21 April 2018

South Africa: Ramaphosa - North West Violence Would Have Concerned Skweyiya

Photo: PHOTOESSAY: Mahikeng Revolts Against Unemployment and Corruption

Schools and businesses in Mahikeng, the capital of the North West province, have been unable to open as protests have turned violent with widespread looting. Residents are demanding the removal of Premier Supra Mahumapelo who they accuse of corruption …

President Cyril Ramaphosa says late ANC struggle stalwart Dr Zola Skweyiya would have been concerned by the violent protests that have seized the North West in the last few days.

Ramaphosa - speaking at the official funeral for the struggle stalwart in Pretoria on Saturday - said in all tasks that he was given, Skweyiya had made a difference.

"Like the violence that he confronted in the early 1990s, such violence can only serve the interests of those opposed to transformation and the progress of our people," he said.

"In the memory of our distinguished stalwart, let us unite and resist those who wish to delay our march to economic freedom for all our people."

To throw away the rule of law and to disregard the Constitution because of differences was to fall into the trap of the enemies of change, he said.

"It is to dishonour the memory of Zola Skweyiya, Oliver Tambo and all those who fought with such dignity and principle for a peaceful and just South Africa.

"As leaders, let us follow their example by ensuring that every grievance is given attention and every concern addressed.

"Like Zola Skweyiya, we must listen to the people. We must put the people first."

The ANC would bid farewell to a "gentle soul and a formidable freedom fighter", whose remarkable legacy would endure after they all were gone.

Earlier, Ramaphosa had committed to serving the party's veterans better, after recounting a day when Skweyiya had been denied access to the ANC leadership at Luthuli House.

"Such was the pain and disappointment of this cadre, who gave his life to our organisation that he said: 'Here I am and I don't even know where the ANC is.'"

The party would make a "solemn commitment" to do better after Skweyiya's "pain and disappointment".

Mahikeng meanwhile was reeling on Saturday morning after a week of violent protest that saw 32 people arrested for public violence.

Residents took to the streets in the relative calm to evaluate the damage.

Many of the roads were still littered with rocks, tree stumps and the burnt out remnants of tyres that were used as barricades by protesters since Wednesday to demand the removal of premier Supra Mahumapelo.

Police had been deployed across the town and were monitoring the situation.

Source: News24

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