Crossroads, the last an the biggest of the squatter camps in the Cape Town area, with more than 15,000 residents, was raided by South African police last Tuesday night (14 September).
GV Witwatersrand University building in Johannesburg
SUC INTERIOR poster announcing meeting speakers; Mrs Helen Suzman, and Bishop Tutu
SCU Opposition politician, Mrs. Helen Suzman speaking and students listening (3 shots)
SUZMAN: "I have witnessed with mounting dismay the ever-increasing powers taken by the Ministry of Police. To look people up without trial, and to subvert all the normal democratic processes of the law. You could expect therefore that I would not be easily shocked by any actions taken by this government. But I must tell you that the police action taken last week against the defenceless people of Crossroads has shocked me beyond words. It was not, I must tell you just the sheer ugly bully-boy nature of the raids in the dead of night with charges, and dogs and tear-gas. That was bad enough. It was not just the shooting of one man, the beating of women, and the arrest of some two-to-three hundred people. All that was bad enough. It was in fact quite unspeakable, and utterly unacceptable to anyone with civilised values.
GV Mrs. Suzman applauded as she leaves rostrum
SV and CU Bishop Tutu speaking (2 shots)
SUZMAN: But is was also the sheer, almost unbelievable, stupidity of the actions that shook me to the core. Of all the sheer lunatic actions, last weeks raids must head the list. It is literally asking for punitive measures against South Africa. One might well ask, do the Nationalists have a death wish?"
TUTU: "Never think it is happening only to some insignificant place, a set of statistics, 20,000 persons. For these are people of flesh and blood. they laugh and they cry. They love and they hate. They have their babies and they bury their aged. Please do not destroy Crossroads. Please do not kill a living community, until you have provided, adequate, alternative family accommodation for the Crossroaders, near the place of work for the head of family and its breadwinner. We don't want to embarrass our authorities. We are just pleading for humaneness, instead of severity. For human presence instead of ideological blueprints. For compassion, and sanity, and wisdom, instead of harshness and what appears to be folly."
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Background: Crossroads, the last an the biggest of the squatter camps in the Cape Town area, with more than 15,000 residents, was raided by South African police last Tuesday night (14 September). Police Officials described the raid as a crime-prevention operation. South African newspapers reported the deaths of three blacks, but the police denied this saying one black died during the raids, Crossroads is due to be demolished soon, because the South African government maintains the in-habitants are illegal immigrants who must be sent back to the designed homelands for black, South Africa. The raid has brought criticism from social workers, church officials and politicians.
SYNOPSIS: An assembly at a Witwatersrand University brought together two speakers who condemned the action of the police. Veteran Opposition politician Helen Suzman was first to address the assembly.