Reflect on Freedom Day: Cosatu, ANC

By Drum Digital
26 April 2013

In celebrating Freedom Day this weekend, South Africans should reflect on the sacrifices made by those who fought for democracy, the ANC and its alliance partner Cosatu said on Friday.

"It is our shared responsibility to continue building a strong and prosperous nation," African National Congress spokesman Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

On the 19th anniversary of South Africa's first democratic election, citizens should celebrate the legacy of the men and women who fought for the right to vote.

"This year... we pay tribute to the many South Africans who have committed themselves to working with the government to be their own liberators," he said.

Congress of SA Trade Union (Cosatu) spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement South Africans should use Freedom Day on Saturday to fight for a second phase of a radical economic transformation.

South Africans should always remember those who were arrested, jailed, tortured, exiled or killed to free the country from apartheid.

"In particular, we dip our flags in honour of two of our greatest leaders, Oliver Tambo and Chris Hani, who both passed away in April 1993 and as a result narrowly missed the chance to witness the democratic breakthrough that they did more than most to bring about."

These sacrifices resulted in workers being granted rights, including the freedom to organise themselves in unions and minimum employment standards.

Progress in living conditions and access to basic services had greatly improved since 1994, but this had largely been "undermined by the rising cost of living, the rising unemployment rate, and the widening wage gap".

"Despite the great wealth underneath the soil of South Africa, the country is placed in the top 10 of the most unequal societies in the world," Craven said.

-by Sapa

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