Tuesday, April 27, 2010

South African Freedom Day Commemorated


26 April 2010

Freedom Day marks a milestone in the history of the liberation struggle in South Africa from the tyranny of apartheid to constitutional democracy.

As we gear ourselves to celebrate this greatest achievement, which came after the release from prison of our first democratically-elected President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, other political prisoners and the unbanning of the ANC, SA Communist Party, the civic movement, organs of civil society and other liberation movements, let us remind ourselves how far we have come.

The ANC calls on all South Africans to dedicate the 16th anniversary celebration of Freedom Day by paying the much- deserved tribute to the many heroes and countless martyrs of our struggle like Matthews Goniwe, Sparrow Mkonto, Fort Calata, Sicelo Mhlawuli, Vuyisile Mini, Solomon Mahlangu, Ruth First, Ashley Kriel, Chris Hani, Niel Aggett and Steve Biko among those who fought and died for us to attain freedom. As our struggle for freedom was not only waged within the borders of South Africa, but also outside the country a fitting tribute should also be paid to the many young men and women who left the country in their droves to swell the ranks of the ANC's military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK).

At the height of state repression, the struggle waged inside the country by the Mass Democratic Movement, which included religious institutions, youth and civic organisations ensured that apartheid was rendered unworkable. We also thank the Anti Apartheid Movement (AAM) led by such leaders like the late Father Trevor Huddleston, ensuring the isolation of apartheid South Africa in sport, trade and other spheres in international relations.

Preserving this freedom through fighting crime and corruption; volunteering ourselves to work for good causes in our townships and suburbs; and working alongside Government in ensuring success of its programmes will certainly go a long way in preserving the legacy of our freedom.

Issued by:
Brian Sokutu
African National Congress
Chief Albert Luthuli House
54 Sauer Street
Johannesburg 2001

Brian Sokutu 071 671 6899

Zuma: Still much to be done

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA Apr 27 2010 16:07

Apartheid laws, like the group areas act, may have disappeared from the statute books but its effects lingered, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

"Our people still have to daily confront the impact of the law," Zuma said in Pretoria.

Addressing thousands of people gathered at the Union Buildings for Freedom Day celebrations, he said the act -- which marked the institutionalising of racial partitioning of cities and towns -- was still in existence 20 years after it was repealed.

"Many still live in areas once designated for black people... away from economic opportunities and civic services," he said.

Heavy toll on poor

"Freedom imposes on us a responsibility to work together in the process of changing such conditions."

Zuma highlighted that the cost of transport alone took a heavy toll on the lives of the poor.

This was one example among many others which Zuma said needed to be addressed to ensure that people "enjoy[ed] the fruits of freedom".

In just four years, South Africa would have been free for 20 years.

Government will have no sympathy for any reasons advanced, to explain the failure to make a difference in people's lives, said Zuma.

Millenium development goal

For this reason, government was working on increasing the pace and quality of delivery.

Zuma emphasised that the country has passed the Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people without sustainable water.

As of March 2009, over 10 million households had access to sanitation compared to five million in 1994.

"We don't deny that there is still much to be done, but a lot has also been achieved already," he said.

In putting a stop to shoddy housing development, Zuma will hold a special presidential Coordinating Council meeting with all nine provincial ministers on May 18.

Presidential hotline problems

"There is a need for habitable human settlements throughout the country."

He acknowledged problems surrounding the Presidential Hotline, saying government was working hard to deal with them.

Zuma reiterated the need for South Africans across racial lines and political divides to engage on the issues of heritage and culture.

This would help to reach a common understanding on the changing of certain geographical names, the singing of struggle songs and the slaughtering of animals to appease ancestors which is practised in some cultures.

The crowd broke into song as Zuma started delivering his speech, singing Umshini Wam in the hope that the president would join in.

Sitting just behind Zuma was Deputy Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile, who signalled to try and quieten the crowd.


The mood was jubilant at the Union Buildings, where a huge stage was set up surrounded by white tents for radio personalities and VIPs.

Although Mashatile announced that this year's event would see a lot of whites attending, the crowd was predominantly black.

A group of tourists from England stood just behind the crowd, watching the performances on stage.

Hayley Thorpe, who had only good things to say about South Africans and the Freedom day celebrations, said she will always keep a part of South Africa when she returned home.

"We were invited and we [are] having a great time, this is a great country and the people are marvellous," she said.

The crowd waved South African flags and blew vuvuzelas in celebration.

Enjoying their freedom

Some had flags draped around their necks. Dimpho Mopedi, 19 and her friend Tshidi Khoali were among thousands who braved the cold and rain to be part of the experience.

Mopedi said they now enjoyed certain freedoms which their parents were not able to at their age, "thanks to all the hard work of our freedom fighters".

"We are now able to go to multiracial schools and have white friends, but most importantly, enjoy the same benefits," she said.

However, some people were more disappointed about the free bottled water that was handed out as they were expecting something "more filling to the stomach".

Prominent South African artists performed on stage, including Maskandi artists, Phuzekhemisi and Ihashi Elimhlophe.

More people were on Tuesday afternoon still making their way through cordoned off streets leading to the Union Buildings.

A large police contingency was monitoring areas in and around the venue. -- Sapa

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
Web Address: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-04-27-zuma-still-much-to-be-done

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