This freedom was not free

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria – Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane has urged every South African to uphold the freedom and democracy the country has enjoyed since 1994.

“Our freedom came at a tremendous cost and must be jealously guarded. We must never lose sight of the sacrifices of those who came before us, so that we can be free today.

“It is up to us to carry the torch of freedom that so many of our fellow countrymen and women fought and even died for. Let us be the generation who celebrate their legacy,” he said on Thursday.

The minister was speaking at the National Communication Partnership (NCP) Session, which is aimed at bringing together stakeholders in the communication field. The NCP is a platform for inclusive information sharing across all sectors of society, and serves as a partnership for a shared vision of unifying the nation around celebrating 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy in South Africa.

The session coincided with the launch of 2014 Freedom Month.

Minister Chabane said the fact that South Africa was now a better place to live in before 1994 was not empty rhetoric, as everyday life was full of examples of how things have changed since the first democratic elections.

“South Africa is indeed a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994. This is not simply a feel-good declaration. It is evident wherever we look. It is tangible and very real for millions of South Africans as they go about their daily lives.

“We have worked tirelessly to build a better life for all our people, especially those who were deliberately underdeveloped and sidelined by apartheid,” he said.

How far SA has come

Minister Chabane said South Africa’s 20 Year Review, released last month by President Jacob Zuma, confirmed the progress the nation has made so far.

The review tracks the advances over the past two decades and how the country has fared in realising the objectives set in 1994. It also recommends how best to address the remaining challenges.

Minister Chabane said the NCP allows government and all the stakeholders to cement their partnership and find new ways of working together to expand on the good story South Africans have to tell as a nation.

“As communication partners in this historic event of 20 Years of Freedom, we need to reflect on all that South Africa has become and ensure that we are at the cutting edge of all communication efforts.

“We must also exercise our roles responsibly, with a view to project an accurate picture of our progress as a nation to date. We all have a responsibility to effectively mobilise our society behind these countrywide celebrations and build on our achievements,” he said.

Minister Chabane said over the past 20 years, the country has forged a national identity that is built on mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance, which laid the foundation for nation building and social cohesion.

“This is our chance to celebrate our victory over apartheid and to look back on our hard won democracy. We have made significant progress in transforming the apartheid state into a democratic one.

“We have much to celebrate and be proud of in this regard. At one time, we were a nation at odds with each other. Our peaceful transition had stunned the world when some predicted that the country would be divided by a civil war,” he said.

Minister Chabane also encouraged delegates at the session to take the opportunity to celebrate freedom by reflecting on the progress made by the country.

While the country is still faced with the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and inequality, government has put in place the National Development Plan (NDP) to help overcome these.

The NDP outlines the type of society SA wants by the year 2030. The plan enjoys the support of key stakeholders and Minister Chabane said work must continue to realise Vision 2030, as set out in the NDP.

The NCP, he said, must result in a joint effort to communicate the many successes that South Africa has achieved over the last two decades of freedom. -

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