VELLY MAKASANI MANZINI MP
DEMOCRATIC ALLIANCE MP IN THE NCOP
Speech delivered in the NCOP during the Freedom Day Debate
Freedom Day is an annual celebration of South Africa’s first non-racial democratic elections of 1994. Peace, unity, the preservation and the restoration of human dignity hallmarks Freedom Day celebration on the 27th of April of each year. In the spirit of building a South Africa that belongs to all, Freedom Day celebrations are intended to unite all South African’s in consolidating our country’s democracy.
The road to democracy was long and difficult one. All people of colour were denied the vote and hence a say in running of the country. South Africa was never truly independent not democratic. The exclusion of the majority of South Africans from political power was at the centre of the liberation struggle and resistance to white minority rule. Blacks were systematically herded into restricted areas and homeland and their rights to equal opportunity denied.
It is a fact that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white. Black and White fought for this freedom. The Soweto uprising of 1976 saw increased militancy. Even the Church could no longer stand by silently, and added its voice to the liberation struggle. The State of emergency failed in an attempt to suppress the freedom movement. By 1993 a stalemate had been reached. What next? The Government began looking for a way out and as a result started negotiations with the ANC leadership. The ANC, SACP, PAC and other organisations were unbanned on 2 February 1990. The Wind of change was blowing over the sky of Africa. A non-racial Constitution was eventually agreed upon and adopted in 1993. The New Constitution came into effect on 27 April 1994; they the Nation cast its vote in the first democratic election in the country. Nelson Rolinhlanla Mandela was inaugurated as the President of South Africa on 10 May 1994.
Tomorrow, our country will celebrate Freedom Day, to mark the liberation of our country and its people from a long period of colonialism and White minority domination. Freedom Day is a day for all South Africans. When South Africa was liberated both the oppressor and oppressed we liberated. Today we proudly say. “One Nation One Future” It is therefore imperative for South Africans of diverse political and economic backgrounds to work together towards a common objective. On Freedom Day we celebrate the relentless efforts of those who fought for liberation, of the many men and women who took up arms and courted imprisonment, banning’s and torture on behalf of the oppressed Masses.
Are we really free when our people remain poor, unemployed, unwarranted violence due to poor service delivery? On Freedom Day, we remind ourselves to defend our Constitution. We need to ensure that all our people enjoy the fruit to these freedom not merely as theoretical rights but they must form the daily life experience of all South Africans.