given any refreshment of food for the night. At about 11o'clock the mother and daughter had been chained by one and same hand cuff. The child was threatened several time tell the truth and the mother was hit with boots. Mother was also held by the heir and hit on the face. The daughter fell a sleep 1 am but interrogation of the mother continued till morning. At about 8 am the daughter was separated from the mother and was questioned separately. At about 1 pm they were taken to Vavuniya judicial medical officer. The JMO asked questions in a threatening manner and were ordered to tell the truth. They were taken back to Vavuniya police and were made to sign some papers. At around 7 pm were taken to Kilinochchi and produced before the Kilinochchi acting Magistrate at about 10 pm. Thereafter the mother was permitted to be taken to Vavuniya TID and the daughter was handed over to the Probation department with the direction that she be admitted to Kilinochchi Hospital and to be produced in the Magistrate court of Kilinochchi on 17. 03. 2014. On 17. 03.2014 the court handed over the custody of the daughter to a children home. The mother is reported to be in the custody of TID at Boosa detention Camp.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

South African Tamil Federation(SATF) calls on Tamils to reflect on the struggles of Tamils in Sri Lanka on Human Rights Day on Friday, March 21

By Subry Govender The South African Tamil Federation(SATF), which represents the country's more than 650 000 people of Tamil origin, has called on Tamils to reflect on the struggles of Tamils in Sri Lanka as South Africa observes Human Rights Day on Friday, March 21. Recalling the struggles of South Africans and the victory over apartheid and white minority rule in 1994, Ms Sashnee Naiker, PRO of the SATF, said:
"The South African Tamil Federation would like to urge our people to reflect on the struggles that Tamilians in Sri Lanka face today. We have seen the pictures, read the updates on the UN Resolutions and know that the voices of our people have been silenced. We humbly request everyone to light a lamp on this day - paving a radiant freedom pathway for the people of Sri Lanka, so that they too can enjoy a privileged democracy." Tamils and other concerned people in South Africa are keeping close watch on the developments in Geneva where the United Nations Human Rights Council session is currently in progress. The UN Human Rights Council is expected to pass a resolution on Friday, March 28 calling for an international and independent investigation into the human rights violations that took place towards the end of the civil war in 2009. International human rights and other concerned organisations have estimated that between 70 000 and 100 000 Tamils were slaughtered by Sri Lankan soldiers in 2009.
The organisations claim that human rights violations are still continuing in Sri Lanka with the Tamil homelands in the North and East being invaded and colonised by Sri Lankan soldiers. Mass evictions, rapes, arrests, detentions and killings have become the order in many parts of the colonised areas. The organisations claim Tamils no longer feel free in their own homelands.
In addition to the calls for an independent and international investigation into the "war crimes", Tamil diaspora organisations have called for a referendum where Sri Lankan Tamils inside and outside the country could decide their own future. Representatives of the South African Government recently said they would be holding talks with all Sri Lankan role players in order to promote a political solution that would promote interests of the Tamil people. The ruling ANC's Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, would receive a delegation of the Tamil National Association(TNA) in Pretoria after March 28. He would then lead a delegation to Sri Lanka to conduct interviews and even visit the North and East of the island to talk to affected Tamils. Ramaphosa would be accompanied by Deputy Minister of International Relations, Mr Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, and senior Government officials.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

South Africa: 20 years of freedom The youth will not be easily manipulated during the forthcoming 5th democratic elections since 1994

(The late first president of free South Africa, Nelson Mandela, is the icon of the youth) By Subry Govender Over the past 20 years - ever since the dawn of freedom in April 1994 - South Africa has made tremendous progress in all sectors of life in the country. But at the same time, the country faces a number of challenges, especially poverty and rising unemployment. Inequality between the haves and have nots have also increased sharply. The country faces these challenges at a time when the ruling ANC and other political parties are embroiled in vicious electioneering for the 5th democratic general elections. How do the people, especially the youth, view the past 20 years of freedom and what are their views on the elections scheduled for May 7?
(Ms Nomzamo Zondi) "I can definitely attest to the fact that South Africa has been better since 1994," says 27-year-old Ms Nomzamo Zondi, a public relations consultant who lives in the district of Amotana, near Verulam, north of Durban. She added: "I read more of the history of what happened during the apartheid era, and if I compare to what we have now, I can see that we have more freedom of speech and rights as in the constitution. But at the same time we have challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment and there's more to be done." Ms Zondi was only seven-years-old when South Africa attained its freedom 20 years ago. As a young girl and while still at school she lost her mother and elder sister to tuberculosis. A few years ago, another sister, younger than her, succumbed to a heart attack. Ms Zondi, barely in her teens, became the guardian of three nephews and one niece. But despite the hardships of being in charge of a child-headed home, she persevered with her studies and graduated in communications. Today she works as a social and community consultant in the Port Shepstone area of the province of KwaZulu-Natal - about 150 kilometres to the south of Durban. She believes the new South Africa has provided tremendous opportunities for the youth. The youth, therefore, must not sit back and wait for handouts but must create their own opportunities. "One thing I can say," she says, "is that as young people we also need to play a role". "We must not only be dependent. As young people what we yearn the most is economic freedom, so I think what we need to do is to play our role in the economic development by starting businesses. We must not only wait for assistance but we must commit ourselves to better our lives and the rest of the South Africans." Young Miss Zondi, like millions of South Africans, understands the political set up and would vote in the forthcoming elections - the fifth such general elections since 1994. In addition to the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality - she's also concerned about the run-away social evils of corruption and violent crime. "The late first president of our free South Africa, Baba Nelson Mandela is my icon," says Ms Zondi.
(Zwelithini Ncobela) Another young person who is also fully informed of the political situation is 24-year-old Zwelithini Ncobela, who works as a clerk and cashier in Durban. Coming from a rural background in Izingolweni near Port Shepstone, he wants to run a restaurant in a few years time to improve the lives of his family and siblings - two brothers and three sisters. He has no confidence in the current political leadership because of what he terms - politicians who enrich themselves, their families and friends. He wants to see changes after the elections. "I think the ANC, may be, can make something better by changing its leaders from top to bottom. I think the party for Malema is the best party for me now. I think he is the strong man. I believe in him. That man I think we all believe in him." Another young man I spoke to is 27-year-old Eddie Mthethwa who works as a receptionist at a gym in Durban although he has qualified as a logistics consultant. He comes from a family of two brothers, five sisters and his parents who live in an area called Inanda - north of Durban. He accepts that there have been positive changes in the country but he's concerned about the lack of opportunities for young qualified people like himself. He has very little faith in politicians. "The politicians," he says, "only use their positions to promote themselves and this is corruption". "we want corruption to be done away with." The young man has his own views on the forthcoming elections: "Ah let's just wait and see but I think Julius is promising but let's wait and see. He mustn't act like the other politicians."
(Snotty Mzuzephi Ntuli - a former activist) One of the people who has been an activist for freedom and democracy since his teens is 45-year-old Snotty Mzuzephi Ntuli. He joined the struggles while still at school as a member of the Congress of South African Students(COSAS) and since the early 1980s as an activist of the United Democratic Front(UDF). The father of five children, Ntuli hails from Osindisweni, near the north coast town of Verulam, about 30km from the city of Durban. He shares his humble homestead with two brothers, two sisters and his father. His mother passed away recently. He says he fought for freedom and democracy because "I wanted our African people and all other people to be free". "The ANC Government has done a lot for us over the past 20 years, giving us free education, free health services, and generally improving the lives of the people," he says. "But while we have made a lot of improvement I believe that those who have been nominated as councillors and members of parliament have forgotten about us. They are more concerned about improving their own lives and that of their families and friends. "I have still not lost my faith in the ANC because it is our organisation. I am only sad that after 20 years I am still working as a garage attendant and it seems that I am forgotten." Twenty years of freedom has certainly created a large section of the population - especially the youth - that is prepared to question the shortcomings and calling the powers that be to account for their actions. The youth, especially, appear not to be easily swayed or taken for granted by political parties and their leaders. They see most politicians as a bunch of greedy hogs and opportunists who want to fatten themselves at the expense of the masses. It seems the political parties - such as the main and ruling ANC, the Democratic Alliance or (DA), and Julius Malema's Economic Freedom Fighters - will not be able to easily manipulate voters this time round.

Monday, March 10, 2014


By Subry Govender The South African Tamil Federation (SATF), representing more than 700 000 Tamils in the country, has called on the international community to adopt a stronger stance regarding the oppression of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. The SATF made this call in a resolution adopted at its two-day "strategic conference" held at the Nt'Shonga Langa Conference Centre near the South African capital, Pretoria, on Saturday and Sunday, March 8 and 9. Delegates from throughout the country fully supported the struggles of Tamils in Sri Lanka when the resolution was passed. (Pix by Sashnee Naiker)
(SATF president, Mr Karthi Moothsamy, and secretary, G Ramaya-Pillay) The conference was convened by the newly-elected president, Mr Karthi Moothsamy, and his new officials to plan a future that would benefit all Tamils in the country. The conference said the SATF and the Tamil community had a responsibility to consolidate its approach and to speak in one voice on the issue of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.
The resolution stated: "As South Africans, we are regarded as the champions in upholding human rights. Not so long ago, as South Africans, we needed support from the rest of the world. Now, we need to mobilise people and form strategic partnerships to agitate more for an immediate end to the atrocities in Sri Lanka and to call on government and organisations globally to take a stronger position in regard to the plight of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka." The resolution adopted by the SATF follows hot on the heels of a meeting between leaders of the Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka(SGPJ) and two Government leaders in Durban last Thursday (March 6) on South Africa's stance at the current United Nations Human Rights session in Geneva, the genocide of between 70 000 and 100 000 Tamils during the last days of the civil war in 2009, and the continued oppression, land invasions and violation of human rights in the North and East of Sri Lanka. The two South African Government leaders, Mr Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of International Relations; and Mr Obed Bopela, Deputy Minister in President Jacob Zuma's presidency, and two other officials gave an undertaking that South Africa was concerned about the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka and, therefore, was involved in processes with the Sri Lankan Government to bring about a political solution that would benefit the Tamil people.
(Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of International Relations) They disclosed that the Deputy president of the ruling ANC, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, would lead a delegation to Sri Lanka conduct talk to all role players about a future political solution. Mr Ebrahim, who has been involved with Tamil Tiger leaders before the end of the civil war in 2009, would be one of the top Government leaders who would accompany Ramaphosa. Mr Ebrahim and Mr Bopela said a delegation of the Tamil National Association(TNA) would visit South Africa before Ramaphosa and his officials travel to Sri Lanka. They, however, did not give any indication as to how South Africa would vote at the Geneva session on March 28. The SGPJ and the SATF have been highlighting the plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka for some time. Prior to 2009, there have been several other Tamil organisations in South Africa who have promoted the cause of the Tamil struggles in Sri Lanka. They included the Tamil Co-Ordinating Committee, led by Mr Richard Govender, who is currently president of the KwaZulu-Natal Tamil Federation and executive official of the SATF.
(UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Ms Navi Pillay) One of the South African leaders who has roots in the Tamil community is the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay. She investigated the human rights violations in Sri Lanka and has called for an international and independent inquiry into the violations. Her report is also being discussed at the Geneva Human Rights Council esssion.
PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF THE TAMIL LANGUAGE AND CULTURE The delegates, who attended the "strategic conference" from all over South Africa, resolved that although their forefathers had come from India they were now full South Africans and committed themselves to participate fully in all speheres of South African society and government. The delegates affirmed that the SATF had been elected as the mouth piece of the Tamil people of South Africa. Among other resolutions aimed at promoting and protecting the Tamil language, culture and tradition, the delegates resolved to convene a youth conference to consult with the youth about their needs in the new South Africa. "We are confident that with the level of and quality of youth participation in the conference, we will succeed in creating a powerful effective youth body that will be the future leadership of the SATF." The conference also resolved that the SATF must ensure greater representation in its structures for women and the menfolk must support initiatives in respect of women. (Ms Sashnee Naiker, PRO of SATF)
(Mrs Sally Padaychie at the SATF strategic conference) "The SATF will commit to treat women with respect and dignity and to empower women." The SATF would also develop a communications strategy that was sufficiently diverse to reach out of the various target audiences "using different means for the different groups and will increase its use of technology for this purpose". "The need to use technology more effectively to teach the language, to create an environment to create an interest in learning the language, to have greater dialogue on religious issues and where necessary provide guidelines to organisations on how to conduct certain traditional ceremonies was proposed. "The new executive of the SATF committed themselves to the delivery of the aspirations and needs of the Tamil people of this country and to provide leadership. The SATF invited continued submissions and involvement by all to ensure that the SATF is set on the path to excellence."

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The sad degeneration of the Verulam Recreation and Sports Ground

(The ditch in front of the soccer field goal mouth)
(The deterioration of the cricket practice nets) BY SUBRY GOVENDER The Verulam Sports and Recreation Ground used to be the mecca of most sporting activities in the early 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Local, inter-district and even provincial football and cricket fixtures, inter-school sports and other sporting fixtures used to take pride of place and be held with all the pomp and ceremony at this venue. On any weekday and especially at weekends, the Verulam Recreation was full activity with all types of sporting activities - especially football and cricket. The name Verulam Suburbs Footbal Club and its boss and manager, Balu Parekh, used to dominate the scene here at the Recreation Ground. Other sports stars such as Raymond Raghaveloo, Vasu Chetty, Bullet Moodley, Vadi Subrayen, Deva Naidoo and scores of others (whose names miss me now) also gained their prominence and stardom at the Verualm Recreation and Sports Grounds.
(Holes in the soccer field) But now 20 years into our new non-racial and democratic South Africa, the Verulam Recreation Ground complex has become discrepit and fallen into decay. The situation has degenerated to such an extent that there are no more local or inter-district football fixtures for juniors and seniors taking place here any more. In fact the Verulam Football Association(VFA) has become all but defunct. On Friday, March 7 I took a drive to the Verulam Recreation Sports Ground just to "see for myself".
(More deterioration of soccer field) What I found was shocking and disheartening. At the entrance, where there's paved parking for cars, grass was overgrown and litter was thrown everywhere. The place looked discrepit and uninviting. There was more disgust and disillusionment when I walked into the grounds inside the stadium. Once again the grass was overgrown on the soccer field and around the areas outside the main unmarked field. There were mounds of sand and deep holes in several places of the soccer field. There was also a huge ditch at the goal mouth at the north end of the soccer field. It didn't look like a soccer pitch at all. It was more like a grazing ground for goats and cows.
(Mr Leon Martha Narainsamy pointing out the deterioration)
The adjoining cricket field was just as bad. Although it seemed someone had mowed the cricket field, the grass was still overgrown and the area outside the cricket field was also overgrown and unkept. The cricket pitch itself was also overgrown with grass and there was no indication that the pitch was being attended to. An aspirant golfer, who was using the cricket pitch to hit some balls, informed me that he had lost several balls on the field where it appeared to be mowed. "The conditions are demotivating," he said. The cricket practice nets were also in a state of disrepair. Uncut grass in and around the practice nets and the wire fencing appeared to be slowly deteriorating. Despite this deterioration there were a few boys trying to get some practice in the nets. I asked one of the older boys why they were not complaining about the state of the nets and the grounds in general? "What can we do, Sir? Who do we complain to? Nobody listens! The politicians and officials are not interested in maintaining and improving the facilities here," said the young man.
I walked back to the soccer pitch where two groups of players were busy preparing for a match. They were seniors involved in the KZN Teachers Sports Association Soccer League. "This place is in a very very poor and sad state," said Mr Leon Martha Narainsamy, an executive official of the once dynamic Verulam Football Association. "We have taken up the issue of the deterioration of this sports complex with the municipality but they don't seem to care. "The conditions have degenerated to such an extent that young people are no longer interested in playing soccer. It's for this reason we don't have any local junior and senior clubs in Verulam any more. "The situation is bleak. The municipality is only interested in collecting the exhorbitant rates it charges us but is not interested in ensuring that the sports facilities are maintained and renovated," he said.
(Dr Jaya Virrana) Another person involved with the teachers' game was Dr Jaya Virrana of Tongaat. "Verulam is not the only place where sporting facilities are neglected and allowed to generate. Tongaat also has a similar problem," he said. "I don't know what is going on but there seems to be a 'don't care attitude'. It's because of this attitude by the authorities that very few people are promoting sports among the children. "You have some children kicking the football around here but there's no one to promote them. It's all because the powers that be have failed to maintain and look after our sporting facilities. "At one time Verulam and other grounds were 'spic and span'. But now they have just gone to the dogs. I don't know what the future will be for children who are keen on soccer and other sports."
(The overgrown grass at the entrance to the grounds) The atmosphere here at the Verulam Recreation Ground complex is also intimidating. Very few people visit here on their own. There have been several hold-ups and cars stolen and people generally fear to frequent the sports ground area alone. What has happened to such a historical and famous sports complex? A local resident, Mr Reggie Naidoo, does not pull any punches. "It seems the Recreation Ground area reflects what is generally happening in the central business district of Verulam," he said. "Fear, lawlessness, chaos, deterioration, filth and degeneration has replaced a once law-abiding, beautiful and functioning local town. "I am not surprised at what has happened to our famous sports grounds."

Thursday, March 6, 2014


Mr Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim (Centre), Mr Pregs Padaychee (SGPJ) and Mr Anil Sooklall (DG Department of International Relations) By Subry Govender South Africa's Deputy Minister of International Affairs, Mr Ebrahim Ismail Ebrahim, will accompany the ruling ANC's Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, to Sri Lanka in an attempt to promote a "lasting political solution" to the crisis facing the Tamil people. The two leaders and their officials will travel to Sri Lanka within the next month or so. This was disclosed during a meeting Mr Ebrahim and other senior Government and ANC officials held with leaders of the Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka(SGPJ) at the Shri Mariammen Cultural Centre in Mount Edgecombe, north of Durban, on Friday, March 6.
Mr Obed Bopela, Deputy Minister in the Presidency (extreme right), Mrs Sally Padaychie, and others who attended the information talks Accompanying Mr Ebrahim at the meeting were Mr Obed Bopela, Deputy Minister in the Presidency: Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation; Mr Anil Sooklall, Director General in the Department of International Relations; and Mr Lebohang Matshaba, ANC International Relations Co-Ordinator: Latin America, Caribbeans, Australia and New Zealand. The SGPJ leaders in attendance were Mrs Sally Padaychie, wife of the late Minister Roy Padaychie who played a leading role in promoting the cause of peace in Sri Lanka; Mr Pregs Padayachee(secretary); Mr Solly Pillay (PRO); Mr Mervyn Reddy; Mr Dees Pillay; Mr Marimuthu Subramoney; and Mr Richard Govender, president of the Tamil Federation of KwaZulu-Natal and executive official of the South African Tamil Federation.
Mr Richard Govender, president of the Tamil Federation of KwaZulu-Natal and executive official of the South African Tamil Federation; Mr Dees Pillay and Mr Mervyn Reddy Mr Padaychee, in his presentation to the Government and ANC leaders, said they were also concerned about "South African business interests in SL and vice versa". "We have in the past criticised the ANC business delegation to Sri Lanka. We cannot do business in a country where people are oppressed, their land is colonised, where soldiers rape and kill and where the human rights of people are violated," said Mr Padaychee. "We have certain values, principles and morals." Mr Ebrahim, referring to the Government's move to assist in finding a political solution, said: "We will talk to all the role players during our visit and even visit the North and East to see for ourselves and interview the affected people." Mr Ebrahim and Mr Bopela also disclosed that a delegation of the TNA would visit South Africa soon to hold talks with Mr Ramaphosa, who has been appointed as South Africa's Special Envoy on Sri Lanka by President Jacob Zuma recently. Mr Ramaphosa has already held talks with a Sri Lankan Government delegation that visited South Africa a few weeks ago. Mr Ebrahim and Mr Bopela made the disclosures about South Africa's commitment to bring about a "lasting political solution" in Sri Lanka after the SGPJ leaders questioned them about the ruling ANC's failure to condemn the "genocide" of between 70 and 100 000 Tamils during the final stages of the civil war in 2009; South Africa's stance at the current UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva; South Africa's position regarding a Truth and Reconciliation Commission(TRC) that the Sri Lankan Government wants to establish in place of demands for an international and independent inquiry into human rights violations. "We did not talk about a TRC when President Zuma held talks with the Sri Lankan President, Rajapakse, during the Chogm summit," said Mr Ebrahim. "It was the Sri Lankan Government leaders who spoke about a South African-style TRC. What we talked about was a political solution that will bring lasting peace to the island. "Mr Ramaphosa will talk to all role players in Sri Lanka and find out from them what they want. The Tamil people must tell us what solution they would like to see. Mr Ramaphosa will then draw up his report," he said. "The international processes for an inquiry is completely separate from the political solution processes we are involved in." Mr Ebrahim said they would draw up their own itineray when they visit Sri Lanka. South Africa would also talk to the Tamil diaspora organisations - BTF, GTF, TGTE and others - based in Britain, Canada and other countries. Mr Ebrahim also disclosed that South Africa had hosted LTTE leaders in South Africa on several occasions and had been in touch with LTTE leaders during the last stages of the civil war. One of the leaders he had kept in touch with was Mr Thamil Selvan, who was one of the leaders who had visited South Africa. Mr Selvan and most of the top LTTE leaders were killed while trying to hand themselves over to the Sri Lankan Government soldiers. Regarding the "genocide" in 2009, Mr Bopela said the ANC had issued a statement at that time condemning the violation of human rights. "As far as I am aware the ANC has always spoken out against human rights violations all over the world. The ANC spoke out against the killings in 2009," he said. The two leaders would not commit themselves as to how South Africa would vote at the UN Human Rights Council session on March 28 but indicated that they were talking to all role players. Mr Bopela said they were meeting with local South African Tamil leaders to inform them of the steps the Government was taking to "bring about a lasting political solution to the Tamil question in Sri Lanka". "We want to keep the people informed of what we are doing" he said.