‘Families of Sharpeville Massacre victims must be prioritised’

Premier Makhura says SA can’t celebrate Human Rights Day without ensuring victims’ families are taken care of.

MEC Paul Mashatile, Former President Kgalema Motlanthe, Advocate George Bizos and Gauteng Premier David Makhura at the Human Rights Dau Celebration on 21 March 2016. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Premier David Makhura says his provincial government will prioritise relatives of the victims of the Sharpeville Massacre, when it allocates houses to community members in the township.

Sixty-nine people were shot and killed by police, on this day in 1960, while protesting against the apartheid government' pass laws.

Makhura spoke earlier at a commemoration of the massacre which was attended by thousands of people.

The premier says he has assigned Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile to make sure that the 69 families are given keys to their new homes as soon as a housing project is completed.

"One of the major problems I have observed since I became premier is that the victims and survivors of the Sharpeville Massacre are ordinary people who are struggling themselves."

Makhura says Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans will also be prioritised.

"The military veterans, ex-combatants who are homeless must be our priority."

Makhura says South Africans cannot continue celebrating Human Rights Day, without ensuring that the families of those who died for freedom are properly taken care of.

Meanwhile, Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says locals should be reminded of the great price that was paid for freedom and equality in South Africa today.

De Lille held a dialogue about racism and rights in Heideveld to mark Human Rights Day.

The event was part of the City of Cape Town's second phase of its 'inclusive city' campaign, to address racism and to build a culture among residents where people know their rights.

The campaign was launched last year.

The mayor says today's dialogue was aimed at discussing human rights and building communities based on them.

"I was very impressed with the input from the community of Heideveld and surrounding areas about what can be done so that we can all be united and take steps forward."