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58th Anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter

26 June 2013

The African National Congress calls upon all South Africans to join together in commemorating the adoption of the Freedom Charter in Kliptown on this day 58 years ago. Since the advent of democracy, significant achievements have been recorded in pursuit of the ideals of the Freedom Charter, giving concrete expression to the implementation of the demands of the Congress of the People in 1955. South Africa is a better place today than it was in 1994. We are on course, building the society envisaged by the representatives of the people of South Africa 58 years ago.

This 58th anniversary of the Freedom Charter provides an opportunity for all South Africans to celebrate and take pride in these achievements as we continue our journey to build a united, non-racial, non-sexist, prosperous and democratic society; a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, black and white, united in diversity.

The People Shall Govern

Since 1994, the African National Congress has spearheaded a radical overhaul of legislation abolishing all racially based laws. The ANC government has successfully presided over the most comprehensive legislative review in recent times, ushering in laws based on our world-acclaimed Constitution that guarantees and protects fundamental Human Rights for all people in South Africa. Our people take part in governance through Organs of People`s Power and our country holds regular, free and fair elections where any one is free to start or vote for a party of their choice. These freedoms were not free; South Africans must embrace, jealously guard and utilize their right to vote for a government based on the will of the people. More still needs to be done to ensure that women and children are protected from the scourge of violence.

All National Groups Shall have Equal Rights

All national groups in South Africa have their religious, cultural, linguistic, political and economic freedoms enshrined in the Constitution of the land. We have 11 Official Languages that enjoy equal status in our country; we need to do more to ensure we entrench amongst our people respect for each other`s cultures and religions. We further need to do more to promote languages that were neglected by the colonial and apartheid regimes. The Human Rights Commission continues to do sterling work promoting respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

The people shall share in the country`s wealth

Progressive policies and legislation including the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act have been enacted to ensure that the mineral wealth beneath the soil is returned to the people under the custodianship of government. The ANC National Conference has resolved to identify strategic minerals that require special public policy interventions. The ANC government continues to act decisively against anti-competitive behavior and seeks to dismantle monopoly industries opposed to the inclusive growth of our economy. The commanding heights of our economy remain largely unchanged with the wealth of our country still concentrated in the hands of a few beneficiaries of apartheid and colonial rule. The ANC is conscious that our freedoms would remain meaningless without the fundamental transformation of the economy to serve the interest of the people. Thus, as we boldly declared in Mangaung, this the second phase of the transition from apartheid colonialism to a national democratic society, will be characterized by decisive action to effect economic transformation for socio-economic freedom and democratic consolidation, critical both to improve the quality of life of all South Africans and to promote nation-building and social cohesion.

The land shall be shared amongst those who work it

The question of land ownership in South Africa remains a prime agenda towards national transformation and nationhood. The willing buyer willing seller principle is being replaced with the just and equitable principle to ensure an accelerated pace of land redistribution and restitution. Since 1994, 4860 farms have been transferred to black people and communities and almost a quarter of a million people have benefitted through land reform. Government has spent in excess of R2.14 billion supporting emerging farmers with infrastructure, and strategic technical support. Farm workers continue to be subjected to abuse, especially in the Western Cape. In response the ANC government is establishing Land Rights Management Board with a decisive mandate to protect farm workers against amongst others unfair evictions. We still need to do more and move faster to ensure that the injustices of the past are redressed and land is returned to those from whom it was violently dispossessed.

All Shall be Equal Before the Law & All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights

All crimes except for white-collar crime have decreased in post-apartheid South Africa. All people enjoy equality before the law and our law enforcement agencies act without fear of favour. We continue with our programme of transforming the judiciary and extending access to justice for more of our people.

There Shall be Work and Security

South Africa today boasts a progressive labour relations regime that guarantees and protects the rights of all workers. Under the ANC government employment has increased by more than 3,5 million since 1994 and provided social grants to more than 15 million people without discrimination to alleviate poverty.

While we acknowledge there is still a lot we need to do to decrease the unemployment levels in South Africa, we are confident that the National Development Plan provides us with an opportunity to eliminate poverty, reduce inequality and most importantly create more jobs for our people.

The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall be Opened

The number of graduates in South Africa has more than doubled since 1995, increasing from 465 000 graduates in 1995 to 1.1 million graduates in 2011. Black graduates now account for half of the 1.1 million graduates of South Africa. Challenges still remain around education infrastructure and entrenching a culture of learning and teaching within our schools. Education is remains an apex priority for the ANC government and hence the current government has strengthened our education regime by separating the administration and political authorities of Basic and Higher Education so there is greater focus given to each area within the education system. Disparate education systems have been amalgamated into a single education system with no discrimination based on race. The 53rd National Conference of the ANC resolved that government must establish a Presidential Commission to review the remuneration and conditions of employment of education professionals.

There Shall be Houses, Security and Comfort

To date more than 3 million houses have been built for the poorest of the poor, providing shelter and dignity to more than 16 million people. The National Health Insurance Scheme is being piloted to ensure that all citizens of South Africa provided with essential healthcare, regardless of their employment status and circumstance. The interventions of the ANC government have ensured that we are winning the fight against HIV and AIDs in South Africa. Aids related deaths in South Africa have significantly dropped and HIV infection rate amongst children has plummeted thus saving over 300 000 babies from the pandemic. We have made antiretroviral (ARV) treatment available to more people and earlier and increased life expectancy from 50 to 60 in the last 3 years.

There Shall be Peace and Friendship

South Africa continues to play its role promoting a just and humane world order, taking its rightful place amongst the family of sovereign nations. The ANC government plays a cooperative role, working together with the regional and continental bodies, to promote peace and development in Africa.

As we celebrate 58 years of the Freedom Charter therefore, the African National Congress recommits itself to the attainment of the liberties envisaged by our people in Kliptown. We are proud of the achievements recorded thus far, knowing that working together, there is much more that can be achieved.

Issued by
Jackson Mthembu
National Spokesperson

Keith Khoza 0828239672
Khusela Sangoni-Khawe 0795105408