Archive for April, 2012

Shamble Sharpeville massacre

Posted: 12/04/2012 in Politics

On 21 March 1960, events were planned for many parts of the country, for people to protest against the Pass Laws. These laws required all Africans living or working in and around towns to carry documents (known as passes) with them at all times. Failure to carry this document would lead to arrest by the police.

At Sharpeville in Vaal Triangle, thousands of unarmed people gathered at the police station demanding to be arrested. They were met by 300 police officers who opened fire on the crowd. Sixty-nine people were killed and more than 180 others were injured.

It came as a shock to the residents of Vaal when it was announced that the annual event was now going to be hosted in Kliptown, Soweto as it was now known as “Human Rights Day”. This resulted in rioting and even jeopardised Sedibeng Mayor Mahole Mofokeng’s chairpersonship, a lot of questions were on most people’s lips and stubborn as the government is was not willing to shed a light as to why the sudden change of area. One question that seeks an answer is will Youth Day be shifted to Sharpeville since it too is a national holiday?

This decision will definitely add to the long list of political blunders committed by President Zuma’s government. The government’s justification that moving the event from Sharpeville amounts to moving forward and not being trapped in the past is not only insensitive but absurd. In fact, judging from the reaction by the people of Sharpeville and the statement by Mofokeng, the decision has created divisions within the people of Gauteng and the ruling party itself.

Mofokeng told protesting residents that the ANC Gauteng leadership had unsuccessfully tried to convince the national leadership that the commemoration be held in Sharpeville, as has always been the case. “It observed the Sharpeville massacre. Indeed, given the historical essence of the event and how it changed the political climate in the country, Sharpeville and the monument subsequently built in the area are of historical importance. So important that it is unimaginable that any commemoration of this historical significance could exclude paying homage to the place where it happened. ”