David Mabuza wants war heroes to be honoured

Thousands of people gathered at Fountain Valley before walking to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Heritage Day.
Thousands of people gathered at Fountain Valley before walking to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Heritage Day.

Acting President David Mabuza has appealed for the heroics of those who fought in the SA wars to be remembered.

Mabuza was speaking at Heritage Day celebrations in Kokstad in KwaZulu- Natal on Monday in an address which also called for unity.

Mabuza is the acting president while President Cyril Ramaphosa is abroad.

"Some perished at the sinking of the SS Mendi for example. Their remit was to fight for our dignity, to plead for humanity and to communicate our sage commitment to a common humanity. Their efforts, rebuffed as they were, remain lodestars to our common humanity," Mabuza said.

"But we remember too the bloodshed between the British and the Afrikaners on these very shores.

"We must remember that they too counted the descendants of the Dutch, the French, the British settlers, the fortune hunters, the gold-diggers and the cane cutters who came here either to seek wealth out of the richness of our land or as indentured labourers."

He said although South Africans should be united in diversity, they should not turn a blind eye on the issue of land expropriation.

"As we celebrate this important day we must confront with determination the historical fault lines and injustices that continue to threaten our peace and stability so that we can finally move forward as one people, one nation and one SA founded on shared values."

Prior to his address, Mabuza honoured Griqua leader Adam Kok III.

Meanwhile in Pretoria, more than 35 000 people, clad in colourful traditional garments gathered on the lawns of the Union Buildings to celebrate Heritage Day during the 12th Gauteng Social Cohesion Carnival.

The carnival, which was being held in the capital for the third year in a row, brought the streets to a standstill.

The walk was led by Gauteng premier David Makhura, Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, traditional leader from the province and other members of the provincial executive committee.

Makhura said all schools should be encouraged to embrace the day more and showcase the diverse cultures of the country.

"Celebrating Heritage Day is not about coming here and delivering speeches. We will listen to music including boeremusiek ,which is part of this country's culture," he said.

"When we celebrate Heritage Day, we celebrate our common humanity today. We're saying to the people of the world, on this day we acknowledge that you all originate from here."

He said the high rates of violent crime and corruption had coincided with "the neglect of cultural work in our country's democratic transition".

"It will be a grave mistake for our national democratic transformation project to focus only on the bricks and mortar and ignore culture and heritage," Makhura said.

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