Democracy Bus

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Over the past 30 years of our constitutional democracy, we have travelled an exciting journey together with many ups and downs experienced along the way. Despite the turbulence, we have always shown our resolve as a nation to rise above our circumstances and reach this pivotal moment where we celebrate 30 Years of Freedom.   

To draw South Africans from across the country into our celebrations, the South African Road Agency in partnership with government has launched the Democracy Bus that will travel to different parts of our amazing country – from our nation’s towering cities to deep rural communities.

Through this journey we will share our unique story of South Africa rising from a turbulent past to a vibrant hopeful nation. Reaching this national milestone would not have been possible without the many people across our nation who made an extraordinary impact in both fighting for and preserving our freedom. 

Government calls on all South Africans to “get on the bus” so that they can see and experience the changes we have gone through, as well re-live the many pivotal moments in our democratic journey. 

Through the various planned activations along the route, citizens will have an opportunity to engage with government and to share their stories and experiences of living in a democratic and free South Africa.

In getting everyone talking, we can appreciate our journey and use our experiences to heal the wounds of the past. Through sharing our stories, we will start realising that we all subscribe to the same basic set of values such as mutual respect, democracy, freedom, equality and justice.

Our stories should create an understanding that our respective journeys to freedom might have been different, but we are united in our love for the country and passion to move the country forward.

The gains made by our society would also be better appreciated when viewed against what life was like before 1994. As a starting point we can undoubtedly say that life has improved and that South Africa is a much better place.

We have made significant progress in transforming the apartheid state into a democratic one founded on the values of human dignity, non-racialism and non-sexism, the rule of law, and universal adult suffrage, as enshrined in the Constitution.

We have succeeded in lifting millions of people out of poverty. Millions now have access to water, road infrastructure, healthcare, education, housing and many other basic services, which they did not have before 1994. When looking back over the past 30 years, all South Africans can be proud of the progress we have made as a young nation.

Of course, our trajectory since 1994 has not been without many challenges and headwinds.  But what has remained clear is the ability of South Africans to rise above adversity and to pull together in our darkest hours. The story of South Africa has always been about our people and now more than ever the collective future resides in the hands of the people.

Through our dialogue in the Democracy Bus initiative, we can take stock of our democratic gains, as well as track the reach and effectiveness of government programmes thus far. It allows us to focus on what still needs to be done to build a better tomorrow for everyone.

As the bus travels on our roads across all provinces to 30 locations in various parts of our country, citizens will have an opportunity to be part of our ‘Spot the Bus’ campaign. Citizens can keep a look out for information on the bus’s journey through a digital map that will be published on various social media platforms.

The bus is also expected to stop at GCIS Thusong Service centres, which are earmarked as key activation sites. It will also stop at venues for community meetings, Izimbizo and national events, as well as dams, police stations, schools, clinics and hospitals built over the years.

Whilst much has been achieved over our democratic journey, plenty of work remains as we build our nation. Through our resilient and hopeful spirit, there are no limits to what we can achieve as a nation. Let us join in the celebration of our journey thus far and together forge a path forward towards even greater development.

*Vusi Mona is General Manager: Communications at the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL)