Liv Shange thanks petition for re-entry into SA


FILE: Liv Shange stands with her children on either side of her. She is married to a South African. Shange, an activist for mining workers' right was denied re-entry into the country.

JOHANNESBURG - Swedish-born mining workers&39; rights activist Liv Shange expressed relief on Monday at being allowed back into South Africa on a tourist permit after being refused entry last month.

"It&39;s strange and different to what I was told on June 20," the mother of three said.

"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&39; and Socialist Party (WASP), and married South African Xolani Shange in December 2004.

Shange and her children visited her parents in Sweden in June during the school holiday.

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 province and Gauteng.

On August 16, 34 striking miners were shot dead by police near a Lonmin platinum mine in Limpopo.

Last month ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe blamed unrest in the platinum mines on foreign nationals, and particularly singled out the Swedes and the Irish.

"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&39;s comments, but stressed that she had also had a difficult time with home affairs previously.

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&39;ve been stuck with that."

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