Note to editors: The following remarks were made by Phumzile Van Damme MP, DA National Spokesperson, at the Nelson Mandela memorial statue overlooking Bloemfontein this morning.
On 27 April 1994, the chains of oppression in South Africa were cast off, and freedom was felt for the first time.
On that day, democratic elections signalled a journey from a broken past, to a healed future.
South Africans queued for hours, from before daybreak, to be part of a change we hoped would never be undone.
When President Mandela took office he expressed the hope that, out of the darkness of our past, would be “born a society of which all of humanity will be proud”.
Nelson Mandela, uTata Madiba, was a South African who worked every day for our freedom, and for the betterment of South Africa. He was a selfless leader, a compassionate leader, and a determined leader.
We have come together at this statue of Madiba overlooking the City of Manguang, Bloemfontein, to honour this legacy.
As we gather here today, South Africa is a 21 year old going through a quarter life crisis.
Our society is still divided on the basis of race, and the circumstances of our birth. Freedom remains incomplete, without a reconciled and transformed South Africa.
We know that reconciliation is a journey, and not a destination. For as long as government does not deliver to our poorest communities, we will not bring about a fairer society, and our people will never be truly be free.
Recently we have seen the most terrible violence driven by xenophobia. We have seen South Africans beating and killing, looting and burning – chasing our neighbours, our brothers and sisters, with weapons and with hate.
Our freedom came through peace overcoming violence, and through love overcoming hate. A culture of xenophobia is not the South African way. It is not the Madiba way.
But today we say to President Zuma: our people are frustrated as you lead South Africa from crisis to crisis, forsaking our economy and killing jobs.
Our people are not free while they queue on the streets for casual work every day because they cannot find jobs. And our people are not free while we go without electricity, water, houses, and toilets.
Our people are not free while government corruption costs us billions of rands, and blocks delivery of what we need.
This country is angry, Mr President, and the frustration of our people grows daily. So when King Goodwill Zwelithini incites people to violent xenophobia, our streets become fertile ground for anarchy to reign.
Do not deploy the army, alone, as a solution, Mr President. Tackle the root causes of anger, and get our economy growing.
While jobs are being lost and life is becoming more and more difficult every day, we instead see the ANC government reducing our freedom bit by bit.
State capture is the hallmark of Mr Zuma’s presidency.
He has captured the Police. The Hawks. Crime Intelligence. State Security. The Public Broadcaster. The electoral commission.
These are institutions meant to protect our freedom. Instead President Zuma wants them to protect his freedom.
But it doesn’t need to be this way. The freedom of all in South Africa is what motivates the DA every day to keep on working for a better tomorrow.
Our constitution is the guardian of our freedom. It is there to protect and enshrine our rights, and protect us from the evils of power abuse. It is the foundation of our future and must be defended.
Our constitution is the modern-day legacy of the fight for freedom that President Mandela led, through dark days.
When leaders speak of side-lining our constitution, or try to challenge it, we must see this as an assault on our freedom.
Our march toward a transformed, reconciled and prosperous South Africa is not yet over.
The DA will always hold the ANC to account when it acts against our collective freedom.
Unable to deliver on the promises of freedom, the ANC has chosen a new path of division. Today they seek to divide us and to make us sceptical of one another.
The ANC has abandoned the unity and reconciliation example of President Nelson Mandela.
It is no longer convenient for the ANC that people are reconciled. Reconciled people do not subscribe to the politics of race, and the ANC has only got race politics left to mobilise for votes.
We must stand against this, and as people of this nation we must reject division for political purposes.
Instead we must acknowledge that great leaders of the past have left us a legacy on which to build a better future one of freedom, fairness and opportunity.
We must live these concepts, and we must reject being divided. That is not the Madiba way.
This nation needs reconciliation, economic growth, leadership and selflessness – then we will feel real freedom.
Let us reconcile, and unite.
Let us stand together for economic growth.
Let us honour the legacy of President Nelson Mandela.
And let freedom reign.
Phumzile van Damme
DA National Spokesperson
Source : Democratic Alliance