Deputy President David Mabuza will on Wednesday, 21 March 2018, address the national Human Rights Day commemoration in remembrance of sixty nine protesters who were killed by apartheid security forces during the anti-pass law protest in Sharpeville, Vereeniging.
The incident famously known as Sharpeville Massacre took place in 21 March 1960 after thousands of anti-apartheid activists from Sharpeville and across the country protested against the racial pass law which violated the basic human rights of black people.
The 21st of March was declared in the new democratic era as Human Rights Day to honour those who fought for our liberation and to celebrate the many rights guaranteed under the Constitution of the Republic. Over the month all South Africans are encouraged to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives during the liberation struggle.
The 2018 national Human Rights Day, which will be held under the theme: The year of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela: promoting and deepening a human rights culture across society”, coincides with the centenary of former President Nelson Mandela.
The centenary provides an opportunity to honour President Mandela’s memory by striving to ensure his vision of human rights and dignity for all South Africans is realised and celebrate his selfless role in fighting for equal rights for all South Africans.
Deputy President Mabuza said South Africa should use the Human Right Month to reflect on the dreams and aspirations of Madiba which include the respect of basic human rights and commitment to the rule of law.
“All South Africans have a responsibility to promote freedom and defend our democracy in honour of Madiba’s life-long commitment to these ideals. President Mandela is our guiding light for the type of society we are building and people we aspire to become. Madiba advocated for human rights for all and believed that to deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity."
“As we commemorate Sharpville Massacre and remember the ideals of President Mandela, government recommits itself to promote and protect the human rights and dignity of all South Africans, particularly socio-economic rights such housing, water, education, and healthcare as reflected in the Bill of Rights,” the Deputy President said.
Deputy President Mabuza further called on South Africans to work together to build a more inclusive economy that truly reflects the demographics of the country to ensure equal economic rights.
“The economic freedom of millions of South Africans will give effect to our hard fought human and socio-economic rights. Together we must support redistributive measures that enhance the standard of living and quality of life for all. Working with business, labour and the community sector we have to change drastically the ownership, control and management of the economy."
“We must ensure that all South Africans, particularly those who were deprived economic rights, participate meaningfully and actively in all key strategic economic sectors of the country to ensure that their economic rights are fulfilled and that wealth of the country is shared equally,” the Deputy President said.
Deputy President Mabuza further called on South Africans to unite in the fight against racism‚ racial discrimination‚ xenophobia and related intolerance on all fronts.
“Together we can confront racism and move our country towards a completely non-racial society. Government calls on all South Africans to use Human Rights Month to foster social cohesion, nation building and our national identity,” Deputy President concluded.
Government together with its stakeholders is hosting a number of events in commemorating Human Rights Month across the country and encourages citizens to participate in these activities in order to promote the culture of working together and to build a non-racial, non-sexist, peaceful and prosperous South Africa.
The national Human Rights commemoration will take place as follows:
Part One: Wreath Laying Ceremony
Date: Wednesday, 21 March 2018
Venue: Sharpeville Memorial Centre, Sharpville
Part Two: Formal Programme
Venue: George Thabe Cricket Sports Ground, Sharpeville, Emfuleni Local Municipality