Our transition to democracy has been successful - Zuma

2015-04-27 12:12
President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma. (GCIS) (GCIS)

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Pretoria - South Africa’s transition into democracy has been a successful one, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

Speaking at a Freedom Day event at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, the president said on this day, the country reflected on the progress made in extending basic services to South Africa's people.

"Millions of people now have access to education, healthcare and water which they did not have in 1994. We continue to explore ways to improve quality education. We continue to implement programs which will lead to economic freedom."

He told the assembled crowd, which had cheered him earlier upon his arrival on stage, that there were programs in place to empower black people, women and the disabled, while the rest of the continent had a vital role to play in South Africa's economic development.

"Africa is crucial to our economic growth and development," Zuma said, telling the crowd that trade with other nations assisted South Africa in cushioning it during the 2008 recession.

‘End frustration’

Zuma said the National Development Plan was put in place to address several problems, including poor infrastructure and better education.

"We want to end the feeling of hopelessness and frustration in our country especially the youth. We can't talk about it and do nothing about it," he said.

Earlier, Gauteng premier David Makhura took to the stage and wished the assembled crowd and South Africa a happy 21st birthday.

He highlighted that on this day, 21 years ago, thousands stood in queues casting their very first votes for a democratic South Africa.

The premier then touched on the xenophobic violence that has plagued certain parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal over recent weeks, stating that it would not be tolerated.

"We can say that, as we gather here today, the attacks on our fellow brothers have stopped," he said to loud cheers.

Makhura said South Africa's democracy had become "noisy and rowdy judging from what has been happening in our Parliament", and told the crowd Zuma needed to understand that every country had its own challenges.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  pretoria

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