The Struggle for an Open Opportunity Society Must Continue

James Masango MPL

DA Chief Whip in Mpumalanga

The following address was delivered by James Masango MPL and Chief Whip of the Official Opposition to the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature on April 24, 2012, during the Snap Debate on Freedom Day.

On 27 April this year, it will be 18 years of what one will call democracy in South Africa. All South Africans will be remembering and celebrating one of the most important days in our calendar. Freedom Day

It was on the 27 April 1994, when non-white South Africans put their crosses on a ballot paper for the first time, and experienced true political freedom.

For those of us who were part of that experience, April 27 1994 will live in our memories to our last breath. And for those who were not there, it will live in history as a beacon illuminating the triumph of humanity over inhumanity.

I cannot forget the day the first democratically elected President, Mr Nelson Mandela was sworn in as South African president in Pretoria. All South Africans were glued to our TVs for the rest of the day, not even wanting to get up to go to the bathroom. What a wonderful day.

Oppression is always driven by the worst instincts of human kind – greed, fear and hatred. It is sustained by a callous indifference to the suffering of others.

Let me quote from our icon, the former President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, and probably his most famous: “Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.”

If all of us, especially political leaders at all levels, can always remember these words, live them and practise them, South Africa will be a better place to live.

Unfortunately it is not the case with some of us as leaders. We are still trapped in a racist mentality that is preventing us from moving forward.

As we are privileged to be celebrating this day, and living our freedom under a Constitution that cherishes our humanity, let us remember those selfless freedom fighters, who lived and died without knowing this feeling.

Our Constitution, with a Bill of Rights at its heart, protects us all. It is our collective response to the oppression of apartheid. It is founded on the best of what humanity has to offer: dignity, a love of freedom, a commitment to equality and the embrace of tolerance.

SoMlomo, angeke sitjho kakhulu sithi inkululeko ikhona uma:

* Iningi labantu libulawa yiindlala

* Iningi labantu linga bereki

* Inkohlakalo yenziwa abantu abaphezulu ezikhundleni ku rhulumende

* Ukukhwabanisa kusa dlangile

* Umphkathi usa tjhagalela insiza

* Abantu basa qatjhwa ngobulunga

(Honourable Speaker, we can’t be proud of our freedom when,

* The majority of people are still caught up in poverty,

* The majority are unemployed,

* When corruption and fraud still exist on senior government level,

* When violent service delivery protests are common,

* When people are still employed according to political affiliation)

Our struggle must therefore be to offer people pathways out of poverty, and the passport to that is a decent job. Our economy is capable of providing our people with work and the opportunities that flow from it. And so our task is to create the conditions for growth and jobs and give every South African a stake in the future.

We must also ensure that we provide a safety net for those who do not have an income and access to life’s necessities on their own. We must care as government by delivering for all, by treating every person with the respect they deserve.

Our purpose in politics is to overcome the legacy of apartheid and usher in a new kind of society, in which every person has the right and the means to live a life they value.

Our purpose in politics is to eradicate poverty in our country, so that every person can taste the fruits of freedom.

Our purpose in politics is to reconcile South Africans to each other.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *