‘We may be free, but we are still eco­nom­i­cally en­slaved’

Diamond Fields Advertiser - - NEWS - BRENDA MASILELA STAFF WRITER

PRES­I­DENT Ja­cob Zuma said that black peo­ple might have been freed from the apartheid regime, but they are still eco­nom­i­cally en­slaved.

“I don’t carry a pass, I’m now free, I can sell along the streets with­out be­ing ha­rassed by po­lice, I’m free. It’s all true, but it’s not com­plete,” Zuma said.

Zuma was speak­ing yes­ter­day at the Kgosi Mam­puru II Cor­rec­tional Cen­tre af­ter lay­ing a wreath for the slain anti-apartheid ac­tivist Steve Biko who died on this day in po­lice cus­tody 40 years ago.

Zuma was ac­com­pa­nied by Min­is­ter of Jus­tice and Cor­rec­tional Ser­vices Michael Ma­sutha, Min­is­ter of Arts and Cul­ture Nathi Mthethwa, and Min­is­ter of De­fence and Military Vet­er­ans No­siviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.

Biko, the leader of the Black Con­scious­ness Move­ment, died in cus­tody as a re­sult of po­lice bru­tal­ity on Septem­ber 12, 1977.

Zuma said peo­ple should ques­tion what is free and de­fine it first and fight for it.

“If you don’t have eco­nomic power, you have the po­lit­i­cal power, you don’t have the land where you can build the econ­omy ... Don’t make a mis­take and say it’s done, not yet.

He said the words and work of Biko re­mained in­com­plete and the strug­gle is not yet over if some peo­ple are still sleep­ing un­der a bridge.

“If you are black and think that ev­ery­thing has been done and you have an at­ti­tude, you are the type of per­son that Biko ex­plained, you have ac­cepted that you are in­fe­rior.”

Zuma em­pha­sised that it is im­por­tant to re­mem­ber Biko’s teach­ings, phi­los­o­phy and his ef­forts to fight the apartheid regime.

“Those who are proud of who they are, they must pick up where Steve Biko left and con­tinue, so that ev­ery South African will be lib­er­ated.”

The Pres­i­dency said that the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ued to hon­our the mem­ory and legacy of Biko.

Ded­i­cated

“Gov­ern­ment ded­i­cated this year’s Na­tional Hu­man Rights Day com­mem­o­ra­tion on March 21 to Steve Biko, ac­knowl­edg­ing his con­tri­bu­tion to the strug­gle for lib­er­a­tion and hu­man rights for all in the coun­try. The na­tional com­mem­o­ra­tion was held in King Wil­liam’s Town and Pres­i­dent Zuma un­veiled the Biko grave site and memo­rial,” the Pres­i­dency said in a state­ment on Mon­day.

The gov­ern­ment, through the De­part­ment of Arts and Cul­ture, pro­vided R130 mil­lion to the Steve Biko Foun­da­tion to de­velop the Steve Biko Cen­tre, a na­tional legacy project based in Gins­berg Town­ship in the Eastern Cape.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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