Tomorrow, 27 April 2015, South Africa will celebrate Freedom Day which marks the democratic breakthrough of 1994 and the start of our hard won transition to democracy and freedom.
This Freedom Day takes place during a difficult time when our nation is reeling from the violent actions of a minority that resulted in the people of our country being wrongfully labelled as xenophobic and hostile and intolerant of our brothers and citizens from the rest of the African Continent.
We mark this Freedom Day therefore, deeply aggrieved by these acts of violence and in mourning for the lives of the seven people (3 South African and 4 non-South Africans) that have been lost during this period. We take heart in the knowledge that our country is united in its quest for peace and in its call for an end to the violence which has characterised, albeit a few, our communities in recent days. South Africa has a tumultuous history of violence and discrimination.
The African National Congress is confident however that the deep seated challenges we face today are not insurmountable in the face of the solidarity and brotherhood we have seen displayed through the calls for peace and friendship led by the masses of our people.
We must use these tragic events as important lessons as we continue to build a South Africa that protects the rights of all those who live in it and as we balance the grievances of the South African population with the plight of immigrants from the continent and beyond.
The triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality remain at the centre of the challenges we face today.
While the successes we have recorded since the democratic breakthrough 21 years ago are many including amongst others, laying the foundations for a non-racial and non-sexist state, expanding access to education across all age cohorts, accommodating more than 15 million people in formal housing, increasing access to primary health care and unprecedented access to water and electricity poverty and inequality have the potential to derail the democratic gains we have made.
As we mark Freedom Day this year, we must take stock of the continuing work we are doing to ensure that we increase the numbers of our people who are in productive employ and the necessary interventions that we must implement to realise our vision of accelerated and radical socio-economic transformation.
To this end, the African National Congress welcomes the strides being made to reverse the legacy of the past, ensure redress and reduce inequality in particular the Expropriation Bill which provides a mechanism for the State to acquire another’s property for public purpose or in the public interest.
The enactment of this Bill will go a long way to ensure that land is shared more equitably amongst the people for their benefit as a whole.
Amongst the key consequences we foresee arising out of the enactment of the Bill will be a decisive shift away from apartheid spatial planning to more inclusive settlements close to places of work.
In rural areas, we envisage greater and more productive use being made of land which is currently lying fallow to enhance food security and economic activity.
That the land must be shared amongst those who work it is non-negotiable and we have been heartened by the strides many by a number of farmer organisations to move towards implementing the call for 5050 land ownership between farmers and farmworkers.
We must intensify these and many other interventions of the ANC government to move quicker towards the type of society we envisioned. This is a society where people who are able to work have access to jobs, their rights are protected and the workforce is skilled.
Incidences such as the use of scab labour and the pitting of workers against one another as happened in Durban and which reportedly sparked the so-called xenophobic attacks in that area last week must be must gly condemned.
We must use the opportunity afforded by Freedom Day, when we assess the road we have travelled to securing our freedoms as demanded in the Freedom Charter, and the build up to Workers’ Day on the 1st May to demand the speedy implementation of the National Minimum Wage.
The ANC is convinced that in addition to the proposed reforms on immigration, support for micro enterprises and other interventions to deal with the attacks on foreign nationals, the implementation of the National Minimum Wage will go a long way to ensuring that the rights to a fair and living wage for all people in South Africa is protected.
African National Congress
Keith Khoza 082 823 9672
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707
Source : African National Congress