What is our Heritage?

Jane Sithole MPL

DA Chief Whip

Note: The following speech was delivered in the Legislature by Jane Sithole MPL, DA Chief Whip on Friday 19 Sep 2014 during Heritage day debate.

Hon. Speaker

When we talk of our heritage, what do we mean? The heritage that we are talking about here today lies within ourselves and the moments we create. That is our heritage.

I’m reminded of heroes like Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Helen Suzman, who in their different ways chose peace above revenge and personal interest. They have left us with a heritage to be proud of and a sense of duty and pride. The legacy of those who came before us becomes our heritage. This heritage needs to be preserved for future generations.

Hon. Speaker why is it that our Heritage sites in Mpumalanga are in such an embarrassing and shameful state that they are.  If we care about our Heritage why is Botshabelo in utter neglect right now? Why is Pilgrims rest in such a devastating state at present?  Why is it that our heritage and tourist attraction towns such as Graskop and Sabie are in such disarray? What are we talking about when we talk about our heritage?

Hon. Speaker, go a nyamisha go bona ka tsela ye di heritage site tsa rena mo Mpumalanga di leng ka gona. Ebile di kwesha bohloko.  If we want to live a legacy for generations to come, we need to protect our heritage. Preservation of the legacy given to us by those before us is essential.

Let me remind this house Hon. Speaker that the struggle against Apartheid was not just a struggle, but it was a struggle for political choice. It was not just a struggle to vote, but a struggle to vote for a political party of your choice.  Something the ruling party obviously doesn’t understand.

Hon. Speaker, heritage is not only about celebrating ANC struggle heroes, it’s about a government that entrench the conditions in which every citizen is allowed to be who they want to be, make their own choices and realise their full potential.

Hon. Speaker, as a nation, as individuals, whatever we leave behind, through our actions, will ultimately be a heritage for generations to come.  Let it be a heritage which those who will come after us can be proud of. Only then can we say, without brainwashing people, that this generation has a good story to tell.

The Democratic Alliance is not only my political home, it is not only my choice, it is my future and it is the HERITAGE that I’m going to leave for my children and grandchildren.

“When you stress materialism, like this government does; personal enrichment, like this government does; and racial hatred, like this government does, that is the heritage that you’re going to leave for future generations to come, and that is not a good story to tell’.

If we focus on building a united South Africa – free from poverty, racial hatred, discrimination and corruption, a nation committed to building a successful and prosperous future, a nation where opportunities exist for each individual to realise their potential and where our education system produces world class learners equipped to take their rightful place in our economy.

That Hon Speaker is why I and the DA are committed to bringing South Africans together, to bring change to our nation and build a heritage where every citizen can be proud of who they are, where they come from and most importantly, what we leave behind for generations to come.

I thank you