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ANC NORTH WEST STATEMENT ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS DAY CELEBRATION 2014
21/03/2014
Dakota Legoete

The African National Congress in North West joins South Africans in commemorating the Human Rights Day, today 21 March 2014.

This year's commemoration coincides with the 20th Celebration of our democracy, under the theme "Celebrating 20 years of changing lives through human rights". This commemoration comes few months after the passing of one of our icon and the founding father of our democracy, cde Nelson Mandela.

What epitomises this day is the remembrance of the watershed Sharpeville anti-pass campaign in 1961. The apartheid regime discharged live ammunition on peaceful protesters, killing 69 people and seriously injuring 180 people. In Langa, when protesters convened in defiance of the pass laws, the police charged at them with batons, tear gas and guns. Three people were killed and 26 others were injured.

In Bophuthatswana, residents suffered extremes of poverty and corruption, including bearing the additional burden of the loss of their South African citizenship. Worst of it a state of emergency was effect and members of the opposition were persecuted.

The 1994 democratic breakthroughs led to the reincorporation of Bophuthatswana into South Africa, amidst resistance from the homeland regime. Forty people were wounded when Bophuthatswana Defense Force troops opened fire on striking civil servants. Assisting the homeland regime, the white supremacist group Afrikaner Weerstandbeweging (AWB), shot at unarmed civilians, injuring and killing many, when on an armed incursion to the Mmabatho in defense of the Bophuthatswana regime.

At the center of the national anti-pass campaigns of 1961, and many defiance campaign was the decision at the annual conference of the ANC held in Durban on 16 December 1959, where the President General of the ANC, Chief Albert Luthuli, announced that 1960 was going to be the "Year of the Pass." through a series of mass actions. The ANC launched a nationwide anti-pass campaign on 31 March - the anniversary of the 1919 anti-pass campaign.

Looking back since 1994, indeed, South Africa has a good story to tell. The ANC through its pro-poor policies ensured that our people are truly liberated. These policies find expression through the South African Constitution, as guaranteed by the Freedom Charter. Indeed, the ANC together with all South African have moved South Africa forward.

Twenty years ago we began a journey to eradicate the legacy of apartheid. It has been 20 years of freedom and democracy. The lives of our people have vastly improved and South Africa is a much better place than it was before 1994. The ANC has worked together with all South Africans to do more to fight poverty and unemployment and reduce inequality.

More of our people have been lifted out of extreme poverty; we have created more jobs than before; expanded social grants, housing and basic services to our people; and further improved access to better education and health care.

As a country, we began a new and far-reaching phase of our democratic transition. The ANC government has ensured that bold and decisive steps are implemented to place the economy on a qualitatively different path, with the National Development Plan (NDP) aiming to eradicate poverty, increase employment, create sustainable livelihoods and reduce inequality by 2030.

As we commemorate the Human Rights Day today, let us all remember all our heroes and heroines who laid down their lives for the freedoms we today enjoy. As the people of South Africa, let us ensure that we recognise the injustices of our past; honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and ensure that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

Issued by:
Dakota Legoete
Provincial Secretary

Enquiries:
Dakota Legoete0727185955
Ishmael Mnisi 0794194198

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