Hon Minister Sicelo Shiceka;
Hon Premier Kiviet;
Members of the Provincial Executive present;
Mayors of OR Tambo and Ingquza Hill Municipalities;
Hon Mayor OR Tambo District Municipality;
Hon Mayor of Ingquza Hill Local Municipality Cllr W Ngozi;
NHC CEO Advocate S. Mangcotywa;
Ladies and gentlemen;
Ndiyanibulisa nonke Zidwangube neziDwesha ezidibene apha kuLomzi wakwa Faku!
I stand here today, in the land of Nkosi Faku, Nkosi Mqikela, the land of Nkosi Sigcawu, great leaders and sons of warrior kings - deeply honoured to grace this culmination of the three days of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Ingquza Hill massacre.
This is the land where the struggle icon and venerable leader, President Oliver Tambo was born.
I thank the Department of Cooperative Governance and all the stakeholders such as the local municipalities for organising this event. I also thank the traditional leaders in this area for blessing this occasion.
Ladies and gentlemen;
This is quite an emotional event, which I believe evokes mixed feelings in all of us here. For as we prod down the gloomy memory lane, many of us remember the pain and suffering that engulfed this area on that fateful day of the 6th of June 1960, on the one hand.
At just one fell swoop the apartheid regime visited an untold misery on our innocent people gathered here on Ingquza Hill, killing eleven of them at once, subsequently claiming at least thirty more in the gallows in 1961.
Indeed this event evokes memories of great apprehension which pervaded in this area, in the entire Eastern Cape, and in the country at large, when people ran helter skelter from the agents of the oppressive state.
This was the time when the country was still reeling from the shock of the Sharpeville massacre, mourning their loved ones, families destroyed by the wanton detentions of people all over the country.
It was the time when established and emerging political movements were banned in this country, sentenced to complete annihilation.
Little did it occur to our detractors that with the banning of political organizations, the resolve to fight against oppression grew even stronger.
They could arrest, detain, torture and maim, but they could not subdue our spirits which is why we are here today.
On the other hand, ladies and gentlemen, this commemoration is a very profound demonstration of the nations capacity to rise above pain, division and strife to build a common future based on reconciliation a future which we can all embrace and be proud of for many generations.
Today we commemorate the spirit of Magxagxa, the first man to die from the shooting here on 06 June 1960, the man who ironically was shot while hoisting the flag of peace for the enemy to see.
We memorialize the courage and will of Warner and Tony Johnson, some of the venerable struggle leaders at Lusikisiki.
More importantly, we commemorate the lives of the eleven people brutally killed on that day and the 30 who perished in the gallows later on.
Many people were also injured in the shooting, and some of them are here. We pay homage to you your scars are indelible marks of the price you paid to fight against apartheid and to liberate this country.
Therefore it is about our heroes and heroines that we are gathered here today, and we pay tribute to their courage and relentlessly fight for human dignity.
Ladies and gentlemen;
When the colonizers came to this country, they not only stripped us our political and economic autonomy forcefully, they also subjected us to constant oppression for various ends.
We know of the many wars fought in the eastern frontier, as we do about countless others fought in the hills and meadows of KwaZulu-Natal and many parts of this country.
Our forefathers fought for this land with courage and determination, and they died with their dignity intact, despite their loss.
Over time many oppressive and alien measures were introduced in this country, and we are all witness to their ugly effects.
Through the 1913 Land Act, we lost our land, our only means of dignified survival.
The year 1927 was a culmination of Commissioner Lagdens pronouncement after the South African war of 1899-1902, that it was their vocation to reduce our traditional leaders to policemen, who will just be callous functionaries and conduits of oppressive laws.
These laws enforced a discriminatory social and economic arrangement which was first institutionalized among others through the Lagden Commission of 1903.
They enforced the integration of our people as labour into the mining industry, and traditional leaders were expected to be expedite this process.
Some of them did execute the tasks with alacrity, some stood in defence of their people, even to the point of detention, banishment, torture and killing.
In many of our communities we are sitting with the legacy of such wanton disruption of our traditional authorities, which is why commissions have often been established to deal with this aspect.
In the 1930s and 1940s, in the small strips of land where our people were crammed by the 1913 Land Act, more strange measures were introduced, again forcefully.
These were the so-called rehabilitation measures, which entailed among others stock culling, which had drastic effect on the already stretched means of survival.
In addition to this, our people had to bear the burden of various outrageous taxes, such as poll, animal and hut taxes, as well as many others which our traditional leaders had to help enforce.
With the introduction of formal apartheid in 1948, many more brutal measures were invested, which include Bantu Education and pass laws to limit our rights to good education and free movement respectively.
Not only were black people barred from political participation, but oppressive measures piled up and took their own toll, and that was what the gathering here at Ingquza Hill was all about and the people were brutally killed, despite their clear indication that they were for peace.
We pay homage to their determination to fight for equality and dignity at all costs. We pay tribute to the the people of Lusikisiki, Bizana and many others in this region who said we cannot take it anymore.
We celebrate the leadership of Madikizela, Tshangela, Mbodla, Ntshangase and many others who mobilized against the apartheid system, including in places far afield as Xhalanga.
Therefore today as we remember that fateful day and the collective struggles of the time, let us embrace a strong united nation that we have managed to build out of the relics of this ugly past.
With our attainment of democracy in 1994, we have through our constitution and laws restored the might and dignity of our traditional leaders and the rights of our people.
We have created a possibility for our traditional leaders here and countrywide to work in partnership with the municipalities to deliver the services to our people.
The 1960 revolt was not only against the oppressive laws and wanton resettlement; it was also about the crudest effects and manifestation of that marginalization, being poverty.
It has come to our realization that there has been virtually no development in this area since that time. This event therefore highlights the plight of this area, as well as our commitment to improve the lives of the communities here.
I understand that Eskom has set plans in place to electrify three wards in Ingquza area, wards 24, 26, and 27 in the next financial year. The first connections to 100 household are expected by the end of August 2010.
The project scope is 547 households` connections to be completed by end of March 2011.
Discussions with OR Tambo District Municipality as a water authority to supply water for the entire Igquza area are at an advanced stage, and the feasibility study has been conducted by the DBSA.
Through the assistance of the South African Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL), the project for the tarring of the road is underway and has already started in Bizana.
The clarification meeting was scheduled for earlier this month, involving stakeholders from Ingquza Hill, Lusikisiki and Port St. Johns.
The towns of Lusikisiki, Mbizana and Flagstaff need massive revamp to attract investment and stimulate local economies and more attention will be paid to them.
We also believe that the plans by government, in particular the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (COGTA), to establish co-operatives in each and every ward in Ingquza Hill will be a significant dimension in this drive for economic revitalization.
The majority of our youth are unemployed and are the worst infected by HIV and AIDS. We therefore all need to intensify the battle against this disease and strive also for the protection of our women and children.
We need to fight against illiteracy and to ensure that our education facilities are improved and well equipped.
Therefore this occasion also accentuates our commitment to serve the people of this country.
This is also what the people were fighting for here in Pondoland in 1960 as well and unlike our predecessors, we cannot bury our heads in the sand.
Ladies and gentlemen;
The historic FIFA World Tournament is now a mere three days away and as you have already seen, our boys have already heightened our expectation with the most fabulous display so far.
As part of the 2010 soccer tournament arrangement, the SABC, Eastern Cape Province and CoGTA have arranged a well resourced public viewing area for the community of Jikindaba and Ingquza to enjoy this tournament. I am told it has enough water supply, electricity and ablution facilities.
In addition to this, COGTA and SAFA have concluded a memorandum of understanding to establish a soccer and leadership academy in the OR Tambo District and we hope this plan materializes as well.
As a heritage site, Ingquza Hill shall occupy a special place as a monument raised to peace, reconciliation and commemoration of our heroes.
I believe that this event, commemorated in three days, will teach the young ones about their history and will encourage them to work together to defend the gains which have been made through democracy.
I thank you!