ADDRESS BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT DAVID MABUZA DURING THE COMMEMORATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

Deputy President D. Mabuza

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Our Hosts, the Acting Premier of Gauteng, Mr Panyaza Lesufi and the Executive Mayor of Sedibeng District Municipality, Cllr Busisiwe Modisakeng, 

Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nkosinathi Mthethwa and all Ministers present  

Deputy Ministers, Members of the Gauteng Provincial Executive Council and Members of Parliament and Provincial Legislature present,

President of the Pan Africanist Congress 

Leaders of various political parties represented here,

Leaders of Labour, Faith-based organisations, and Civil Society,

Community of Sedibeng,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Dumelang! Sanibonani! Good Day!

I am humbled and honoured to join the community of Sedibeng to mark our country’s Human Rights Day.

In the past, we commemorated this day as Sharpeville Day.

 

It is a day which serves as a painful reminder of our struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, just and prosperous South Africa.

It is a day to pause, think and reflect. We commemorate not only to remember, but also to measure how far we have come in achieving the ideals cherished by those who lost their lives in the struggle.

 

On this day we remember the tenacity and indomitable spirit of our people. We celebrate their bravery and courage. They stood fearless in defiance against the murderous and illegitimate apartheid regime.

 

And so today we still evoke the memory of one of the finest stalwarts of the liberation movement, Robert Sobukwe, who died forty years ago.

 

We give credence and gratitude to his struggle and that of many of his luminaries. 

We grant them this honour to claim their rightful place in history; to learn from them, to learn what it means to one’s soul for a deeper love of country and one’s people.  

 

On that fateful day, fifty eight (58) years ago, anillegitimate and brutal apartheid regime sought to silence an unarmed and defenceless people with guns.

 

When the last order to shoot finally stunned in silence, 68 souls lay dead, strewed over the streets of Sharpeville, with nearly 200 wounded. 

Their rivers of blood remain deep in this soil.  

For us who live today, for us who enjoy their fruits of freedom, it must remain a constant reminder that our freedom was paid for. Our remit is to pay it forward for those who are yet to come.

 

Long after we have lived, future generations must say we inherited a struggle, we made good on the promise of our forebears, and then left forthem a united and prosperous South Africa. 

Each generation must take up its struggle for unity and freedom and keep paying it forward.

Never must our pain and memory of the past paralyse us. 

 

The guns may be silenced, but we must never stop the irreversible march to meaningfulfreedom and democracy— a democracy where all our people will benefit from our struggle of radical socio-economic transformation. 

 

Compatriots,

At the heart of the struggle for human dignity and freedom lay the struggle against the despised pass laws— the carrying of die dompass— which sought to subjugate black South Africans as inferior and subhuman. 

 

These were pass laws that stripped black South Africans of their citizenship, restricted their movement, and excluded them from businessopportunities and well-paying jobs. 

It was deliberately designed to oppress themand to render them beggars in land of their forefathers. ( to be continued )

 

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