President Cyril Ramaphosa marks Freedom Day at the Mili Yili sports grounds in Makhanda on Saturday. GCIS
Today during Freedom Day celebrations at Makhanda in the Eastern Cape, commemorated 25 years since South Africans headed to the first democratic elections in 1994, President Cyril Ramaphosa and those those in attendance stood for moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the recent floods in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
On Wednesday this week the President announced that relief funds be made available to assist communities and families affected by the floods. He also sent his regards to the people of Mozambique following the landfall of cyclone Kenneth.
At the commemoration in a a packed marquee at the sports grounds where the national Freedom Day celebrations were held. Ramaphosa said we must rid our country of crime and corruption and gender-based violence, adding that South Africa was able to fight against the apartheid regime and can again overcome current challenges. “Together we can overcome the challenges of the present. Regardless of race, creed, disability, sexual orientation, religion or social standing, we share as a source of pride the name ‘South African’. It belongs to each and every one of us, and we wear it with honour,” he said.
The president today took stock of the progress south Africa has made over the course of its 25 years of democracy while also highlighting the challenges that persist. “On this day 25 years ago, we founded a new country defined by the principles of equality, unity, non-racialism and non-sexism. Despite the passage of time, it is a day we remember vividly – the exhilaration of seeing nearly 20 million South Africans of all races waiting patiently at polling stations around the country to cast their ballots (for the first time).
“For those of a certain age, we remember the moment we placed a cross on a ballot paper for the first time in our lives. I remember voting at Kloof Gold mine in Westonaria among the mine workers who built the country’s wealth, but had never before been accorded the most basic right of citizenship,” said Ramaphosa said.
“On this Freedom Day, as we celebrate this great human achievement, we must reflect on how far we have travelled over the last quarter century. “We must reflect on the progress we have made in setting right the wrongs of the past, in bringing development to communities where there was once only neglect, in restoring human dignity where there was once only contempt,” the President continued.
Many sacrificeS were made to attain the freedom that many South Africans enjoy today with the country remaining “deeply unequal”. Many divisions between the rich and poor, he said, remain even though employment has increased by R8-million to a total R16.5-million South Africans being in employment.
“In the past 25 years considerable progress has been made in improving the material conditions of our people,” he said, adding that more than nine million learners today attend no-fee schools.
Among the many aspects of progress made, are that seven in 10 South Africans make use of the country’s network of primary health care, clinic and hospital facilities either entirely for free or for a minimal fee. In addition, more 17 million social grants are paid to poor and vulnerable South Africans each month. “The South African economy has also doubled in size but despite “these remarkable achievements”, too many of our people still live in poverty.”
– SAnews source – Edited