Zuma evacuated after marquee collapses - Sabi Tips


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Zuma evacuated after marquee collapses

President Jacob Zuma was whisked to safety after a violent storm ripped through a marquee where the Reconciliation Day celebration was held in Gopane near Zeerust in the North West on Friday.

At least 13 people were injured.
North West police spokesperson Brigadier Sabata Mokgwabone said: “The injured persons include two police officials, a local municipality mayor and a chief.”
Heavy winds shook the marquee and lifted it up and Zuma was forced to stop his speech before being whisked to safety by security personnel.
Zuma had just started speaking about the events at Marikana which is forever etched in the memory as the bloodiest police action in post-apartheid South Africa when the storm forced the cancellation of the event.
The crowd of several thousand pushed as they raced to the nearest exit, fleeing the violently shaking structure, and being soaked by pouring rain in the process.

According to police, of the 13 injured, four were admitted to hospital while the rest were treated and discharged.
Zuma had earlier told the crowd that reconciliation was a two-way process.
“We should also remember that reconciliation is a two-way process. While black people are implored to come to bury the pain of the past and move on, white compatriots should also be ready to accept and support the imperative of transformation and redress,” he said.
“The implementation of measures to deracialise the economy, such as black economic empowerment, affirmative action and land reform remain critical for us to achieve true and meaningful reconciliation.
“All these are provided for in the Constitution of the Republic, which is 20 years old this month. We should drive these programmes together, as we rebuild our country. We should thus not regard reconciliation as an easy matter.”
He said South Africans must recommit to walk the reconciliation journey together.
“We come from a painful past as South Africans. We have been able to come this far in 22 years because we took that conscious decision to move on, and build a new nation.
“That was the best decision any nation coming from conflict could ever take. It was also in the best interest of the country and generations to come.”
He said reconciliation continued, and there were various aspects to it.
“I mentioned the need for redress. There is also the need to assist families that were directly affected by apartheid atrocities, who lost their loved ones in painful circumstances, to find closure and healing.
“Government is currently engaged in a programme of finding missing persons and also handing over of the remains of former political prisoners who were executed by the apartheid government, to their families.”
He said at least 130 political prisoners were hanged for politically-related offences between 1960 and 1990. 

The State retained custody of the remains of the deceased, thereby denying their families the opportunity to receive or bury them.
“The apartheid State buried the deceased political prisoners as paupers in cemeteries in and around Tshwane, despite the fact that their families were willing to receive the bodies for burial….” he said.
“Government is working hard to ensure that the socio-economic needs of former combatants are met. Many are unable to look after themselves and cannot provide for their children. 

Government established the department of military veterans in 2014 so that it can take care of the reintegration of former combatants into civilian life and to provide the necessary socio-economic and psycho-social support.”
He said some of former combatants were not on the database of the department and had not been receiving benefits that they were entitled to.
“It becomes a sore point that the former members of apartheid forces against whom they fought, receive these benefits.”
Zuma arrived to rousing applause in Gopane, an ecstatic crowd chanting “Zuma, Zuma, Zuma” as he made his way to the stage, flanked by North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
The event was held in Gopane to commemorates the bravery of women in 1957 in Zeerust, who revolted against passes in the villages of Dinokana, Lekgopung and Motswedi villages, who had refused to collect their passbooks from mobile units.
Prior to his arrival, a sod-turning ceremony was held in Groot Marico at the place where he was arrested in 1963 by the apartheid government on his way to skip the country. A monument is expected to be built at the site.

Source:African News Agency

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