'ANC wants to erase memories of Sobukwe'

THE Pan Africanist Congress has accused the ANC of "mutilating history" as the Sedibeng municipality gears up to host a three-day event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Human Rights Day.

THE Pan Africanist Congress has accused the ANC of "mutilating history" as the Sedibeng municipality gears up to host a three-day event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Human Rights Day.

On March 21 1960, the PAC called for a peaceful march in Sharpeville in the Vaal to protest against the pass laws.

Police opened fire on the marchers and killed 69 people.

PAC president Letlapa Mphahlele said yesterday: "We still call it Sharpeville Day. The question of human rights erases the significance of the day. It is a day of mourning and remembrance. The name must evoke memories."

Mphahlele said other political parties were celebrating the day instead of commemorating it. He accused the ANC of conspiracy by not mentioning that Robert Sobukwe (one of the founding members of the PAC) had organised the march.

"The silence is about erasing memories of Sobukwe. It is unfortunate that they treat the day as something spontaneous - like an earthquake.

"There is a calculated move by the ruling party to de-link the day from the PAC," he said.

Mphahlele said he had not received an invitation to attend the three-day commemorations to be hosted by the municipality.

He said the PAC was different from both government and the ANC as it was the only party that held commemorations in both Sharpeville in Gauteng and Langa in Cape Town. "The PAC president alternates between the two areas, and the preparations for the commemoration are under way in both places," he said.

He said PAC members would visit graves of the victims and lay wreaths in both areas before gathering. The party would also invite survivors and its members who organised the day with Sobukwe.

He expressed shock that during the opening of Parliament, President Jacob Zuma failed to mention Sobukwe, although February is the month on which he died.

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