SA progressing, but challenges remain – Zwelinzima Vavi

2013-11-13 10:50

South Africa avoided civil war and has made progress in achieving peace since the demise of apartheid, says suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

“We have made many strides that are worth celebrating since 1994. The biggest of them all is that South Africa avoided a civil war, and has made tremendous progress in achieving peace and friendship with our neighbours and the world.”

Vavi was speaking in his personal capacity to members of the Rand Club in Johannesburg yesterday.

He said the political violence that ravaged and displaced hundreds of thousands of people was no longer a feature of society.

“I do acknowledge that there has been lingering political violence, with a number of persons killed in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, North West, Eastern Cape and at least one in the Free State, but the scale is nothing compared with the thousands murdered in the internecine violence of the 1980s and 1990s.”

Vavi said South Africa’s democracy was stable and election results enjoyed legitimacy.

“At the socioeconomic level, the country has massively improved access to electricity, sanitation services, housing and other social needs. Despite problems with the quality of services, we have to acknowledge that the scale of access to education is a far cry from pre-1994 levels.”

He said the state was directly responsible for ensuring, through the social-grants system, that over 15 million people were not living in abject poverty.

“In all of these areas, progress has been achieved. Today we can say without any fear of contradiction that the South Africa of today is not comparable to our ugly past and is a better place to live in, notwithstanding its remaining challenges.”

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