More should be done to protect rights of the vulnerable - Mabuza

2018-03-21 18:20
Deputy President David Mabuza attends the Human Rights Day ceremony in Vereeniging on 21 March 2018.  (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Deputy President David Mabuza attends the Human Rights Day ceremony in Vereeniging on 21 March 2018. (Amanda Khoza, News24) (amanda khoza)

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Johannesburg - Deputy President David Mabuza on Wednesday said South Africans should be outraged at the recent murders and deaths of young women and children in the country.

He made reference to the recent death of a five-year-old in a school latrine pit toilet in Bizana.

"Oliver Tambo was born in Bizana. What would he say to us who bask in the glory of his struggle, if we still fail to protect our children? Grade R learner, Michael Komape, died in a similar undignified manner in 2014," said Mabuza.

Speaking at the 58th anniversary of the Sharpville massacre at the George Thabe Cricket Pitch in Vereeniging, Mabuza said more needed to be done to protect the lives of the most vulnerable in society.

"Why would the lion of the north, Peter Mokaba, not turn in his grave when he learns that recently, a five year old girl in grade R, was electrocuted at a school in Limpopo.

"What do we say, when in November last year, five children died a gruesome death in Soshanguve when an overhead light fell on them.

"What do we say to our innocent children about a police officer who molests children placed in his care, children who have entrusted justice and salvation to him after they were raped?

"What has gone wrong? Why have we become so numb to the tragedies that rob our children of their innocence?"

Mabuza also condemned the recent killing of children and people living with albinism.

"The past few years have regrettably also seen the emergence of killings of children and adults with albinism and of desecration of their bodies."

He said murder cannot be the new normal.

"We must refuse to embrace cruelty and torture as a new normal as we saw recently with the murder and burning of 21 year old TUT student and Taxify driver, Siyabonga Ngcobo.

"We cannot rest as a nation when our daughters die painfully and their bodies are burned.  We saw this with the murder of 22 year old Karabo Mokoena last year."

He called on all South Africans to work together to end the scourge of crime.

On Life Esidimeni, he said, "Our country is emerging from a painful period in which 144 persons with psychosocial disabilities perished because we did not do enough as government to uphold their rights to self-representation, to protection from harm, to access to quality care."  

Earlier, Mabuza laid wreaths at the Sharpville Memorial Site and paid respects to the families of those who lost their lives on March 21, 1960.

He spent time speaking to the families and offering comfort.

During his address, Mabuza said Human Rights day should be a reminder of the struggle for a united, non-racial, non-sexist, just and prosperous South Africa.

"On that fateful day, 58 years ago, an illegitimate and brutal apartheid regime sought to silence an unarmed and defenseless people with guns.

"When the last order to shoot finally stunned in silence, 69 souls lay dead. They were strewed over the streets of Sharpeville, with nearly 200 wounded.

"Their rivers of blood remain deep in this soil. 

He said the day also reminded South Africans that it was no longer business as usual.

"We must all do our part with utmost regard for the life of others, especially those that are vulnerable and marginalised."

Read our special Human Rights Day features here: Meet the ordinary people who protect the rights of others

He said all South Africans must begin to conduct themselves ethically.

"We need to ensure that that we give the highest quality of service to our people and become public servants again. We need to make sure that we use our freedoms and democracy to serve our people selflessly at local, provincial, and national government."

He said he was saddened by the recent resurgence of racial outbursts and slurs.

"We cannot count ourselves worthy of their contributions if we fail to rise above racial prejudice and unite as a nation."

Using President Cyril Ramaphosa's mantra which he lifted from Hugh Masekela's song Thuma Mina (Send me), Mabuza said, "We also urge our people, in the spirit and ethos of Thuma Mina, to rise and lend a hand to make South Africa a better place to live in..."

On land, he said South Africans were not truly free without land.

"It is also a day that must remind us that freedom and democracy remain meaningless if the majority of South Africans remain trapped in poverty, without work, without bread, and without land," said Mabuza.  

Read more on:    david mabuza  |  mbombela  |  human rights

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