Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and several Cabinet Ministers yesterday laid wreaths at the Hector Pieterson Memorial in Orlando West, Soweto, in honour of the victims and heroes of the June 16 1976 Soweto student uprising during the 40th anniversary of the day that helped change the course of South Africa history.
The Deputy President was given a military salute as he arrived at the wreath-laying ceremony.
He then led Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau and representatives of the families of Hector Pieterson, Hastings Ndlovu, Dr Melville Edelstein and Khotso Seathlolo to lay wreaths in tribute of the fallen heroes.
Basic Education Minister Angie Motshega, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Des van Rooyen and Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula also graced the occasion.
Mayor Tau said it was an honour for him to pay tribute to the youth of 1976 for the role they played in the struggle for liberation. He said the City of Johannesburg had created many opportunities for the youth through Jozi@Work and Vulindlel' eJozi programmes. The City had also built a network of online facilities to enable students to have easy access to education and start their own businesses.
“The City of Johannesburg has started transforming Soweto and the city at large through the Corridors of Freedom, which the youth of 1976 fought for. Our quest is for a better education and better opportunities for all,” he said.
After the ceremony, the delegation and VIPs were led to the official opening of a multipurpose court at the nearby Belle Primary School, next to the spot where Mbuyisa Makhubo’s plaque has been erected. Makhubo was the young man who was pictured carrying the dying Hector Pieterson after he was shot by apartheid police.