SA can learn a lot from the US – Mzwandile Masina

2014-07-03 17:59

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Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Mzwandile Masina has praised the US for its democratic practices at an event commemorating the country’s 238th year of independence.

“America is a country that was able to uphold democratic ideals and many countries cherish your democracy in practice,” he said in Pretoria today.

Masina was a keynote speaker at an early celebration of the US’s Independence Day celebration.

July 4 is one of the US’s biggest holidays.

Masina joined more than 200 guests to celebrate the landmark American holiday at a party hosted by the US embassy. “There is a lot that we can learn from America since it earned its independence,” he said.

The air was filled with the sultry sounds of a live jazz band, which played music in accordance with the party theme - New Orleans.

On arrival, guests were given colourful beads, glittered top hats and masks to get into the swing of things.

US ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard’s home, where the event was hosted, was transformed into the New Orleans French Quarter and guests were served hamburgers and jambalaya.

Masina praised the US’s involvement in the anti-apartheid movement and said he hoped to continue bilateral relations. “When we look at the many achievements in this country since the advance of democracy, we can remember with deep gratitude the invaluable contribution that the people of America have made to ensure our own freedom here in South Africa.”

Gaspard said US independence should be of interest to South Africans because “the example of our democracy is one that still has a contribution to make here in South Africa”.

He said although the US and South Africa had some differences of opinion, the two countries also shared goals and values. “There are so many similarities or tracts among the kind of struggles that we have had.”

Gaspard did caution that although South Africa had made great strides in the past 20 years, there was still room for growth.

“I think 20 years in, South Africans are still developing that sense of national identity and its one of the great achievements of America. We don’t say the United States are. We say the United States is,” he said.

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