Political parties reflect on what Freedom Day means, 25 years into South Africa's democracy

2019-04-27 14:55


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Twenty-five years into South Africa's democracy, the governing party the ANC, and their political rivals the DA and EFF reflect on what Freedom Day means for them.

African National Congress (ANC):

For the governing party, Freedom Day demands that South Africans reflect on the strides made as a nation since the new dispensation and the challenges that still lie ahead.   

"We have come a long way as a nation. After defeating apartheid, many of us thought that ending injustice and inequality would be easy to achieve.

"We achieved much but the struggle against poverty and hunger will not end until we radically interrupt the structure of our economy. The struggle for a better life for all must continue," acting national spokesperson Dakota Legoete said in a statement on Saturday.

In addition to this, Freedom Day remains a stark reminder that the freedom citizens enjoy today "did not come cheap" and as a result the ANC called on the nation to not forget where they come from, he said.

"We must use this day to remember and pay tribute to many of our people who perished in the course of the struggle for freedom.

"While many strides have been made by the ANC government to improve the lives of South Africans, the ANC believes that more still needs to be done to expand access to a better life for all," Legoete further explained.

With just under two weeks left until South Africans cast their vote, the ANC called on all South Africans to join hands in what it called its "collective quest to grow South Africa together".

Democratic Alliance (DA):

In a historic moment, 25 years ago all South Africans irrespective of their race, colour or creed were afforded their constitutional right to vote in the first-ever democratic elections. 

DA leader, Mmusi Maimane is of the view that on May 8, citizens have the chance to exercise this fundamental right once more.

"And in preparation of this, it is important that we look back at the past 25 years and see what lessons there are to learn," he told voters at the party's Freedom Day celebration in Johannesburg on Saturday.

The lesson being that South Africa needs to reform its politics, institutions, state, society and its economy.

"That, fellow South Africans, is how we start to reform our country.

"That is how we begin to undo 25 years of ANC government and rebuild South Africa into the modern, prosperous and inclusive nation we all want it to be," he explained.

This process of reform however can only be implemented with the help of citizens heading to the polls on the 8th of May as they will be playing a critical role in deciding who will be the administrators of this reform South Africa needs, according to the DA.

"This is where you come in. On 8 May, you have one important job to do: Go out and vote for a government that you know will make a difference. Not one that tries to divide us into separate corners. Not one that steals from poor South Africans. Not one that only has plans and policies from a bygone era.

"Vote for a government of honest, capable and caring men and women. A government that has already shown it has what it takes to build one South Africa for all," Maimane concluded.

Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF):

The EFF recognizes Freedom Day as a symbol of overcoming political white minority rule but believes it is disingenuous to celebrate freedom without land.

"The struggle for freedom in South Africa originated in the wars of colonial dispossession where our people lost their land and the right to call this place their home. 

"Therefore, without the land, it is disingenuous to celebrate freedom, because the struggle for freedom centered and originated on the land question," the party's national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement.

To add to this struggle, the past 25 years of democracy had been characterised by economic marginalisation which has resulted in South Africans currently being landless and jobless with no plan from government, the party says.

"As things stand, there is no plan from the government of the day to change this situation of landlesness and joblessness. The reality is that over 25 years white people have gotten richer, widening the gap in inequality on racial lines as was the case under apartheid," Ndlozi explained.

If South Africans wish to change this status-quo, they should vote the ANC out of power, Ndlozi added.

"Only the EFF is willing and capable to deliver this objective of the return of the land, for restoration of our pride, dignity and economic development. 

"Therefore, no one must stay at home on the 8th of May and say voting does not make a difference when they have only ever voted for one option, i.e. ANC. If people want change, they must change their vote on 8 May," Ndlozi concluded.

Read more on:    south africa  |  eff  |  da  |  anc  |  freedom day

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