Freedom Day: Key messages
19 Apr 2011
Government calls on all South African to join in celebrating National Freedom Day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday, 27 April 2011. This day commemorates the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994 and is celebrated annually as a reminder of the struggle for a free and just South Africa. This year, we celebrate 17 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa and the achievements we have made as a nation.
We witnessed the electrifying consolidation of our national identity during the hosting of the World Cup 2010, supporting the class of 2010 and even volunteering during the public service strike. It is this passion that must be maintained and built on.
The theme for this year’s celebrations is “Working together to unite the Nation, promote democracy and project freedom”.
Freedom Day provides a milestone for all South Africans to collectively participate in the commemoration of the pain and struggle to build a non-racial, democratic and free South Africa in which we all have the freedom to prosper.
- Government reaffirms its commitment to consolidate democracy and promote cultural diversity and social cohesion in South Africa, as we celebrate living in a system that guarantees that never again will our humanity be taken from any South African, irrespective of their race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.
- In commemorating all the hero and heroines and the role played by ordinary citizens in the country and abroad, government calls on all South Africans to unite in creating a better future for all.
- Nation-building requires all South Africans to live by example by ensuring that that the values and principles enshrined in our Constitution become a lived reality in the development of fully functioning communities.
- We celebrate the Bill of Rights http://www.info.gov.za/documents/constitution/1996/96cons2.htm, which distinguishes us among the nations of the world and guarantees all South Africans freedom from the repression and hatred that characterised our past.
The composite development of citizens requires intellectual stimulation, creativity, innovation and a sense of self-worth and national identity in becoming active agents of socio economic change.
- Government reaffirms its commitment to consolidate democracy and promote cultural diversity and social cohesion in South Africa. To this end Government continues to play a critical role in promoting social cohesion, nation building and building national pride, which all contribute towards the building of a National Democratic Society.
- Government has embarked on the Magnificent Friday Initiative. This initiative is aimed at mobilising all South Africans behind our national netball team, the cricket team and the rugby team all of whom will this year be taking part in their respective World Cups.
- Government, under the leadership of Department of Arts & Culture is establishing an Information Portal on Social Cohesion, initiating Community conversations lead by Provinces (at least 1 in every district) and culminating into the National Summit of Social Cohesion to be held in the second half of this year
- In the spirit of instilling patriotism and promoting social cohesion Government calls all sectors, our constituencies, political parties, NGOs, private sector, civil society, religious groups, youth and others to be part of Freedom Day celebrations.
The contract between government and the people, since 1994, has seen basic service delivery programmes being pursued to restore the lives and dignity of its people through the development of decent human developments.
- In 1994, only 62% of households had access to running water; by the year 2010, 94% of households had access to running water
- In 1994, only 50% of households had access to decent sanitation; by the year, 2010 80% of households had access to decent sanitation
- In 1994, only 51% of households had access to electricity; by the year 2010, 75% of households had access to electricity
Government has prioritised programmes and put in place mechanisms that are aimed at fighting poverty, growing our economy and creating jobs, in ensuring a positive outcome on the lives of all South Africans. Job creation has been uplifted as a critical lever to alleviate other developmental challenges.
- In partnership with the Business and Labour sectors government is committed to creating enabling conditions for the economic empowerment for all South Africans. Government has set aside R9 billion for over the next three years for a jobs fund to co-finance innovative public and private employment projects.
- The New Growth Path (NGP) is aimed at enhancing growth, employment creation and equity. The policy’s principal target is to create five million jobs over the next 10 years.
- Government has put in place key programmes to ensure that the foundation of Basic Education is solid and also to ensure that people acquire the requisite skills to meet the demand of a growing economy. R5 billion has been set aside for the National Skills Fund, which has key responsibilities for training work seekers.
- Government continues to pursue its social programmes which are linked to social justice and freedom. We have allocated R73 billion over the next three years for the Expanded Public Works Programme.
Let us remember and celebrate freedom fighters and those who contributed to freedom in South Africa through the 15th National Orders Awards ceremony on Freedom Day, 27 April 2011 at the Union Buildings.
- The National Orders are the highest awards bestowed upon citizens by the President of the Republic of South Africa.
- As an initiative that was implemented at the dawn of the decade of freedom, it also contributes towards the symbolic building and consolidation of our new democracy.
- National Orders are awarded to deserving citizens and eminent foreign nationals. The President as the fount of honour in the country bestows these Orders and Decorations and is assisted by the Director-General in The Presidency, who is the Chancellor of National Orders and an Advisory Council on National Orders, in the execution of this responsibility.
- The National Orders enforce social cohesion through intergroup social cohesion. Through the orders the country can or achieves an interaction and common identity between different individuals belonging in different ethnic societal groupings that would not ordinarily identify or relate with one another.
We call on all South Africans to exercise their right in building democracy by participating at the municipal elections.
- We all have a responsibility to continue working together to build our country.
- Elections are a crucial element of democracy and it is the responsibility of all eligible persons to go and vote to protect democracy. We must participate at the local government election to ensure that we are part of the national collective to build South Africa that belongs to all who live in it.
- All South Africans have to oblige by and respect the rules of the election period to ensure that we continue having free and fair elections
“Working together to unite the Nation, promote democracy and project freedom”
Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)
19 Apr 2011
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