Lalani ngenxeba mindeni, duduzekani sizwe sakithi.
Ngempela, ithi ingabankulu ingazekeki.
Siyisizwe nabantu bakwaZulu-Natali, sisemanzini,sisotakwini, sikhihla esika Nandi isililo ngokuhanjelwa yizingane zelengabadi ngokukhulu ukuzuma nangesikhulu isihluku.
Noma isho iminjunju, amadolo exega, nentukuthelo siyizwa, kepha siyokugqolozela emehlweni ukufa ndini, ukufa okuyinuku, sikuklodele sikufele amathe sithi kufa luphi udonsi lwakho! Siphinde sithi mhlaba ndini kazi awunoni ngani nakhu ulokhu ugwinye njalo izihlobo, abangane, nezingane zethu.
Njengoba ziqaqamba izinhlungu, ithemba lethu silibhekisa kumdali wezinto zonke, uSimakade, umqali nomphelelisi wokholo lwethu.
Sikhumbula amazwi ajulile alotshiwe encwadini engcwele ku Mshumayeli 3 ivesi 1-3 lapho lithi khona izwi:
“Konke kunesikhathi sakho,
yonke indaba inomzuzu wayo phansi kwezulu.
Kukhona isikhathi sokuzalwa
nesikhathi sokusiphula okutshaliweyo;
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-3)
May this painful and tragic hour in the life of our provinceand the families be a time of faith, not despair, hope not hopelessness, of healing, not injury or opening of wounds.
To all bereaved families who are going through this shatteringpain with the untimely demise of your loved ones, please be consoled by Psalms 34:18 which says, “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Take comfort too in Matthew 5:4 where our all-knowing and all-powerful creator says: “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
At this point, may I humbly request that we all rise, bow our heads, and observe a moment of silence as I call the names of the children of this soil whose lives were cruelly and mercilessly cut shot on the 9th of July 2022. Please join us in saying good night and fare thee well:
• Sithembiso Mjoli
• Luyanda Mjoli
• Nhlonipho Mbanjwa
• Nkosiyezwe Malunga
• Thamsanqa Malunga
• Sphethuxolo Chiliza
• Menzi Nzimande
• Mlondi Ndlangisa
• Philani Mngonyama
• Sibongiseni Jokazi
• Sibonelo Ngubane
• Njabulo Ndlangisa
• Sifiso Sosiba
Thank you, compatriots!
It is a tragedy that this massacre which occurred in Soweto stole the hope and promise of our nation. This hope is written in all the great names that were given at birth by hopeful and optimistic parents.
It is a calamity that no heart of a parent was ever designed for or could be prepared for.
The youngest of the deceased from this community is said to be 19 years old and the oldest, is 35 years old. In the South African categorization, they are all defined as being part of the youth. On such a somber day, we know what the ancients meant when they said no parent should have to bury their sons or daughters. It is not normal, it is not the natural order of things.
In a time of war and conflict, it can be expected for parents to bury their children.
As we close the eyes of our children to say they must rest in eternal peace, may their deaths help open ours to what is going on in our land.
This colossal loss that has come with the massacre of these young people must help us see the vulnerable and risky conditions that many black young people of our land live in.
The war against black youth is reflected in the unacceptably high levels of violent crime and murder in our country.
Day by day, this violence, swallows the hopes of young people and snuff out their promising lives in front of our eyes.
Behind the high murder rates in our country, it is the untold stories of mainly young black men who are killing each other. This violence permeates all aspects of our lives giving rise to a situation where poor young men are either in prison or at the cemetery.
It was Tshepo Tshola of Sankomota who sang Ho Lokile. It was Sifiso Ncwane who also sang “Kulungile baba uma kuyintando”. And many years ago, it was Horatio Spafford, a Chicago lawyer who composed the popular song, “It is well, it is well with my soul” after going through excruciating pain with the loss of his loved ones.
We will also seek comfort in these songs to come to terms with our grief.
But we must refuse to accept that this is our natural order of things.
We must refuse to accept that black lives, that the lives of black youth will be perpetually at risk from armed criminals.
This loss of life must push all of us to create a South Africa that belongs to all, black and white.
It must galvanise us to create the South Africa of our dreams which is truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, equal, and prosperous.
Side by side, we must work to eradicate the culture of violence and bloodshed in our society. We must hasten to create the new model man and woman who frowns upon violence and intimidation. We must create a new man and woman who embodies Ubuntu, dialogue, and peace as our core values.
This is our moment to seize the day to create safer, stable, and thriving communities where young people have an array of choices for recreational activities. And more importantly, we must continue to push hard to transform and deracialize the economy to ensure that black people in general and Africans in particular also have meaningful participation in the country of their birth.
This means that we must create opportunities for the rural youth of KwaZulu-Natal in the villages and townships where they are raised.
It is clear that lack of opportunities and rural poverty continue to push poor youth to move to bigger cities like Durban and Johannesburg in search of economic opportunities. Nearly three decades into freedom and democracy, it is clear that our country still has to overcome apartheid spatial planning, rural poverty, and exploitative labour migration that has been the backbone of the colonial and apartheid economy.
The Provincial Government of KwaZulu-Natal has identified youth skilling, youth economic empowerment, and well as youth employment as an urgent priority.
We urge our young people to take full advantage of the opportunities that their democratic state is providing to educate and skill them from grade R all the way to institutions of higher learning.
Education and skills are fundamental to self-development and we urge all young people of Mzimkhulu and the Harry Gwala District to make use of them. Government will continue to support initiatives to grow youth employment in KwaZulu-Natal and support youth entrepreneurs through initiatives like Operation Vula, the KwaZulu-Natal Youth Development Fund, Support for the Township and Rural economy, RASET, the Black Industrialist Programme, through set-asides for women and youth and 30% of public procurement going to young people.
We appeal to all the youth of this province to stand up and look for these opportunities. We also implore the private sector in KwaZulu-Natal to do more to support youth development and economic empowerment.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have gathered in the home of outstanding youth leaders who came from the Harry Gwala Region, Cde Sindiso Magaqa and the late Mayor and Deputy Speaker of the KZN Legislature, Cde Mluleki Ndobe. We owe it to their sacrifices and memory to create a more stable and safe KZN for the children of this area.
Today we have come to the home of our dearly departed comrades under this veil of sadness and despair to say goodbye to relatives, friends, and children of Harry Gwala who perished during the attack on the Mdlalose Tavern in Orlando.
This sad memorial comes after several attacks took place in taverns including the one in Enyobeni in East London, the Eastern Cape where 21 young people died.
Eleven days ago, in the Pietermaritzburg area of Sweetwaters, on 09 July 2022, a mass shooting occurred at the Samukelisiwe tavern. Reports indicate that the 12 patrons were shot at randomly leading to the death of four people in total.
As we heard from the Minister of Police Bheki Cele, in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in Orlando, at least 130 AK47 cartridges were discovered after the attackers mowed down 16 people.
These violent attacks on our people have only brought back the terrible and traumatic memories of the violence in the late 80s and 90s that saw political violence causing loss of life and limb. It was a time when the rogue white security forces had a hand in sponsoring these violent and terrors attacks. As we gather here at this memorial service, we are called on to be vigilant and to jealously guard our hard won peace. KwaZulu-Natal and indeed our country simply cannot afford the violence and murders. We must give peace and development a chance.
We call on the police to ensure that those who took the lives of these young people are apprehended and face the full might of the law/ What is however very clear and worrying is that the attacks in the two In the Pietermaritzburg case, police were swift to arrest suspects in the case.
Violence in our society has a potential to derail our programme of delivering a better life for all. It undermines the achievements made by the democratic government since 1994.
We wish to echo President Ramaphosa who said: “As a nation, we cannot allow violent criminals to terrorise us in this way, regardless of where such incidents may occur”.
We also share the sentiment from Lucky Ntimane, the convener of the South African Liquor Traders Associationwho has said: “Taverns should be safe spaces where patrons are able to socialise and enjoy their alcoholic beverages in a safe environment. The National Liquor Traders Association is concerned about the security of its traders and patrons we call on police to investigate fully the circumstances that led to that tragedy”.
As the Provincial Government, we will continue to engage the liquor industry to enhance safety of patrons and that they don’t sell alcohol to underage children. We are already working hard with the police to reduce the proliferation of guns in society.
The disaster occurred during Men’s Month, an important month that shines light on challenges faced by men. We wish to reiterate that KwaZulu-Natal needs its boys and men to play their constructive part fighting crime, reducing violence, and building a peaceful KZN.
It is also a month where we commemorate the rich and human rights legacy of Founding President Nelson Mandela. To the parents, families, and children of the late, please be encouraged by Madiba who said: “May your choices reflect your hopes, not fears”. It’s again Madiba who defined himself as an optimist, remarking, “Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.”
To the grieving families, we pray that like Madiba, you are able to gather the strength to keep your hope alive, and to keep moving forward.
We are here to remind you that our loved ones are like branches of a tree that are cut off completely, but which in themselves do not completely destroy the tree itself.
As the winter sun sets on these beautiful surroundings, let hope ring eternal because we serve a trustworthy God, a creator of all seasons, of all times – good and bad.
We call on communities of Soweto, Harry Gwala and the whole of KwaZulu-Natal to unite behind efforts to prevent crime in their communities. The fact is that criminals live in communities, and it is only when communities stand up andare prepared to expose their own children, brothers, sons and relatives who are criminals that we can finally deal with this scourge.
May this be a time to heal, a time to build, and a time to make a complete break from the culture of violence and murder in our society!
It is in our hands.
Once again, deepest sympathies loved ones, friends, and neighbours.
I thank you!