Value human rights, Zuma says

2012-03-21 14:18
Johannesburg - South Africans must not take freedom and human rights for granted, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

"Let us celebrate the right to life, equality before the law, human dignity, freedom and security of the person," Zuma said at the Human Rights Day celebrations in Kliptown, Soweto.

He said the anti-apartheid protests in Sharpeville and Langa in the 1960s were used to assert people's right to work and live in urban areas.

"They were also reflecting the poverty and under-development in rural areas and then Bantustans.

"Our infrastructure plan is intended to tackle the legacy of decades of under-development and to respond to the basic needs of all our people," said Zuma

The infrastructure plan recognised that black people were no longer temporary visitors.

"They are city dwellers, they have rights," said Zuma.

Human Rights Day was previously known as Sharpeville Day to commemorate the shooting of 69 black protesters by the police in 1960.

Earlier on Tuesday, the crowd at Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown erupted in cheers when Zuma walked around the square.

Security was tight around him with orange jacketed marshals forming a human chain around him and his bodyguards pushing photographers away.

Zuma was accompanied by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, Deputy Basic Education Minister Enver Surty and Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane.

A lone protester greeted the morning crowd with a poster at the entrance to the square asking the ANC about its conscience.

"ANC where is your conscience? Sharpeville 21 March 1960," the placard read.

- SAPA
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