Freedom Day Speech by Honourable Premier Ms. H. Jenkins

27 April 2010

We have gathered in the De Aar region to celebrate our nation's sixteen years of freedom with you: the people of a region that has helped shape our nation with all the pain and suffering; with all the courage and heroism that have marked our country's path to democracy.
We celebrate your own individual contributions to the struggle for freedom. We salute the people of Prieska, Britstown, Colesberg, Petrusville, Philipstown, Vanderkloof, Marydale, Hanover, Carnavon, Vosburg, VanWyksvlei, Douglas, Campbell, Griekwastad, Nierkershoop, Noupoort, Hopetown, Loxton, Strydenburg, Victoria- Wes, and Norvalspont who rallied behind the call of the people's movement to put an end to the twin evils of social oppression and economic deprivation.

Today marks yet another milestone in the long and difficult journey that South Africans have travelled to achieve our freedom and democracy from a tyranny of oppression and exploitation.

This day further highlights the supreme sacrifices that have been made by our heroes and heroines in order for all South Africans to enjoy the freedom that we have today. It teaches us of the brave and heroic struggles that were waged by our forebears in the face of the most brutal and barbaric system of apartheid.
The United Nations Organisation declared apartheid as a crime against humanity. Today, on Freedom Day, we must make the clarion call and insist that racism has no place in our democratic country. A few individuals who refuse to accept democratic change can never compromise our noble objective of building the nation and shaping the future for our children and generations to come.

The people of our country worked to realise the goals of the Freedom Charter, which calls for a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, black and white! As we gather here today we reaffirm the democratic ideals enshrined in our constitution. We embrace our diversity! We salute the millions of South Africans, both black and white, who work to build a united South Africa.

The theme of freedom day this year is “Together deepening our democracy and celebrating our freedom”. This theme instructs us as a nation, both black and white, to join hands and embrace the noble values of our freedom as enshrined in the constitution of our country. We carry a joint responsibility to build a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

On this day, sixteen years ago, South Africans from all walks of life and shades of colour participated in the making our new country.
We celebrate the bill of rights which distinguishes us amongst the nations of the world and guarantees all South Africans freedom from the repression and hatred which characterised our past. We celebrate living in a system which guarantees that never again, will our human dignity be taken from any South African irrespective of their race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.

We cannot disappoint nor fail world icon and father of the nation, former President Nelson Mandela, who proclaimed that:
“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world.

Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!”
We can proudly proclaim that as a nation and province in particular, that many significant strides have been made to improve the quality of life of our people over the years. However, much still needs to be done. We must build more houses to provide shelter to the homeless. We must make clean water accessible to more people beyond the millions who have gained access since 1994. More houses must be connected with electricity and telephones beyond the millions connected since 1994.
Our strategic priorities as a country must speak to the needs of all our people. We must help them access the Economic Empowerment Policies we have put in place. The empowerment of women and the youth are the key to the achievement of our goals of poverty eradication and economic upliftment of our people. We should on this important day pledge that we will join hands to confront the scourge of poverty. Working together in government, business and civil society, we must ensure that our democracy translates into real economic benefits for all people.

We must strengthen our poverty eradication programs like the Expanded Public Works Program and the Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Program to ensure a better life for our people.

On the health front in particular, we must strengthen our initiatives to decrease violence against women and children, supporting survivors of violence, developing guidelines on treatment of rape survivors and integrate our efforts to deliver quality health care to all our people.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to announce that the province will be launching the national mass HIV Counselling and Testing Campaign to improve the health profiles of all South Africans. We must fight the scourge of AIDS by breaking the silence that encourages its quiet devastation. We must fight the fear and prejudice that can only worsen the suffering of those who live with AIDS.

Education is another key priority area which is placed high on the developmental agenda of government. Our government is determined to acquire the requisite skills to build a winning nation. We will continue to steadily increase our investment in education, housing and health of our nation.
One of the great benefits of freedom was when in April 2004 FIFA bestowed our country with hosting the 2010 World Cup as the world had realised then we had indeed come of age as a nation.

We will be celebrating the fact that South Africa and indeed the entire continent will showcase to the world our dance, music, rich culture and heritage during the FIFA World Cup. The billions of people will be tuned in to watch a unique and truly African World Cup in June 2010. This event will unite all South Africans to rally behind our national team Bafana Bafana.

As we mark Freedom Day today we have so much to be thankful for. In celebrating our liberation we must be mindful of our compatriots who perished in pursuit of our constitutional democracy. However we should also be mindful of the many challenges that still face our country.
Of deep concern to me is the question of race relations. Recent tensions were quite palpable and an antagonistic approach to the many vexing but surmountable challenges we face is anathema to a free and exemplary democracy such as ours.

We cannot afford to adopt a confrontational approach, no matter what our political or social standing is. If we do not listen to and understand each other, we will obviously not be in a position to nurture our democracy and live in peaceful and harmonious co-existence.
Together let us make a reality of the hopes to which we gave birth sixteen years ago.

I thank you
Ndiyabulela
Baie dankie

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Office of the Premier 
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Kimberley 
8301

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