Durban — ANC KwaZulu-Natal spokesperson Mafika Mndebele said the party joined millions of South Africans who converged in various parts of the country to remember those who laid down their lives for liberation during the Sharpeville massacre.
During the protest marches on March 21, 1960, organised across the country against the apartheid government’s pass laws, 69 protesters were shot and killed by police. It is stated that many were shot while fleeing.
The KZN leg of the commemoration by the ANC government took place at Isolomuzi Sports Field in Mondlo, Abaqulusi Municipality.
Mndebele said: “Today, we pause to pay tribute to the pathfinders of our democratic dispensation. We say their struggle was not in vain.
“As we commemorate this important day, we must join hands and steer KZN in the right direction – working with one heart and one mind.”
Mndebele appealed to ANC deployees across all spheres of government to be available to work with community leaders, non-governmental organisations and ordinary members of society to protect and promote human rights.
“The people of this province have a right to quality of life. It is for these reasons that the ANC-led government is committed to building the economy and ensuring job creation through the rollout of socio-economic infrastructure.”
KZN DA leader and MPL Francois Rodgers said that even as the country commemorated Human Rights Day, millions of people in KZN were not afforded human rights as outlined in the Constitution.
Rodgers said one had only to think of all the flood victims who were still housed in facilities that were not conducive to family life.
“We think of the millions of people in the province who still struggle with the access to water.
“Of particular note is what I discovered during one of my visits to a place called Dukuduku, in the north of the province, where people are drinking water literally out of pit holes in the ground.
“We also think of the many school learners who still use pit latrines,” he said.
Rodgers added that the reality is that people might have the right to vote, they might have that democratic right, but in reality, the country still had far too many people who lack the dignity of human rights in basic services.
“And those are the challenges we face in the KZN province. So it is going to take an enormous change at the ballot box in 2024 to enable a caring government, a government that can get things done, to ensure that we afford human rights to all our citizens, and not only a select few,” Rodgers concluded.
IFP spokesperson and MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa said that on March 21 each year, South Africa celebrates Human Rights Day, honouring those who fought and lost their lives so all South Africans can enjoy the constitutional rights that are the cornerstone of democracy.
Hlengwa said that these include human dignity, equality and freedom, and these rights apply to all South Africans, without discrimination, regardless of their race, gender, colour, culture, language, disability or sexual orientation.
This day also holds special significance for the IFP.
On March 21, 1975, a group of patriotic South Africans, under the leadership of Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, established Inkatha yeNkululeko yeSizwe, the national cultural liberation movement.
“For the past 48 years, the IFP has worked tirelessly to ensure the realisation of these rights, and we will continue to do so for the next 48 years and beyond,” Hlengwa stressed.
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