Welcome to the Mpumalanga Provincial Government

Premier DD Mabuza addressing on the occasion of the Freedom Day Celebration, Thembisile Hani Municipality, Kwaggafontein

27 April 2010

Ngiyabonga Programme Director, ukunginika lelithuba lokuthi nami ngiphefumule kulomcimbi obaluleke kangaka. 

Egameni likahulumeni waseMpumalanga:  
  • Ngithanda ukuthatha lelithuba ngamukele futhi ngibingelele zonke izitatanyiswa zikahulumeni ngokwehlukana kwezigaba zabo, kusukela kuhulumeni kazwelonke kwehle kuze kufike kuhulumeni wasemakhaya,
  •  Ngibingelele amakhosi wonke aphakathi kwethu namhla-nje,
  • Bayede! Bayede!
  •  Ngibingelele abamele osomabhizinisi, izinyonyane zabasebenzi kanye namanye amaqembu
  •  Ngibingelele nakinina nonke manene namanenekazi enize lapha ukuzothamela lomcimbi okugubha usuku lwenkululeko yethu lapha eNingizimu Afrika.

Dear compatriots, ladies and gentlemen, the 27th of April is an extremely important day in our country. It is Freedom Day. It is a day that we, as a nation, collectively so, agreed and committed ourselves to honour and celebrate every year, generation after generations to come. 

Why are we celebrating Freedom Day?

The preamble in our Constitution provides an adequate answer to this question. If one is to refresh our memories, the preamble says that:

“We, the people of South Africa; Recognize the injustice of the past; Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; …….Heal the division of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights….Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person and Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations….” 

Indeed, these are some of the fundamental reasons as to why are we celebrating Freedom Day in each and every upcoming year.

Yes, as a nation, despite the injustices of the past, we agreed and committed ourselves that on the 27th of every April, we will honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land. 

Like the past fifteen years, we are once more gathered together here today to remember, honour and celebrate the memory of all those who fought fiercely for our freedom. More importantly, we are celebrating this event today in a municipality named after one of our heroes, our anti-apartheid activist, our stalwart, our freedom fighter, our martyr, our Thembisile Hani. 17 days ago, we were commemorating his 17th anniversary since his assassination.

Today, on this Freedom Day celebration, we wish to take this opportunity to salute Thembisile Hani, Dr JS Moroka, Gert Sibande, Pixley ka Seme and many other freedom fighters who suffered for justice, liberty and freedom in our land. We will forever be indebted to them. What is then expected from us is to defend, protect and advance this hard-earned freedom at all times. It must never escape our mind that many people paid a heavy price for this freedom to become a reality for all of us today.

Of course, on this Freedom Day celebration, we are also called upon to respect those who have worked tirelessly to build and develop our country. You will agree with me that since the dawn of democracy on our shores to date, South Africa is never the same.  Gradually, she is becoming a better place than yesterday and, through our hard work as a nation, many great things are still to come.

Like we did in the past fifteen years of our democracy, even today we wish to continue to humble ourselves as we pay homage and respect to our leaders like Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Joe Slovo, Nelson Mandela and many other icons of our struggle for keeping us so focused on our main vision – a vision of creating a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.  It is through their guidance and wisdom that South Africa has become what it is today. Definitely, as a collective, we are gradually making this wonderful country of ours to be a better place for everyone to live in it. 

Indeed, on this Freedom Day celebration today, we have come together again to remind ourselves about the divisions of the past that we have to continue to heal and the need to pursue our mission of establishing a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights.

Our Constitution, as the supreme law of the country, and many other polices that we have developed since the advent of democracy, are assisting to remain on course as we work our way towards the achievement of these ideals. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all of us to guard against those who are hell-bend to undermine this wonderful piece of document hailed as the best in the world.

Of critical importance, we have to continue following in the footsteps of ‘u-Tat’ uMandela’ in his endeavours towards advocating the spirit of peace and reconciliation among all South Africans. Therefore, we cannot and we should not falter in our pursuance of this noble course. Collectively, we have to ensure that anarchy does not find space in our fledging democracy.

On this Freedom Day celebration today, we are, once more, called upon to emulate ‘Ubab’ Umadiba’ by keeping our energies focused on building a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.

Truly, for Freedom to be meaningful to our people, especially the poor, we agreed that it must take into account the improvement of the quality of life of all citizens and also free the potential of each person.  We committed ourselves that, on Freedom Day, we will have to celebrate all the strides that we have achieved in our quest for creating a better life for all.

As we celebrate this Freedom Day today, evidence is showing that the lives of our people continue to be better than yesterday. If I have to take Thembisile Hani municipality as an example: 

Before the advent of democracy in 1994, this place and its surrounding areas used to look different than what it is today:
  • It used to serve as one of the reserves supplying cheap labour, through a migratory system, to the mining industries and neighbouring white farmers.
  • Poverty, unemployment and extreme underdevelopment characterized all the reserves which were a product of the apartheid system
  • Most of the roads connecting the different villages found around here were not tarred
  • Electricity and water, including other basic services were also a serious challenge for the people living in this area
  • Children were subjected to segregated education system, and more painfully
  • Black people were not part of the voting system of that time, let alone to be involved in the mainstream economy

After the dawn of democracy, things changed dramatically. It was change brought by the ANC-led government. The fifteen years of democracy that we have traversed thus far have seen the ANC-led government improving, among other things, the socio-economic infrastructure such roads, housing, schools and electricity of areas such Thembisile Hani.

As we celebrate our Freedom Day here today, we can say, without fear of any contradictions, that the lives of our people living in Thembisile Hani municipality, including those in other seventeen municipalities, are better than yesterday. 

While we proud ourselves of these achievements over the past fifteen years of democracy, we are also aware that the challenges lying ahead are still enormous.

  • Our people are still suffering from poverty and hunger,
  • Unemployment is still rife, especially among the Youth and women
  • Our economic is still exclusive and failing to satisfy the unlimited needs of our people.
  • The health profile of our society lives much to be desired
  • The skills level of our people is extremely low and, generally, not responding to the needs of our economy
  • Crime and corruption are other twin evils that continue destroy our society

It is against this background that, as the ANC-led government, together with the people of this country, have decided to prioritise job creation, health, education, rural development and the eradication of crime and corruption as important areas of work during the term of office of President Zuma’s administration.

As government, we have already put in place programmes and projects that talk to these priorities. In Thembisile Hani municipality, for instance, there are many activities that are already unfolding and some are underway.

As a build up towards this Freedom Day today:
  • 15 schools in this municipality participated in IsiNdebele Essay and Poetry writing about Freedom Day. What is more crucial about this exercise is to ensure that our indigenous languages are protected and promoted since define who we are and where do we come from.
  • Hlomani Secondary School planted trees as part of paying tribute to fallen heroes during the course of struggle for Freedom.  Learners of that school, generation after generation, when looking at those trees growing, they will be constantly be reminded that our forefathers laid down their lives for us to be educated and become leaders of tomorrow. Therefore, as young people, let us take our education very serious. It is our future.
  • As part of keeping our children and youth away from drugs, dangerous weapons and substance abuse, the Department of Culture, Sports and Recreation has already embarked on campaigns to this end in this municipality and also engaged in activities aimed at promoting different sporting codes.  
  • This morning, a fully-equipped gymnasium has been donated to Mgwezani School. I am informed that ten soccer teams, ten Netball teams and 5 teams in Volley ball will also be receiving something today as part of urging them to take sport serious, who knows; maybe the Teko Modises and Doctor Khumalos of tomorrow may emerge from here.
  • I am also informed that the Department of Health has been vaccinating frontline health workers and pregnant women for H1N1 flu, and providing children under the age of 15 years with ARV treatment. HIV Counseling and Testing is also underway, including the distribution of male and female condoms.
  • Needy families have received unused clothes and others will be receiving blankets considering that winter is already around the corner. 
  • Roads and sports grounds are also receiving attention.
  • Community Policing Fora are also being revived as part of dealing with the issue of crime.

Therefore, what are will appeal to all of us is that, let us work with government in these programmes meant for the development of communities. Our challenges are still many but if we work together we can do more. We know that water, houses, job opportunities and poverty are still haunting our people. Indlovu yethu sonke, asibambisaneni sonke. Kancane, kancane sizoze sifike lapha siphophele khona.

The 2010 World Soccer World Cup is here. We urge all of you to support this important event. Let us the best host that the world has ever seen. Let us show the world our African hospitality, ‘Ubuntu’. Let us make all tourists to feel at home.

Ngiyabonga ukungipha indlebe.

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