Indian President visits Pietermaritzburg train station
7 May 2012
Premier of the province of KwaZulu-Natal Dr Zweli Mkhize has committed the provincial government to continuing to honour Indian leaders who contributed towards socio-economic development of this province.
He was speaking during a visit by Her Excellency Mrs Pratibha Patil, the President of India to Pietermaritzburg train station. The premier took a president on a train ride from Pentrich station to Pietermaritzburg station, an exercise that gave the president first-hand experience of horrible and racism conditions Mahatma Ghandi found himself subjected to. Ghandi was as asked to relocate to a less desirable part of the train after a white man had complained but he refused and he was thrown out off the train.
Premier announced recently that Pietermaritzburg Station will be one of the stations that will be upgraded with a budget of about R140 million over the next 18 months. . PRASA’s Property Management Division is managing a station upgrade/development program to ensure PRASA’s operational buildings, facilities and stations are well maintained, upgraded and clean. The program also includes a commercial component to ensure that stations generate additional revenues to reduce the reliance on operational subsidies for the management and maintenance of the stations.
“Importantly, this province, working with the National Heritage Council, civil society, cultural organisations and community organisations is crafting what we call the political routes which maps together places, people and events that were pillars of the South African struggle. Pietermaritzburg station is one of the important political sites.”
“These sites and political route will be a strategic political and cultural resource which we want to use for amongst other things; cultural tourism, local economic development and more importantly political education.”
“Importantly, we remain indebted to the Indian indentured labourers for their contribution especially in terms of establishing the agricultural potential of Kwa-Zulu Natal making it the world renowned region of the sugar industry.”
“They did this despite the harsh conditions that were meted out by the apartheid government. Indeed they were a good stock of men and women who have left an indelible mark.”
"We remain grateful for the support of Indian government in human capacity development that has seen over a hundred students flying to India for training in various fields sponsored by the government of India."
For more information, contact:
Regi Khumalo (Media Liaison Desk for Dr Zweli Mkhize)
Cell: 079 751 6108
Ndabezinhle Sibiya, Premier’s Spokesperson,
Cell: 082 3754742
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Office of the Premier
7 May 2012
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