Celebrate freedom, democracy and the right to equality

Crowds flee the police during the Sharpeville massascre in 1960. (Photo: BAHA)

Crowds flee the police during the Sharpeville massascre in 1960. (Photo: BAHA)

The Gauteng government, working with Sedibeng and Emfuleni municipalities, hosts the provincial 2015 Human Rights Day on March 21, to mark the 55th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre. 

Since 1994, March 21 has been commemorated annually as National Human Rights Day. The festivities to commemorate this important milestone in the journey of the struggle against apartheid will take place in Sharpeville as a provincial event under the theme “21 Years of Freedom and Democracy, The Right to Equality”.

MEC for Infrastructure Development Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, joined by provincial MECs, executive mayors and councillors, will lead proceedings to pay tribute to the victims and survivors of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre, where 69 people died at the hands of apartheid armed forces.    

This year’s festivities include the unveiling of a plaque for victims of the January 12 1992 Nangalembe massacre in Sebokeng, the laying of wreaths at Phelindaba Cemetery and the Sharpeville Memorial and a public address by Mayathula-Khoza.

Play your part to protect and respect human rights

We all have a responsibility to entrench the culture of human rights. Everyone has the right to be treated equally, irrespective of race, colour, gender or origin, as prescribed by our constitution.   

Violating human rights is illegal and must be reported to the authorities. We must preserve and strengthen our human rights record and history for future generations.

Rights come with responsbilities

As the custodian of the constitution, the government has a responsibility to protect the rights of protesters and non-protesters, while ensuring that the law is observed.

Protests that threaten lives and property and destroy valuable infrastructure that is meant to serve communities undermine the very democracy that upholds the right to protest.

South Africa was built on the bedrock of negotiations and therefore communities must learn to engage each other to seek solutions rather than resort to violence         

South Africans have a right to protest in a peaceful and orderly manner in line with our Bill of Rights.

As South Africans we all have a collective responsibility to build a society that respects the rule of law, respects one another and respects life and property. 

Gauteng cares and delivers

In line with moving the Gauteng City Region forward, the province is committed to ensuring that all basic human rights are realised and protected.

Gauteng prides itself on providing access to quality basic education, healthcare and shelter. Gauteng is the home for all nations, where social cohesion and unity are uplifted. Gauteng is home to the highest court in the land (constitutional court) which is tasked with upholding and protecting human rights.