Human Rights month is ‘a time for cohesion and respect’

23 March 2015

The government is urging South Africans to use Human Rights month as a vehicle to foster social cohesion, nation building, national identity socioeconomic developement – as well as an end to xenophobia and homophobia, Justice and Correctional Minister Michael Masutha said at an official event held to commemorate Human Rights Day in Uitenhage on Saturday.

Masutha urged communities to stop looting shops owned by foreign nationals: “We need to root out the new habit of looting shops owned by immigrants. These shops render services to the very communities that end up looting and destorying them.”

He encouraged people to report complaints about illegal activities in immigrant communities to their councillors or to the police. “Don’t vent out your grievances by looting shops and destorying property,” Masutha said.

Addressing the crowd at Rosedale Field in Uitenhage in the Eastern Cape, Masutha paid tribute to those who died in massacre that took place there 30 years ago.

On 21 March 1985, 28 people were shot dead by police in Langa, a township on the outskirts of Uitenhage. The demonstrators had gathered to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre.

Mashuta said 21 March was now a day to reaffirm the rights of all the people of South Africa. This year’s theme is “Celebrating the Freedom Charter, enjoying Equal Human Rights for All”.

“We should go back to the tradition of caring for each other’s children and young people. We should go back to the traditon of caring for each other’s aged grannies,” the minister said.

SAnews.gov.za and SAinfo reporter