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Samson Gampe, who died aged 86 on 5th January 2017, has proved to be one of the biggest obstacles to State sponsored ambitions to tame the Wild Coast with two related mega development impositions; the Xolobeni Mineral Sands project and the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road. 

In tribute, the following edited excerpt from John GI Clarke’s book The Promise of Justice opens a window into uTata Gampe’s remarkable wisdom, oratory and groundedness in the soils of the Amadiba Wild Coast community.

The minister must come herself, not be carried in the wind a like a ‘shekas’ (plastic bag). She must come and speak her own truth.

Samson Gampe.

 

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One year ago, near the picturesque Wild Coast village of Mdatya, while the soothing strains of the Christmas carol “Silent Night, Holy Night” were still echoing tidings of goodwill and peace to all humankind, another child was born in the early hours of New Year’s morn.

Akolwa Ndovela was born, not in a stable but under a Waterberry tree where her mother was hiding with her older siblings, having been chased out of their home by armed thug’s intent on clearing the way for MRC Ltd, an Australian mining company, and their local BEE partner Xolco to mine their ancestral lands for titanium.

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There’s no doubt in my mind that special investigation and national prosecution veteran Willie Hofmeyr is being side-lined by National Director of Public Prosecutions boss Shaun Abrahams.

Call me unscientific and anecdotal, but witnessing his career and behaviour, both since 1994 and against the apartheid riot police in greater Cape Town’s townships in the turbulent, flaming 80’s, convinces me of his integrity.

I watched Hofmeyr prostrate himself in front of the large wheels of a Casspir in Khayelitsha after the notorious Major Dolf Odendaal, (if memory serves), had arrested and loaded then Progressive Federal Party MP and activist, Jan van Eck, into the back of the vehicle. (Van Eck’s “crime”? Being in a township without express permission and/or within sight or sound of ‘’unrest”) Proper use of weird laws.

Today we have weird use of proper laws. I have no doubt about Hofmeyr’s backbone; his career is replete with examples. His superior, well…that’s a different story.

Abrahams has certainly shown very little respect for the track record and experience of his colleague, as this letter of complaint from social worker John GI Clarke to new Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, highlights.

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About John GI Clarke

John Clarke hopes to write the wrongs of the world, informed by his experience as a social worker and theologian, to actualise fundamental human rights and satisfy fundamental human needs.  He has lived in the urbanised concentration of Johannesburg, but has worked mainly in the rural reaches of the Wild Coast for the past decade.  From having paid a fortune in toll fees he believes he has earned the right to be critical of Sanral and other extractive institutions, and has not held back while supporting Sustaining the Wild Coast (www.swc.org.za), the Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (www.safcei.org.za) and the Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance (www.outa.co.za), in various ways.

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