Deputy President David Mabuza has described the hanging of freedom fighter Solomon Mahlangu by the apartheid government as a barbaric act that should never happen again.

Mabuza, senior government and ANC officials and the Mahlangu family visited the the Kgosi Mampuru Prison in Pretoria to commemorate the 39th anniversary of his execution.

Mabuza was given a tour of the gallows. He says the fact that the gallows are being converted into a museum shows that the struggles of political prisoners were not in vain.

“Here we are standing outside the gruel place, all of us free. That means what they were fighting for were real. And we are all inspired by their actions of courage. This will always remain a lesson to all of us that enjoy the freedom reminding us that this did not come on a silver plate. That people sacrifices their lives for us to be free.”

Political prisoner Solomon Mahlangu was hanged on this day at the age of just 22. He has been hailed as a brave soldier.

Mabuza described the visit as an emotional and painful reminder of the heavy price people like Mahlangu paid for our freedom. Other leaders present include ANC SG Ace Magashule and TG Paul Mashatile.

Mahlangu was an uMkhonto We Sizwe soldier.

‘Young people to stand up and fight the remaining ills’

Mabuza says young people do not appreciate the freedom they have because they don’t know the sacrifices people made to get it. Mabuza addressed several members of the ANC including the family of struggle icon Solomon Mahlangu.

“Many of our young people don’t understand, why we are here. That is why they do all sorts of things, They don’t appreciate that this freedom came at a price. So we are calling upon the leadership of young people to stand up and fight the remaining ills. We need to fight racism, sexism, poverty and unemployment.”

At the Solomon Mahlangu Legacy Foundation’s Scholarship Fund Commemorative dinner in Pretoria on Thursday, Mabuza says Solomon Mahlangu was drawn into the struggle because of his deep love for his country and the people.

“His life teaches all of us that revolutions are born out of deep love and deep care for others. To honour him we must continue to demonstrate great care and compassion for our people. We must work with them at all times to improve their conditions.”

Employment of young people

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) board chairperson Sifiso Mtsweni has called on employers in South Africa to make the employment of young people their priority.

Mtsweni says companies should help to alleviate unemployment among young people.

“As young people we continue to make a call to all companies in this country to place youth employment at the centre of their recruitment policies, especially graduates. We can no longer afford to drive cars and in streets corners and robots we see graduates holding placards like beggars simply begging for a job. We are simply calling for companies to start taking youth unemployment serious.”