One person from each of the 61 families affected by Uitenhage’s 1985 Langa Massacre will be placed in temporary jobs in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s War on Waste programme, deputy mayor Mongameli Bobani said.
He made the announcement at a breakfast with the families of the massacre victims on Monday morning.
Tuesday marks 32 years since about 35 people from KwaLanga township were shot and killed by police on the 25th anniversary of the 1960 Sharpeville shooting.
A memorial site was erected in honour of those who had died.
Bobani said it was concerning that Uitenhage was not abuzz with activity leading up to Human Rights Day.
“It is important that the massacre not be forgotten. People died so we have the freedom we have today. we are crying with the families who were affected.
“My office decided that something must be given to these families, the government must recognise that these people fought for freedom.
“We will take a family member from each of the families affected and enrol them in the programme as we fight against waste in the metro.
“This is not much, but as government we want to say thank you to family members and relatives as well as survivors,” Bobani said.
Bobani said the metro’s public health department wanted to encourage survivors and relatives of survivors to form cooperatives that will sustain them when their contracts end.
Langa Massacre foundation chairman Nicholas Malgas said the temporary jobs were not enough and victims of the massacre wanted permanent jobs instead.
“As victims we see and appreciate all the support from the municipality but the problem is that it all ends once the month of March comes ends.
“We were hoping to get a big commemoration event this year but MEC [of Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture] Pemmy Majodina saw fit to take the event to King Williams Town.
“It comes as no surprise because the event was celebrated at Duncan Village which had no connection to the massacre.
“As victims we would like a provincial conference to discuss massacres in the province and how to go about honouring our fallen heroes,” Malgas said.
A night vigil will be held on Monday night at Xaba Hall in KwaLanga.
The day will be commemorated with a wreath laying ceremony at 8am on Tuesday at the Maduna Heritage site with the event moving to the grave site in Kwanobuhle where a Headstone will be unveiled in honour of those who were killed.
Celebrations will then proceed to the Jabavu Stadium where Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas is expected to will deliver the key note address.
Meanwhile, as the municipality has been barred by provincial government from supporting the Uitenhage commemoration event on Tuesday, mayor Athol Trollip said they would hold a different event at the Donkin Reserve.
“We are starting at the Donkin. We will have a meeting with the people invited and civilians to commemorate Human Rights and to remember that many people made sacrifices.
“We will hoist a flag at the Donkin and we will walk the Route 67 that commemorates Mandela’s life and we will gather at Vuyisile Mini Square.
“We are assisting the Uitanage Massacre Foundation in cleansing. We have given them financial assistance to provide food and an animal for the cleansing ceremony.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) we are going to send flowers to the families and three wreaths, but we are not officially participating,”Trollip said.