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The occasion of the 59th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter

25 June 2014

26 June 2014 marks the 59th Anniversary of the adoption of the Freedom Charter at the historic Congress of the People in 1955. The African National Congress celebrates Freedom Charter Day proud of the achievements made by South Africa led by the ANC government to realise its ideals and demands. The African National Congress has never wavered in its commitment to the Freedom Charter as our prime political mandate inspiring the transformation agenda that drives our political programme of action.

In the 20 years since the dawn of democracy, the ANC led government has been at the forefront of crafting a new social order, working together with our people, based on the letter and spirit of the Freedom Charter. Our constitutional and legislative framework supported by strong institutions established to uphold, protect and advance our democracy, such as the South African Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Public Protector amongst others, give practical expression to the freedoms envisaged by the Freedom Charter where all people who live in South Africa, black and white, regardless of gender or belief, "live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities".

We have a government based on the will of the people, elected at regular intervals, through transparent, free, fair and credible elections; a necessary precondition for our democracy to thrive and a fundamental demand made by the Freedom Charter. In the cacophony of democracy, it is to be expected and even intended that there shall be contesting voices, from the ultra left to the far right, seeking to fill the political spectrum by claiming ownership of the basic policy document of the people; the Freedom Charter. The African National Congress remains a disciplined force of the left, its programme anchored firmly in its historical mission to create a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

The authority enjoyed by the ANC government to fearlessly and decisively drive radical socio-economic transformation in this the second phase of our transition is drawn from the overwhelming mandate the ANC continues to receive from our people to spare "neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes set out in the Freedom Charter have been won".

It is this instructive injunction of the Freedom Charter to secure to all their birthright that drives the African National Congress`s agenda to deracialise and industrialise the South African economy as the cornerstone of the work of the fifth administration. The commitments we have made in our manifesto to prioritise the creation of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods, retaining education as an apex priority, focusing on building an accessible and quality healthcare system, development rural areas, ensuring land and agrarian reform as well as fighting crime and corruption are direct, unambiguous responses to the demands of the Freedom Charter.

To ensure that the people share in the country`s wealth, the ANC has identified four catalyst sectors - energy infrastructure, transport infrastructure, ICT and water and sanitation - to form the bedrock of our industrialization, economic growth and employment creation interventions.

The mineral wealth of South Africa has been transferred to the ownership of the people under the custodianship of the State. The ANC Government has further called for the implementation of the landmark Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry and the acceleration of the attainment of the targets contained in the Mining Charter. The amendments to the Minerals and Petroleum Development act contain amongst them the declaration of certain minerals as strategic; ensuring greater control of this national wealth by government in the interest of the wellbeing of the people and our country at large. Our commitment of procuring 75% of government goods and services from South African producers speaks directly of creating a conducive environment for all South Africans to manufacture and to enter all trades, crafts and professions.

Our determination to redouble our efforts to strengthen local government is a deliberate intervention aimed at ensuring that this sphere of government has the necessary capacity to decently house our people, whilst providing the necessary transport, roads, lighting, playing fields, creches and social centres called for by the Freedom Charter. The ANC manifesto committed us to investigating the implementation and modalities of the national minimum wage as mandated by the Freedom Charter. The implementation of the National Health Insurance is a drive to implement a preventative health run by the state. Two new universities are being built and Grade R is being made compulsory to ensure that the doors of learning and culture are opened.

The foundation has been laid and we are on track on delivering on the aspirations of the Freedom Charter. While much still remains to be done, a lot more has been achieved to move us closer to the type of society envisioned at the Congress of the People, in Kliptown in 1955. As we advance towards the 60th Anniversary of the Freedom Charter in 2015, the African National Congress is confident that this radical phase of the transition is a furtherance of the objectives that so many of our people sacrificed so much for in order to reclaim their birthright "to land, liberty and peace" by a form of government founded on justice and equality.

Issued by
Zizi Kodwa
National Spokesperson
African National Congress

Keith Khoza 082 823 9672
Khusela Sangoni 072 854 5707