Great strides made since 1994 – Zuma

2013-04-27 13:50

Significant economic improvements have been made since the attainment of democracy, President Jacob Zuma has said.

“While income inequality remains high, the expansion of our social grant system from 7 million in 1994 to 16 million currently has contributed to a significant reduction in the proportion of households living in poverty,” he told a large crowd at a Freedom Day event in Pretoria today.

“There are many achievements on the economic front as well. The South African economy has expanded by 83% over the past 19 years.”

Zuma said that, despite numerous “trying” moments encountered in the young democracy, like the Marikana tragedy, South Africans stood together in unity.

On August 16 last year, 34 striking miners were shot dead by police at the Lonmin mine in Marikana, in North West. An inquiry into the incident has yet to be wrapped up.

“Many thought the Marikana tragedy marked the end of the road for a peaceful and democratic South Africa, but, working together, we rose above the tragedy and put our country first.”

“We await the conclusion of the Farlam commission of inquiry into this painful matter.”

Zuma thanked South Africans for supporting the families of 13 soldiers, who were killed in Bangui in the Central African Republic last month, by rebels.

Thousands of people braved the scorching heat in the lawn area at the Union Buildings for the annual Freedom Day commemoration.

The 2013 celebration is being held under the theme “Mobilising society towards consolidating our democracy and freedom”.

Zuma’s speech was preceded by addresses to the crowd by representatives of political parties, including the Inkatha Freedom Party, United Democratic Movement and the Democratic Alliance.

Later on, Zuma is due to hand over national orders to numerous “outstanding South African citizens and foreign nationals” at an event to be held at the nearby Sefako M Makgatho presidential guest house.

Olympic swimming champion Chad le Clos, football legend Kaizer Motaung and Lead SA activist Yusuf Abramjee are on the long list of recipients.

United States civil rights activist Jesse Jackson is also on the list, along with politicians, musicians, and scientists.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


How to open a beer bottle without an opener

Do the right thing and never be thirsty again…


You won't want to miss...

WATCH: Man films himself going down water slide upside down as things go very wrong…
WATCH: Conor McGregor: Notorious the trailer
Best date night restaurants in South Africa
WATCH: Ryan Reynolds offers fans a free tattoo in new Deadpool 2 teaser
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.