mec calls for better lives

EASTERN Cape health MEC Phumulo Masualle has called on the people of the province to do more to improve their lives.

"We are no longer victims. We are now victors in this land," he said while addressing a huge crowd at Uitenhage's Jabavu Stadium on Human Rights Day.

Masualle reminded the crowd that it was the 25th anniversary of the Uitenhage massacre.

In 1985, police in Uitenhage opened fire on mourners walking along Maduna Road, killing about 20 people.

It was a festive day at the stadium as the near capacity crowd and several families of the victims were treated to music from various local artists.

Monday's proceedings were opened with prayers by Christians and leaders of African traditional churches.

Several members of the Eastern Cape legislature were present.

Among them were premier Noxolo Kieviet, education MEC Mahlubandile Qwase and members of the tripartite alliance.

Earlier Kieviet unveiled a monument to the victims at Maduna Road, Langa, which she called a "symbol of hope".

Masualle said: "We need to strengthen all campaigns aimed at restoring our people's dignity.

"Let us cooperate with our government to ensure that all children are given an opportunity to learn. Let job opportunities be made available to all.

"There should be free education for all, even in higher grades since we have many struggling pupils.

"We should also ensure that no child goes to bed on an empty stomach."

Masualle reminded the crowd that "it is because of these fallen comrades and their blood that we are now enjoying this freedom".

"We therefore need to work together to reach the highest pinnacle of our freedom," he said.

Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Zanoxolo Wayile welcomed the guests and regaled all present with anecdotes about the struggles of the turbulent 1980s.