Roodepoort - Home Affairs Deputy Minister Fatima Chohan has urged pupils in Roodepoort to be proud of their South African citizenship and to work hard to attain their goals.
Chohan visited schools in Roodepoort on Wednesday to highlight the importance of IDs and encourage pupils to apply for them.
Addressing pupils at Princess High School, Chohan said as citizens of a democratic country, South Africans were entitled to equal rights and equal citizenship.
"That means the only thing that stands between you and the attainment of your dreams is hard work. Only hard work differentiates people in our society now," she said.
Chohan re-iterated that in the eyes of the state, all citizens were equal and the obstacles that some citizens encountered in the past were no longer there.
"You are the only one standing in the way of achieving your dreams... This is the age at which you set the foundation for the rest of your life," she added.
Chohan also highlighted the importance of values such as human dignity and equality.
"Human dignity says that you have the right to be respected... not because you are good looking, not because you have a family with a lot of money... but because you are a human being and for that reason, you are deserving of respect," she said.
She urged the youngsters to respect themselves, saying that no one would give them respect if they did not first respect themselves.
"If each of us treats ourselves with respect, we would have a respectful community, a respectful school, and a respectful country."
Chohan went on to stress that an ID was the key to unlocking doors available to citizens of the country.
An ID was required when accessing government services and was essential to attend university, open a bank account, get a driver's licence or register for employment.
"In this modern age, no one can function without an ID. It follows you from your birth to the grave."
She also called on those who already had IDs to keep them safe, warning that they could be used to commit fraud and other criminal acts if they fell into the wrong hands.