The PAC descended on the township outside Cape Town on Tuesday to commemorate the events of 1960, where three people were killed and 26 injured by police following a peaceful protest led by PAC leader Philip Kgosana.
Addressing the crowd, party president Luthando Mbinda said commemorating the day was about reminding the masses of those who died in struggles, which were unfortunately still taking place 23 years into democracy.
“To us, this was about celebrating and commemorating our heroes who died on this day. We are trying to remind people what these people did. They fought for the return of the land to its rightful owners. Land that has still not been returned and is still in the hands of white monopoly capital,” he said.
“After 23 years of democracy we still have massacres - the Marikana incident, the killing of Andries Tatane and the greatest and most tragic of all: at Esidimeni, where people died in poverty and hunger after being dumped at a facility not equipped to take care of them.
“The situation of the poorest of the poor has still not improved. We still have people put in matchboxes known as RDP houses, while the wealth remains in the hands of the few and the black elite.”
Mbinda said that with the party celebrating 58 years of existence this year, they would move away from internal squabbles and focus on addressing the needs of the poor.
The party experienced a power struggle last year, with Mbinda and the party’s former president, Letlapa Mphahlele, battling over who was the legitimate leader.
“This coming April 6, when we celebrate 58 years of the PAC, will be a turning point for us in terms of attending to the issues of the poorest of the poor.
“We have focused too much on internal wrangles; it is high time that we move forward.
“We had only one Human Rights Day event here, which shows a willingness to come together.
“Come 2024, the PAC will take over as the ruling government. We have given the current government too many opportunities at the cost of the lives of our people.”
On the other side of Cape Town, the DA’s Bonginkosi Madikizela also addressed party supporters, in a community hall in Khayelitsha, to celebrate Human Rights Day.
“It is very important for us to talk about our history, and about where we come from.
“But it is also important to talk about what it is we are going to do to learn from our past to make sure that the living conditions of our people improve, because we can never say we celebrate Human Rights Day if there are still people living under conditions that are not acceptable.
“Human Rights Day is about ensuring the dignity of our people, and about ensuring that when we talk about human rights, people can see that they are benefiting from democracy,” Madikizela said.