‘True freedom’ within reach

Henry

On the 30th anniversary of the first democratic election in 1994, various political parties pleaded with South Africans to once again draw their crosses this year behind a party that will truly offer freedom to South Africans.

Pres. In his speech at the Union Building on Saturday, Cyril Ramaphosa hammered home the injustices of apartheid and how the ANC – and more specifically Nelson Mandela – relentlessly fought for black people’s freedom. He also continued to build on the progress that the ANC has made in the past 30 years. Former Pres. Thabo Mbeki also attended the proceedings.

“The progress we have made in the last 30 years is truly something to be proud of. It is only those who willfully do not want to see, who close their eyes to progress, who deny that South Africa today is definitely a better place than 30 years ago,” said Ramaphosa.

He claims that the South African economy has “tripled in size in the last 30 years, despite challenges here on home soil and beyond the country’s borders”. He pointed out that the number of South Africans working has increased from eight million in 1994 to 16.7 million this year. However, he neglected to say that the population has increased by almost 17 million people, which means that a smaller percentage of the population now has a job than in 1994. Then only 20% of the population did not have a job, compared to more than 40 % of the population currently unemployed.

Ramaphosa went further to say that in 30 years the government has built new schools and established schools that do not charge school fees. Here too, Ramaphosa did not mention that, according to the latest research on global reading literacy (PIRLS 2021), South Africa is one of the worst readers in the world. Eight out of ten of these learners (81%) cannot read with understanding.

“We know that, despite our victories, South Africa is still a very unequal society. Our people must confront the apartheid legacy of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment every day,” continued Ramaphosa.

“Crime, and especially crime against women and children, is a plague in our communities and there is a great divide between rich and poor.”

Other political parties are less excited about the “progress” that the ANC has made since 1994.

“After three decades in which an incompetent government systematically dismantled South Africans’ rights and freedoms, true freedom is finally in sight with the election on 29 May,” says Dr. Pieter Groenewald, leader of the FF Plus.

“With the ANC’s support on the wane, it is more important than ever for every person entitled to vote to use their vote to save South Africa. Remainers must realize that it is precisely their silent voice that can keep the ANC in power for another term.

“It cannot be afforded. Another term under the ANC will destroy the country. Freedom is increasingly being eroded in every area and the economy is getting weaker every day.”

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde agrees. On Saturday, he said on behalf of the DA that South Africans are experiencing incredible challenges, with the unemployment rate being the highest ever, continuous power outages and increasing levels of violent crime.

“What good is it that South Africans are free when so many of them have no work or dignity?”

He also said that South Africans, who had so much hope in 1994, are disappointed and disillusioned.

Also Herman Mashaba, leader of Action SA, said that South Africans can only be truly free if the government creates jobs and puts an end to crime. “This can only happen if we lift the ruling party out of the cushions during the upcoming election.”