Jus­tice ‘should have been pri­ori­tised’

Mabuyane re­grets that rec­on­cil­i­a­tion took prece­dence over vic­tims

Daily Dispatch - - News - MKHU­L­ULI NDAMASE

Eastern Cape pre­mier Os­car Mabuyane came out guns blaz­ing when he de­liv­ered the Bhisho Mas­sacre me­mo­rial lec­ture on Mon­day, say­ing get­ting jus­tice for the vic­tims of the apartheid and ban­tus­tan regimes should have come be­fore push­ing for the rec­on­cil­i­a­tion project.

He also weighed in on the planned name changes of East Lon­don, the East Lon­don Air­port, Ber­lin and King Wil­liam’s Town, and the re­moval of colo­nial and apartheid-era stat­ues and mon­u­ments, say­ing fail­ure to take them down would be “tan­ta­mount to idol­is­ing the pain they in­flicted on us”.

Mabuyane also blasted Clicks man­age­ment for the ad­vert which por­trayed African women’s hair as “dry, dam­aged, fizzy and dull”, say­ing there was no place for racist ad­verts in 2020.

The Clicks ad­vert, which was later with­drawn and for which the chain apol­o­gised, saw the EFF em­bark­ing on a na­tion­wide an­tiracism protest on Mon­day.

Speak­ing about the 29 vic­tims of the Bhisho Mas­sacre on Septem­ber 7 1992, the Bio­ba­tong Mas­sacre on June 27 1992, the as­sas­si­na­tion of an­ta­partheid ac­tivist Chris Hani on April 10 1993 and the killing of five chil­dren in Mthatha five months later, Mabuyane said vi­o­lence had been a ploy to de­lay the demo­cratic elec­tions in 1994.

“Ac­tion should have been and should be taken against the peo­ple who au­tho­rised the killing of our peo­ple in the Bhisho Mas­sacre, Bio­ba­tong Mas­sacre and the killing of five chil­dren in Mthatha in 1993. They are still alive.

“We should have placed get­ting jus­tice for the vic­tims of these crimes above our quest for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and it is not too late to do so.

“When ac­tion is not taken against per­pe­tra­tors of such atroc­i­ties, they tend to get em­bold­ened; they don’t see their wrongs and sadly their ac­tions tend to [be] re­peated by other peo­ple who see there are no con­se­quences for such acts.

“The Marikana Mas­sacre is one case in point which has un­for­tu­nately tainted our demo­cratic dis­pen­sa­tion.”

Be­fore de­liv­er­ing the lec­ture, Mabuyane laid wreaths at the me­mo­rial site.

Mabuyane said the ANC-led gov­ern­ment had com­mit­ted it­self to im­prov­ing peo­ple’s lives by grow­ing the econ­omy, creat­ing jobs, pro­mot­ing tourism, re­viv­ing agri­cul­tural schemes and get­ting fac­to­ries up and run­ning again as the best way to hon­our those who had been killed by for­mer Ciskei home­land leader Oupa Gqozo’s sol­diers 28 years ago in Bhisho.

The pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment was also fix­ing clin­ics and hos­pi­tals while pri­ori­tis­ing schools, es­pe­cially those in ru­ral ar­eas and town­ships which had been ig­nored dur­ing the apartheid and ban­tus­tan regimes.

He an­nounced that, as part of pro­mot­ing na­tion-build­ing and pre­serv­ing po­lit­i­cal her­itage, State House would soon be re­named Lil­lian Died­er­icks State House in hon­our of the anti-apartheid ac­tivist.

This comes as the leg­is­la­ture re­solved last week to re­move all stat­ues of colo­nial and apartheid-era lead­ers.

Buf­falo City Metro is also a step closer in re­nam­ing East Lon­don to KuGompo, East Lon­don Air­port to King Phalo Air­port, Ber­lin to Ntabozuko and King Wil­liam’s Town to Qonce.

Peo­ple have been given un­til Septem­ber 21 to com­ment or ob­ject to the pro­pos­als.

The DA has started a pe­ti­tion which it hopes will stop the “friv­o­lous name changes ”— with pro­vin­cial deputy leader Chantel King say­ing name changes would be a waste of money.

How­ever, Mabuyane dis­agreed, say­ing: “The cost of name changes is far out­weighed by the sig­nif­i­cance of the his­tory and her­itage we want to re­store.

“Of course re­mov­ing stat­ues of the peo­ple who bru­talised our peo­ple will not solve our so­cial ills but it is the con­tin­u­a­tion of our heal­ing process.”

Speak­ing about the Clicks ad­vert saga, Mabuyane warned that if it came to the gov­ern­ment choos­ing be­tween Clicks and the peo­ple — it “will stand on the side of the masses”.

How­ever, he con­demned the van­dal­ism of the Clicks store in Ko­mani, mak­ing a veiled at­tack on the EFF, say­ing it had hi­jacked the ad­vert saga for its own po­lit­i­cal mileage.

“Cor­po­rates should em­bark on ad­ver­tise­ments that unite our peo­ple. There is noth­ing to gain for both gov­ern­ment and cor­po­rate SA from a racially di­vided na­tion.”

SUP­PLIED Pic­ture:

SOLEMN OC­CA­SION: Pre­mier Os­car Mabuyane at the Bhisho Mas­sacre gar­den of re­mem­brance, af­ter he laid wreaths to mark the 28th an­niver­sary of the killing of 29 peo­ple by the Ciskei ban­tus­tan regime.

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