‘Achieving a lot, but traveling far from over,’ says Ramaphosa


With this year’s anniversary of 30 years of freedom in South Africa, there is much to celebrate, but the journey is far from over.

Pres. In his official Human Rights Day speech in Sharpeville on Thursday, Cyril Ramaphosa said that we are gathering here precisely to “trace our journey as a nation over the past 64 years, from a state of discrimination and oppression to a country of democracy and freedom”. .

The president believes there is much to celebrate. “Millions of South Africans have been lifted out of abject poverty. Eight out of every 10 households have proper housing. Nine out of every 10 homes have electricity and access to clean drinking water. South Africans live longer. Far fewer women die in childbirth and far fewer children die in infancy. More children from poor families complete school, pass matric and go on to study at universities and colleges.”

According to Ramaphosa, this was made possible by focusing on correcting the injustices of the past.

“While our journey over the 64 years since the Sharpeville massacre has been remarkable – and while we have seen great changes in the lives of South Africans in 30 years of democracy – our journey is far from over.”

As the next decade of freedom begins, efforts must be made, according to Ramaphosa, not only to protect the rights of everyone in the country, but to ensure that everyone can enjoy the equal protection and the equal benefit of these rights.

“We must continue our work to right the injustices of the past and recognize those who have been harmed by unfair discrimination. We must transform our economy so that all people can participate and so that everyone can benefit, so that everyone can share in the country’s wealth.”

According to Ramaphosa, this means that policies of black economic empowerment must continue to be implemented, to support small businesses and black industrialists, to promote employment equity, and to use public and private procurement to empower black and women-owned suppliers.

“This means that we must accelerate land reform and provide emerging farmers with the resources and support they need to be productive and sustainable.”

Ramaphosa said while looking back on 30 years of freedom and decades of struggle for basic human rights, “we must acknowledge the great progress we have made”.

“By working together, as a united nation, we have built a democracy that recognizes the equal worth of every person. We have built a society in which everyone has an equal expectation that their rights will be respected and respected. We have traveled this long journey together. But we still have a long way to go and much more to do before everyone can equally exercise the fundamental freedoms that are rightfully theirs. On this Human Rights Day, let us promise ourselves and each other that we will walk that path together.”