Statement by Minister Paul Mashatile on the occasion of the launch of the Build-Up Programme Towards the 20th Anniversary of Democracy
Deputy Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla
Our Social Cohesion Advocates
The Director General of the Department of Arts and Culture, Mr. Sibusiso Xaba
Members of the media
Fellow South Africans
Welcome to this launch of the build-up programme towards the celebrations of twenty years of freedom and democracy in our country.
This is indeed a special occasion and we thank you heartily that you were able to join us.
Programme Director, next year in 2014, our country will celebrate twenty years of freedom and democracy.
This historic occasion presents an opportunity for us as South Africans, to reflect on how our freedom and democracy was achieved.
It is also an opportunity to look back at the road we have traveled since 1994 to deepen the gains of our freedom and democracy.
Going forward it is an opportunity for us to work together to implement the National Development Plan; Vision for 2030 as our nation’s long term vision and a basis for collective action and partnerships across society.
Today we are beginning a participatory process that will be underpinned by a number of activities that will serve as a build-up to the twentieth anniversary of freedom and democracy next year.
These activities will culminate in Freedom Day celebrations on the 27th of April 2014; where collectively as South Africans we will say; we have come a long way!
Also guided by the spirit of Vision 2030; we will re-commit ourselves to a shared future, which together we will continue to work towards.
Programme Director, while we accept that a lot more still needs to be done to build the kind of society envisaged at the time of our liberation; we equally make the point that; the South Africa of today is far much better than it was in 1994.
We continue to make progress in giving practical meaning to the words of the founding father of our democratic nation; President Nelson Mandela, who said;
“We enter into a covenant that we shall build a South Africa, where all citizens; Black and White, will be able to walk tall without any fear in their hearts, assured of their right to human dignity; a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.”
Fellow South Africans, there is indeed a lot to celebrate!
Since 1994, we have made significant progress in building and strengthening institutions that support our democracy.
These include an independent judiciary as well as Chapter 9 institutions.
Without fail regular elections are held and the outcomes therefore are accepted by all.
We have succeeded in building an activist Parliament that continues to perform its oversight duties without fear or favour.
We have continued to expand and democratize the provision of services to all South Africans.
Today many more South Africans have access to clean running water, sanitation and electricity. Social and economic infrastructure continues to improve.
Our expanded social security network continues to provide welcome income relief to millions of households throughout the country.
Our task, going forward, is to work even harder to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and underdevelopment.
It is for this reason that as part of our build-up programme and beyond we will be mobilizing South Africans behind Vision 2030, as our collective response to the challenges we face as a nation.
Programme Director, our twenty year celebrations will seek to involve all government departments and agencies, organized labour, business, civil society, the media, faith based organizations and the academic fraternity.
Joining us in the celebrations will also be the peoples of the world, many of whom supported our struggle for liberation and have helped us sustain freedom and democracy.
This is particularly significant this year as we mark the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Organization for African Unity, now the African Union.
The Liberation Heritage Route, which will include sites from other parts of the Continent, as well as the planed cultural Seasons with Angola and Nigeria will form part of efforts to strengthen especially African solidarity in the context of the fiftieth anniversary of the OAU.
Some of the specific activities that will form part of our buildup programme include:
- The recognition of unsung heroes and organizations that contributed to the demise of apartheid
- Activities aimed at expressing our gratitude to the international community for supporting our struggle for liberation
- Massively scaled up school essay competitions
- A participatory process to identify 20 big achievements that we collectively own as South Africans;
Also critical to the success of our build up campaign and beyond is the ongoing implementation of the Social Cohesion Action Plan.
This plan was agreed to by all stakeholders at that historic National Summit on Social Cohesion, held in Kilptown last year.
We are delighted that today as we launch this build up programme, our Social Cohesion Advocates are here with us.
As we have said before, these are eminent South Africans, drawn from a variety of sectors, upon whose shoulders lie the responsibility to drive our programme of social cohesion.
Our advocates will today sign a declaration of commitment; once more to signal their intention to be part of this important national project.
We once again take this opportunity to thank our Social Cohesion Advocates for making themselves available to serve their country in this way.
You have all our support!
Fellow South Africans, let us remember that freedom and democracy came at a cost. It was not free. Many patriots sacrificed life and limb in order for us to enjoy this freedom and democracy
Let us therefore continue to work together to defend, depend and expand the gains of our liberation.
Let us celebrate our achievements and work hard to address the challenges that still lie before us.
We take this opportunity to call on all South Africans to participate fully in the build up programme towards our twentieth anniversary celebrations.
Programme Director, the countdown towards the historic milestone of our twenty years of liberation begins today.