The African National Congress joins South Africans in the celebration of Freedom Day today, 27 April 2017.
This day in 1994 ushered in a new epoch in our history – as millions of people voted for the first time; liberating South Africa from the tyranny of apartheid rule.
The freedoms we enjoy today were not free but the function of sacrifices of our forbearers that laid the foundation for the country in which we live today and we should never take them for granted.
Through the ballot on the 27 April 1994, South Africans affirmed themselves of agents of change determined to construct a society underpinned by a profound humanism.
The annual observance of Freedom Day therefore is about reflecting on far we have come as a country, and as a people.
South Africa in 2017 is an infinitely better place to live in than it was in 1994: thanks to the gains of the ANC led government in deepening democracy, building a pluralistic society and in delivering services to our people.
Together we have made significant strides to improve the quality of life of our people through unparralled investment in education, health and social security services.
Albeit at a pace slower than we would have wished, our efforts aimed at a growing and inclusive economy are bearing fruit with new investments in, amongst others, the manufacturing sector and encouraging projects driving deindustrialization of our country.
Despite these achievements, as a nation we still have many challenges to overcome. As we have noted before South Africa continues to represent the most acute manifestation of most of the social fault-lines that define humanity’s current challenges: race, class, gender and geographic location.
Income inequality and inequitable distribution of assets are at their most intense. Poverty and unbridled opulence live side by side.
Freedom Day is also about assessing the work still to be done in the quest build a National Democratic Society.
Such a society is one that is based on the best in human civilisation in terms of political and human freedoms, socio-economic rights, value systems and identity.
It is also one that guarantees social emancipation and a better quality of life for all, especially the poor.
Its attainment requires ongoing decisive action by society led by the ANC government to effect thorough-going economic transformation and democratic consolidation.
As South Africans mark this day we should give pause for reflection on the role each and every South African must play in advancing this vision.
We must at all times remain vigilant of certain sections of our population who were the beneficiaries of the old order and are bent on either reversing this achievement or at best stall the progress.
Ours is to confront those elements intent undermining the popular electoral mandate in order to reverse the gains of our hard-won democracy.
Issued by the African National Congress
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707