MEC Dhlomo with Chief Magistrate Edmund Ngubane

KZN Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo has thanked members of the judiciary for their instrumental role in the upholding of law and order in democratic South Africa.

The MEC was the main speaker at a function held at the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, to commemorate Freedom Day (27 April 2018), as well as highlight the significance of Human Rights Day, which is commemorated countrywide on 21 March. Coincidentally, it was on 21 March 1991 that MEC Dhlomo was released from Robben Island after being sentenced to ten years for terrorism at the self-same Durban Magistrate’s Court in 1986.

Commenting after addressing a group of magistrates, senior prosecutors and lawyers at the function, MEC Dhlomo said, “I was happy to get an invitation from Chief Magistrate Edmund Ngubane. On the 27th of April, as we commemorate Freedom Day, we need to reflect as South Africans. Now we have a new dawn that looks into all aspects of our humanity. This South Africa belongs to all of us, black and white. Nobody should venture to think that this country is not for other race groups. “So, we were there to encourage (those who work at the Durban Magistrate’s Court), and commend them for the good work that they continue to do to normalise our situation, through prosecutions… sentencing people for social ills crimes related to rape, murder and instability in society. They are the final arbiter to assist us to make sure we normalise our society.”

MEC Dhlomo also reflected on the importance of 21 March, which is Human Rights Day. “I was telling them that 21 March was a day of my release from Robben Island in 1991, having been charged in the very same court where I was speaking. It was a paradox that I was invited to speak in the same court that I appeared in, in June 1986, charged for terrorism, which gave me a sentence of ten years. (This time around…), my invitation was very interesting, coming in there to share with them the democracy that we now
enjoy.

“Because things that made us to go to Robben Island and to be sentenced were those things that were saying the country belongs to a particular group of people who must behave in a particular way, and some of us must then carry ‘dom passes’ and suffer other forms of human rights violations. So, we would want to say, never again should we have a country that will undermine the human rights of other people because there’s a dominant group of people who think that that must happen,” MEC Dhlomo added.