Zuma: Sad day for SA

The president received a warm welcome at the government Human Rights Day event in Sharpeville.

President Jacob Zuma delivered a keynote address at the George Thabe Stadium in Sharpeville on Human Rights Day on 21 March. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has once again called on the country to join hands with government to deliver better services and learn from the mistakes of the past.

The country celebrates Human Rights Day today and Zuma delivered a keynote address at the George Thabe Stadium in Sharpeville.

The president and Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor also handed over smart identity cards to 12 survivors of the Sharpeville Massacre.

Zuma said today marks a sad today in South Africa's history and told the crowd the country is a much better place today.

"We lost our compatriots to the brutal system of apartheid, so in their memory let's build our country together using the lessons of the past 20 years."

Several political parties delivered short messages on stage.

The African People's Convention was the first political party to mention Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's Nkandla report, slating the findings.

Madonsela found Zuma and his family improperly benefited from the estimated R250 million security upgrades at his Nkandla homestead.

Just a few metres outside the stadium, the Economic Freedom Fighters has set up its own stage to commemorate the day.

Meanwhile, the DA's Mmusi Maimane says the party's Human Rights Day celebrations took a sour turn after a stoning incident earlier this afternoon.

Maimane claims the bus he was travelling in was stoned by ANC supporters near the Sharpeville Memorial.

The DA's Gauteng premier candidate was on his way to lay wreaths to commemorate those who died at the hands of police.

Travelling with him were the families of Hector Pieterson, one the students killed during the 1976 Soweto Uprising and Tshepo Babuseng, who was shot dead in January allegedly by a policeman during a protest in Durban Deep.

Maimane says the DA had to postpone its event.

"They blocaded the road, attacked us and threw stones at our car which meant the event we had planned had to be postponed."

On this day in 1960, 69 people were killed while taking part in an anti-pass law protest in Sharpeville.

KATHRADA TO ADDRESS UN

Struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada is expected to speak in Geneva at a United Nations session on combatting racism.

It will be Kathrada's first time addressing the UN Human Rights Commission.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation's Neeshan Balton says Kathrada is very excited about the opportunity.

"It is an incredibly exciting experience, more so because it's on a topic that is close to his heart and one which symbolises his life."

Human rights lawyer George Bizos and former Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale are also expected to attend.