President Motlanthe was not heckled
As the lead institution in the preparations and implementation of Freedom Day celebrations, the Department of Arts and Culture would like to state that reports of crowds heckling President Kgalema Motlanthe are untrue. They are misleading and aimed at creating sensationalism.
The masses of people present at the stadium knew that President Motlanthe was the main speaker at the Freedom Day celebrations. They had travelled many hours to attend the event and came there because they wanted to hear him addressing them and to celebrate 15 years of freedom.
The fact is that the sound system used at the stadium was of poor quality and we (national Department of Arts and Culture) take full responsibility for that. The matter was immediately discussed at the end of the event and more discussions will follow to ensure that this does not happen again.
When the crowd could not hear President Motlanthe’s speech, they started to signal that fact to the programme director. We witnessed this. The programme director responded and indicated that we were aware of the sound problem and were working on it. Thus we are surprised to read claims that the crowd heckled the President.
Despite the sound problems, the event proceeded smoothly and true to the theme under which we celebrated this Freedom Day, namely ‘Together celebrating our democracy and building a better life for all’.
Issued by the Department of Arts and Culture
Enquiries: Mack Lewele 012 441 3083/082 450 5076