“You don’t represent me” – open letter by Teun Baartman

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Nov 23, 2011 3 Comments ›› Brett Herron

Yesterday was Black Tuesday. The day our civil liberties were assaulted by our national government.

The letter below was written by Mr Teun Baartman of Woodstock. It is written in his personal capacity as a citizen of South Africa and is not written on behalf of any political party. He has kindly given his permission to me to publish this letter on this site. I think it is well worth reading and sharing.

I thank Mr Baartman for permitting to publish this letter here.



(Open letter to Ben Turok)

Ben Turok

Over the last few years you have made the point that you represent the communities of among others Woodstock, Observatory and Mowbray as a member of national parliament for the ANC. You have made contact with various local civic associations and police forums. At a public meeting of the Woodstock Community Police Forum held in September 2011 one of your representatives was present and spoke on your behalf.

Yesterday the “African Nazi Congress” voted in favour of the Protection of State Information Bill and set South Africa on the road to destruction of the civil liberties and rights for which you claim to have fought as an anti-apartheid activist.

Therefore the first point of order of future meetings of any civic organisation in the areas you “represent” should from now on be the question if you or your representatives are present. If so, you or your representatives should be asked to leave the meeting immediately, because the presence of a member of any political party which aims to suppress information to the public is not wanted and of no use to anybody.

I hereby call on the leaders of all civic organisations in our area to take a stand and have the courage to ask the above question at the start of their meetings. I call on the leaders of civic society in South Africa to do the same with regards to ANC representatives in their areas.

Ben Turok, you do not represent me and you should from now on be declared a persona non grata.

Teun Baartman

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  1. Melvin Rautenbach says:

    Hi Teun

    It is interesting to note that Mr Ben Turok was one of the few ANC MPs to abstain from voting. This surely deserves some credit.


  2. Teun Baartman says:

    In fact, Mr Turok did not abstain from voting (which is an act), he slipped out of the National Assembly before the voting took place and did not vote. I also note that he apparently did not voice any concern about the Bill in the ANC caucus when it was discussed (on four occasions). He only said something when he was “ambushed by the media” (his words) after running away from parliament.

    Therefore Mr Turok did not take a stand whatsoever, not before and not during the vote. For a person with a track record with regards to civil and democratic rights, as Mr Turok is supposed to have, this does not deserve any credit at all.


  3. Ken Botes says:

    Let’s be honest! Though Mr Turok may have some gripes,so do all of us the solution at the end is not to spend energy on matters that we do all falter from time to time.Even so,the key is not to attack the individual as such and concentrate what difference one could make in our society.
    Words can never be retracted,once said it is done.
    Myself,I can make a list of many wrongs I see day to day and hate the wrongs but one should not concentrate thereon.It makes no sense.Trying to make a difference to society is what counts,whether in small measures or not will be helpful.
    Greeting your neighbour,opening a door for someone,or sharing your toebroodjies,or giving a blanket to someone shivering in the cold is your God given responsibility.
    Let’s act responsible and forget yesterday or wrongs of the past and move on.Save your energy for better things.

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