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  • Written by  Irvine Makuyana - www.thenewage.co.za
  • Published in In the News
  • Read 3011 times

Survivors want reparations

Sharpeville massacre survivors took to the streets to demand the implementation of an effective reparations policy on Tuesday. Survivors of the massacre marched to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development on Monday and to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Survivor Mary Mantso said: “We are victims of the apartheid era. We did not get reparations.

“Only a quarter of the survivors of human rights abuses of the countries past were compensated. Initially, the state had promised to pay us between R16 000 and R26 000 a year for six years.

“The state then changed and promised to give us R120 000. They only gave us R30 000.”

Another survivor, Selloame Phetane, said: “We were promised medical aid, free education for our children, houses and counselling, but all that never happened.”

Protesters demanded that the government speed up and extend payment of reparations to all survivors of apartheid human rights abuses.

“We want to be recognised, respected and heard,” Phetani said. “The government forgets that it is our blood that watered the tree of freedom.” Protesters said they felt that the awarding of special pensions had been flawed by delays and lack of transparency.

In the memorandum, Sharpeville massacre survivors accused the state of “failing to provide reparations to all victims and survivors of gross human rights violations”.

They also accused the state of “failing to work with all victims and survivors to provide compensation that meets their urgent needs”.

Protesters at the Union Buildings expressed concern that survivors of the Sharpeville massacre were dying without being compensated.

Both marches were organised by Khulumani Support Group, a movement for the survivors of apartheid era human rights violations. “The government is failing to recognise us as people who are sick and traumatised,” Phetani said.

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