What happened to Dynamite Duarte asks former Black Sash member

LONDON — In an earlier article on Biznews, I noted how surprised I was that the friendly Jessie Duarte I knew from the Mandela era became the snarling politician we see on television today. This is the same woman who was once described as Dynamite Duarte in an article on South African History Online written in September 1994 when South Africa was still known as the rainbow nation. The article describes her as a rap-loving socialist prepared to rock the boat. Well, she has been rapping all right, the knuckles of journalists who dare to question her and instead of rocking the boat, she has towed the Zuma and Magashule lines. Former Black Sash member, Dawn Ingle who knew Duarte in the struggle days has written an open letter asking what happened to the woman she used to admire for her integrity. Ingle has a long history of protest against injustice as an active member of the Black Sash and been involved in the Free the Children Alliance, Release Mandela and End Conscription campaigns. She now lives in the UK, where she continues to protest, her most recent the one against Bell Pottinger. – Linda van Tilburg

From Dawn Ingle*

Dear Jessie

I write this open letter in an an effort to get you to explain to me and to the rest of SA what became of the Jessie Duarte of the struggle. You served with me on several committees during the struggle years. I was impressed with your hard work and tirelessness in working together with all of us towards a just and democratic South Africa. I admired you for your integrity and unwavering dedication to the cause. What has happened to that Jessie Duarte?

As part of the ANC NEC, you are in a position to speak out about the corruption, greed, nepotism, self enrichment etc that took place on a daily basis In the leadership of a once glorious liberation movement. Yet you choose to agree or remain silent. The Jessie Duarte I knew and respected during the struggle would never have sat back and allowed the likes of Jacob Zuma to violate the constitution, hire and fire cabinet ministers on a personal whim and without any logical reason, in order to further his transparent agenda of “capturing”the state. You together with most of the ANC members of Parliament voted against the various motions of no confidence in JZ. You constantly endorsed him as a capable leader in the face of mounting evidence of his involvement in corruption etc. He was the type of leader the Jessie Duarte of the struggle years would have despised. Why this blind loyalty? It must have been patently obvious to you that the firing of extremely capable Ministers of Finance was doing untold damage to the economy and scaring off would be investors. Are you prepared to remain silent and together with the rest of the ANC lose all credibility out of misplaced loyalty? Are you prepared to go down in history as part of a ruling party which through gross mismanagement, corruption and misuse of taxes caused SA to became a failed state in which the poor got poorer, crime flourished, education and health services collapsed and only the corrupt leaders prospered. Please think about it.

  • Dawn Ingle was an active member of the Black Sash in Johannesburg for more than 20 years. She was also involved in the Free the Children Alliance, Release Mandela and and End Conscription campaigns and JODAC. Dawn and her husband relocated to the UK in January 2016 as they are both in their 70’s and their children had emigrated to the UK some years ago. She keeps herself informed of what is happening politically in SA by regularly reading News 24 online and also subscribing to Biznews, The Sunday Times, Daily Maverick etc. She also takes part in various protests about SA in London, the last of which was the Bell Pottinger protest.