Strive for better life for all: Mokonyane

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sharpville - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane today called on all South Africans to recommit to the struggle for the total emancipation of the country's citizens, especially those who are still living in abject poverty.

"This is critical because our freedom and democracy will always be constrained and tainted by the continued prevalence of social ills such as poverty, unemployment, bigotry, intolerance and blatant disregard for the rule of law," Mokonyane said.

Speaking at the Human Rights Day celebration held in Sharpville, Mokonyane said although there has been progress in many areas, suffering still experienced by South Africans in the townships, informal settlements, rural areas and in the inner cities remained an albatross on the shoulders of government and the nation.

"The fact that there is a child out there who goes to bed without a proper meal every night should put all of us to shame," Mokonyane said. "These social challenges constitute the character of a new enemy we have to face."

She said the greatest indignity that a human being can suffer is the inability to provide food for their loved ones and a secure home for their children as a result of unemployment.

"It is for this reason that as government, we have declared [2011] as the year to create jobs." 

The premier also expressed concern about people who disregard the rule of law when protesting. "We need to subject our conduct towards one another and the rule of law to scrutinity." 

On this day in 1960, police killed unarmed 69 people and injured nearly 200 others in Sharpville, who were participating in a protest against the pass laws. Many were shot in the back. 

The carnage made world headlines. Four days later, the government banned black political organisations, many leaders were arrested or went into exile. 

For many South Africans, the day will always remain Sharpeville Day, a commemoration of the 21 March 1960 Sharpeville massacre.

Mokonyane encouraged the families of the massacre to know that their loved ones did not die in vain.

"Let's continue to remember our heroes and heroines. South Africa is where it is today because of them," Mokonyane said.