14 years of freedom

2010-04-24 11:21

ON Tuesday South Africa marks Freedom

Day. As a ­nation we have so much to be thankful for.

But while we celebrate our hard-won freedom and ­remember those who perished in pursuit of

our happiness, we must not turn a blind eye to the challenges that still face

our country in the new era of President Jacob Zuma.

We must also hold to account those we have entrusted with the

responsibility to take the nation forward.

Violent crime, endemic fraud and corruption, HIV and Aids, soaring

unemployment and poverty levels remain ­unacceptably high.

Zuma owes it to this country to right the wrongs of the ANC in

­earnestly dealing with these challenges.

The first challenge for our government is job creation.

Beyond the excitement of hosting the first ever Fifa ­Soccer World

Cup on the ­African continent; which ­created jobs in the ­construction, roads

and ­tourism sectors; the economy must begin to absorb millions of ­jobless and

hopeless South ­Africans.

Creating these jobs will help significantly cut the poverty levels

and will, in the long-term, hopefully ease the health and crime crises.

We are confident that the ­Zuma administration’s ­renewed vigour

and energy to tackle the health crisis will bear fruit sooner rather than later.

Violent crime is a sore point for us all and if police boss Bheki

Cele means what he says when he talks tough, we hope for a police force that

will crush the scourge and make South ­Africa a safe place.

Fraud and corruption, ­especially in state tendering processes, and

organised crime syndicates must feel the heat under Cele’s size 12 boots.

But for this to happen, Zuma and his team must adopt and maintain a

tough, transparent stance to regain the confidence of the people.

Our judiciary must be ­allowed to deliver without any political

interference.

Race relations is also an area we need to look at and not run away

from.

Recent tensions opened old wounds that had been ­neglected since

Madiba walked into the sunset of his political career as our first

­democratically elected ­president.

We need dialogue – and not Julius Malema’s ­confron­tational

approach – to hear and understand each ­other and co-exist, nurture our

democracy and jealously guard our freedom. And

while we celebrate this freedom, we also renew our

­energies as a country to help our African brothers and ­sisters to also achieve

peace and prosperity.


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