Langa Massacre victims' families spell out grievances to MEC
The department of sports, recreation, arts and culture will commemorate provincial Human Rights Day in Uitenhage next week in an effort to honour and highlight the victims of the 1985 Langa Massacre.
MEC Fezeka Bayeni on Friday met the families and victims of the Uitenhage massacre, to not only highlight the government’s plans for the March 21 event but provide a platform for the families to air their grievances regarding the support previously promised them by the department.
Langa Massacre Foundation chair Nicholas Malgas said the families of the victims and the survivors felt that the Langa massacre had not been as highly commemorated or honoured as others and there was no support given to those families in terms of education and housing.
“It has taken government so many years to make a meaningful change to the lives of those beneficiaries.
“The living conditions of these people are dire. Some even struggle to put food on the table and the majority do not work, and this makes us on this side of the province feel like a stepchild,” Malgas said.
On March 21 1985, on the 25th anniversary of the Sharpeville massacre [Human Rights Day], police opened fire on a crowd of people gathered on Maduna Road between Uitenhage and KwaLanga township, killing more than 20 people and wounding many others.
Bayeni said Eastern Cape premier Oscar Mabuyane would address the provincial event to be commemorated at the Derrick Ferreira Stadium in Rosedale.
She said they had engaged with the foundation and the beneficiaries, from time to time, which culminated in the meeting.
She acknowledged the role played by the foundation in linking the department with the victims.
“The issues raised relate to the provision of houses for the families and survivors and education issues.
Bayeni said it was the responsibility as government to assist, through already existing systems, such as no-fee schools and NSFAS.
“But we have also agreed to undertake a continuous assessment of the needs of these families. Families differ and there is a need for continued assessment.
“We have agreed that upon completion of that assessment, we will decide as government who gets food parcels and their frequency, looking at the availability of resources.”
Bayeni said another issue that had been raised was honouring the precinct itself where the massacre took place.
“The site was declared and the first phase of putting up a monument was done in 2015.
“Now the second phase is to develop a precinct similar to that of the Bhisho massacre with permanent employment for those beneficiaries,” she said.