Address by the MEC for Eastern Cape Roads and Public Works Pemmy Majodina on the occasion of the launch of the Bhisho Revitalisation Programme, Bhisho
28 Sep 2010
The Honourable Premier
Members of the Executive Council and other Members of Provincial Legislature Comrades and fellow South Africans
Allow me to bring the warm greetings to our department and indeed government to everybody gathered here, as well as all our people throughout the province. We gather here today, having the common and collective responsibility to recall the events of September 1992, so that the bravery and sacrifices of our people should serve as an inspiration to all of us today to work harder to contribute to the national effort of changing the lives of the people for the better. Indeed, on 7 September 1992, the masses of our people armed with nothing but bravery, resoluteness and determination correctly identified the Bantustan puppetry government arrangement as a stumbling block to the speedy attainment of freedom and democracy.
They then marched through to the Gqozo regime to register one thing and one thing only, that is, their freedom can no longer be postponed. Only to be met with the brutal joint forces of Ciskei and South African Governments that maimed to death a lot of innocent people and injuring many. Today, 18 years later, once again our people, lead by their democratic government, are here to witness a turning point in that ugly history.
Our being here today must therefore resonate with heroism, a human resolve and a remarkable vision of freedom. In remembering these brave patriots we could use this occasion as a metaphor for all that is bitter and all that is sweet in our history. We are surely entitled to feel bitter and the needless killing of all the freedom fighters on that day by cruel-minded human beings who had arrogated to themselves the absolute right determine, with impunity, who should qualify to be considered and treated as a human being. However, our souls are surely sweetened by the knowledge that the high principles of freedom and equality for which these martyrs struggled and died have, overtime given birth to the reality of today’s free and democratic South Africa.
It is quite interesting though that we are launching a programme to vitalise the capital town of an erstwhile repressive and illegitimate regime that gave birth to the memorial site we today mark as one of the key projects to catalyse development of Bhisho, now the capital town of legitimate and democratic government based on the will of the people.
Today marks the end of speculation, empty promises and long wait as we are also revealing key anchor projects to support our programme to revitalise Bhisho. In this regard, programme director; it gives great pleasure to announce that this programme will be enchored by four key projects. These projects have been categorised into short term, medium, and long term. The short term being:
- Bhisho Massacre Memorial
- Cleaning, Waste Disposal and Recycling
- Ceremonial Boulevard and Pedestrianisation.
The memorial itself will take three phases the first phase will be fencing of the site, planting of trees for each fallen person, and the hoisting of the South African Flag. The second phase will consist of redesigning and building up of the memorial, paving and lighting.
The last phase will entail the Construction of Memorial Garden, and the Construction of Public Viewing Area. Work on all of these projects have started and will be completed in time to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the historic event. The medium to long term projects include the building of the office complex. As we indicated some time in the year, that we have now taken a decision to fund this project from our own budget, processes are now afoot to ensure that we have the start- up capital.
This will be supported by the development of middle-income houses for public servants ad professionals. We, of course, understand that the prerequisite for success in this and other initiatives is the availability of among other things, land and bulk infrastructure support. That is why we are in partnership with the Buffalo City Municipality on finding lasting solutions to infrastructure challenges including jointly engaging the National Treasury for funding. We have accordingly categorised the challenge of land and buildings into:
- Land parcels in private ownership. Regarding this category, we will engage owners with a view to encourage them to use the land for productive usage. We will also make available land owned by us and the municipality for development by private developers
- Our own buildings, we are currently in a process to give all our buildings in Bhisho a face lift. This is done in a manner that will complement the architectural impressions of other projects we spoke about earlier. We will also give these buildings modern look and feel so as to enhance our revenue collection capability
- Buildings and land owned by municipality, all of this will be done within the context of zoning and rezoning where necessary. We believe that this approach will open up opportunities for business to prosper.
As we do all this work, we are mindful of the fact that all these efforts will not make meaning to our people if jobs are not created, and their lives are not touched by this development. It is this understanding that made us to take a deliberate decision to premise the development that will take place here on labour intensive approach so as to guarantee that our people get jobs and skills whilst service delivery is enhanced. We have a strong conviction that the first prize for these fallen heroes and heroines is the restoration of dignity to the millions of our people. We fully understand that, that can be achieved only if our people get jobs so that they can be able to put food on the table, buy school uniform for their kids, and contribute to community initiatives.
To the victims-fallen and those still alive, family members and close relatives, our collective message is that we are proud of you, take solace from the knowledge that your efforts, your bravery, your selfless sacrifices have brought us freedom and democracy. Together, let us continue to work together to find ways of supporting one another for it is easier when we work together than to suffer in our little corners. Let us hold hands and forge ahead.
Source: Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works
Issued by: Eastern Cape Roads and Public Works
28 Sep 2010
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