Trollip lashes out at government over Human Rights Day "snub"

06:51 (GMT+2) Tue, 21 Mar 2017

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip has lashed out at the national and provincial government for what he calls its pattern to undermine the municipality's celebrations of national importance.

This follows a letter from the Eastern Cape Arts and Culture MEC, Pammy Majodina, advising the Metro to cancel it's Langa Massacre commemoration event, which was planned for Tuesday to dovetail with Human Rights Day.

Trollip said the reason given why the Langa event has been halted, is a national Heritage Day programme in King Williams Town town today which will be attended by President Jacob Zuma.

He noted that National government cancelled the municipality's event meant to commemorate the sinking of the SS Mendi at the eleventh hour last month, after the Metro had already spent 120 thousand rand on its planning.

Trollip questioned why national and provincial government ostensibly seek to frustrate the local administration's efforts at fostering social cohesion...

"How does this coalition government begin to have a social cohesion dialogue in this city if every endeavour to promote social cohesion is undermined, stalled or even stopped by the national and provincial government.  And, the answer is we are not going to allow it, to prevent us from building a city that respects all the citizens of that city especially with regards to Human Rights," Trollip said.

Meanwhile, the ANC in Nelson Mandela announced its own plans to commemorate Uitenhage's Langa Massacre.

In a notification, ANC regional spokesperson, Gift Nqondi, said that the Deputy Minister of Finance, Mcebisi Jonas, will be the guest speaker at the event at the Jabavu Stadium in Kwanobuhle.

The chairperson of the Uitenhage Masscare Foundation, Nicholas Malgas, said he was saddened that the Humans Right Day commemoration will be held in King Williams Town, instead of Uitenhage.

However, Malgas says this will not deter them from commemorating the lives lost 37 years ago in Langa.

"For us the fact that the MEC, Pemmy Majodina, has taken the 21 March commemoration to King Williams Town, for us it is painful however we are saying we are not going to stop that even though she has shut out the mayor, saying to him that on no grounds (sic) must he assist in ensuring that we have a great commemoration in Uitenhage."

At least twenty  people were shot dead in Langa by police on 21 March 1985, on the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre even though many believe the Langa death toll was as high as 28.

Eastern Cape Premier, Phumulo Masualle,  welcomed government’s decision to host Human Rights Day Celebrations in the Eastern Cape.

He said the “Home of Legends” will honour two world renowned human rights activists Stephen Bantu Biko and Oliver Reginald Tambo in this year's commemoration.

President Jacob Zuma, who will deliver the keynote address, will on Tuesday morning unveil a memorial at the gravesite of slain Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko.

“We have lost many sons and daughters in the liberation struggle of our country and it is only fitting that we remember fallen heroes like Steve Biko, the Mxenges, the Cradock three as well as many others who made the ultimate sacrifice for the betterment of all,” Premier Masualle said.