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Kgalema Motlanthe


21 March 2009, The national commemoration of Human Rights Day addressed by President Motlanthe (pictured) at the Galeshewe Stadium.

Eighteen more courts are to be built in the next five years to ensure court access for all South Africans, President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Saturday 21 March 2009 at Human Rights Day celebrations in Kimberley.
“One of the most important rights enshrined in our Constitution is ensuring that our people have access to courts,” said Motlanthe at the Galeshewe Stadium.
He said government was committed to ensuring remote and rural communities had access to justice facilities.
“Since the advent of democracy, 23 new courts have been built and 58 courts have been refurbished.
“These new courts are accessible to our people, including people with disabilities.”
Motlanthe said five more courts were still under construction and 18 more would be build in the next five years.
“Construction of a new High Court for the people of Limpopo will commence soon.
“This will go a long way in ensuring that the people of Limpopo will no longer have to travel to Gauteng to have their matters heard by a High Court.”
Motlanthe also said government was re-designating 23 of the 90 branch courts into full courts; a move which would ensure access to courts for rural communities, especially those designated as “bantustans and black townships” under the apartheid regime.
Motlanthe said the government was also trying to address the issue of language in the justice system.
“Government has introduced a pilot project to use indigenous languages in our courts.
“The objective of the pilot project is to ensure that at least one court per region conducts proceedings in indigenous languages.”
He said this move should minimise human error in translating court proceedings, as well as preventing delays due to the unavailability of interpreters.
Motlanthe also reflected on the events of Sharpeville on March 21 1960 when 69 unarmed protesters were killed and 180 others were injured for protesting against carrying passes.
“Theirs was a peaceful protest, a human rights exercise to walk freely in the streets of the land of their birth without carrying this badge of racial oppression,” said Motlanthe.
“After 15 years since the advent of democracy we should pause and look back at the road traversed, and reflect on what needs to be done to realise a non-racial, non-sexist democratic society,” he said.
Motlanthe said that since 1994 government had progressed in strengthening a culture of human rights and delivering on economic, social and cultural rights.
He said that this progress includes the prioritisation and provision of basic infrastructure, access to primary healthcare and advances in the right to education, housing, social assistance, electricity, water and sanitation.
“Our challenge, therefore, in the next 15 years is to ensure that the gains that we have made can be experienced by all who live in this beautiful country, black and white.”

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt


21 March 2009, The national commemoration of Human Rights Day addressed by President Motlanthe (pictured) at the Galeshewe Stadium.


“South Africans young and old came in their numbers to the Galeshewe Stadium in Kimberley on Saturday to celebrate 15 years of Human Rights.

South Africans across the country joined in the celebrations on Saturday to mark Human Rights Day, a day to reflect on the struggles endured to achieve democracy and freedom.

The national event was addressed by President Kgalema Motlanthe and the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Envy Surety, and was attended by various Members of Parliament, government officials, the public as well as traditional leaders.

Arriving at the stadium with her grandchildren, Margate Bothman, 77, from Galeshewe Township said that the day was very important to her because it symbolises the hardships faced by the people during the historic Sharpeville Massacre on 21 March 1960.

“I can still remember that day, it was day of tears and sorrow, seeing our brothers and sisters being brutally killed by then government police, but today we are celebrating this day because those are the kind of events that made South Africa a democratic country,” she said with a smile.

She added that although South Africa still has challenges, government has made significant progress in ensuring that each and every citizen is entitled to his or her human rights.

South Africans enjoy a world-acclaimed Constitution which includes the right to access to health facilities, education, clean water and housing among others.

Another proud elderly man, Micheal Masinda, 56, said the day means a lot to him and he wished that people could respect each other’s cultural and religious rights.

“During those days we did know anything about human rights, because we were marginalised by the apartheid system but today we are aware of our democratic rights which allow us to freely express ourselves,” he said.

Mr Masinda said he was excited that the national event has been brought to his area where there were still challenges in terms of cultural and religious rights. He believes that the event will create a positive mindset among the people with regard to human rights.

The youth have also come in their numbers to obtain information on their rights and how they could better use them to improve their lives.

A Grade 12 student, Monake Moepe said she was looking forward to learning more about her rights and she will use today’s event as a platform to get more information.

She said although South Africa has achieved 15 years of democracy, she feels more can be done to ensure that every citizen enjoys democracy.

“I don’t think South Africa has reached that stage where every citizen’s right is recognised but I am positive that in the next few years our government will be able to overcome these challenges,” she said.

While many people are still affected by poverty, inequality and racism, government has made certain gains over the last 15 years.

Its social grants programme has benefited 15 million people, 95 percent of South Africans now live within 5km from a health facility and have improving access to health facilities and clean water and 9.9 million citizens have received houses since 1994.” (From: SAnews, with minor alterations).

From Kimberley Calls and Recalls on Facebook By Steve Lunderstedt

Aeon Computer Kimberley

About Steve Lunderstedt


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