'Greatest human rights violation is poverty'

2012-03-21 22:52

kalahari.com

Johannesburg - SA Human Rights Commission deputy chairperson Pregs Govender said apartheid police were blinded by fear and hatred when they opened fire on protesters in Sharpeville.

She said in modern South Africa poverty was the greatest human rights violation.

"Sixteen million people, mostly woman, in rural areas have no access to sanitation," said Govender.

She highlighted the unenclosed toilets in the Western Cape and the Free State as examples of post-apartheid human rights violations.

Value human rights

During a Human Rights Day celebration in Kliptown, Soweto, on Wednesday, President Jacob Zuma said South Africans must not take freedom and human rights for granted.

"Let us celebrate the right to life, equality before the law, human dignity, freedom and security of the person, freedom from slavery servitude or forced labour," Zuma said at a Human Rights Day celebration in Kliptown, Soweto.

"The right to privacy, freedom of movement, religion, belief and opinion, as well as the rights of workers, women and children.

"On this day, let us join hands to celebrate our Constitution and in particular, the Bill of Rights."

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.

Legacy of underdevelopment

"Our infrastructure plan is intended to tackle the legacy of decades of underdevelopment 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.

He said cities should not be the only places with lights and tap water.

"Infrastructure for development is also about connecting rural communities to economic opportunities through building dams and irrigation systems."

Zuma said it would connect farms and villages to the energy grid and build schools and clinics in rural areas.

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

The crowd at Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown burst out in cheers when Zuma walked around the square.

Tight security


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.

This was in relation to protests in the Vaal, where residents were complaining that the Human Rights Day was being hijacked from them.

They wanted the event to be celebrated in Sharpeville.

Human Rights Day was celebrated in Kliptown, Soweto where the Freedom Charter was developed and adopted in 1955.

The Freedom Charter became a guiding document in the fight for liberation, it also calls for democracy and human rights, land reform, labour rights, and nationalisation.

For all South Africans

Cope leader Mosioua Lekota said Human Rights Day was for all South Africans and not for a particular area.

"When Indians were forcibly removed it was a human rights violation," he said.

He also lamented the absence of political parties at the event,

"This is a national event. On this day we must forget about our differences."

Only the ruling ANC, Azanian Liberation Organisation (Azopo) and Cope were present at the event.

Lekota said political parties must educate South Africans on the fact that human rights were not about the Sharpeville and Langa massacres.

"It is about human rights," he said.

Lekota who defected from the ANC in 2008 to form Congress of the People, the name echoes the 1955 Congress of the People at which the resistance movement developed and adopted the Freedom Charter, said the charter served to consolidate an alliance of the anti-apartheid forces of the 1950 and protect human rights.

A jubilant crowd broke into Zuma's trade mark song, Umshini wami [bring me my machine gun] after Zuma had spoken on Wednesday.

- SAPA

Read more on:    sahrc  |  human rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
48 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
 

Inside News24

 
 

ANC set for two-thirds majority - poll

The ANC is on course to win nearly a two-thirds majority in 7 May elections, a poll has showed, confounding analysts who had predicted a fall in support for the ruling party.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.