SA a better place to live in since 1994

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Marking the historic milestone of South Africa celebrating 30 years of democracy, government has highlighted how the South Africa of 1994 is significantly different to the South Africa of 2024, while also emphasising that it is a better place to live in.

Addressing the launch of Freedom Month, which coincides with the celebration 30 Years of Democracy in the country, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said since 1994, the economy has grown significantly and government has improved the educational prospects for previously disadvantaged communities. It has also supported infrastructure development programmes and social welfare initiatives.

“In 30 years, we have achieved what few dared to dream. We know there are more hills to climb because South Africans aspire for a better future and a prosperous South Africa. The South Africa of today is not only built by government but also built by the private sector, labour and civil society. 

"The South Africa of today... is where the size of the economy has more than tripled since 1996, where the collection of revenue from our tax collectors moved from R143 billion in 1996 to over R2.1 trillion last year,” Ntshavheni said on Tuesday.

The Minister said the National Student Financial Aid Scheme has played an invaluable role in supporting access to higher education.

“South Africa today is a South Africa where Mam Mkhize’s children can go to a university or a tertiary institution paid for by government, without needing to apply to a Minister for permission to access a university because they were previously excluded to attend universities. South Africa today is where a young child from Soweto can dream to be a pilot or a robotics mechanic.

“The South Africa of today is where children who go to school receive three meals at school because there is a school feeding scheme, which ensures that no child goes to bed hungry,” the Minister said.

Through various initiatives like the National School Nutrition Programme, Early Childhood Development, the SAFE schools sanitation programme and the Second Chance programme for matriculants, government is working to ensure that the constitutionally guaranteed right to quality education for all is achieved.

“The South Africa of today is where the women of Bizana in the Eastern Cape know that tomorrow they will be able to trade their goods internationally because they have been supported as Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).

“The South Africa that we celebrate embraces not only all in our diversity - but acknowledges the challenges that confront us, which we together as government, business, civil society and our international partners work together to  confront on a daily basis,” the Minister said.

This year marks 30 years since millions of South Africans cast their ballot in the first democratic election of 1994 for the first time in their lives. 

The 30-year celebration in the country will be premised on celebrating the gains, achievements, and the milestone of 30 years of democratic rule as well as living in a free and democratic society.

Annually, the month of April is designated as Freedom Month in South Africa. 

“As we mark these celebrations, which are going to be a yearlong celebration, we are going to be telling stories of the people of South Africa and the narrative of what government has done since 1994.

“We invite all South Africans to join in the national celebration of our 30 years. Let it be a celebration of all of us; a celebration of what we are still to achieve as we work in partnership to grow our country,” the Minister said. –