Bua Briefs 121

18 April 2008

Freedom Day

The celebration of Freedom Day on 27 April 2008 commemorates the start of the journey taken by South Africans 14 years ago towards a democratic, non-racist, non-sexist society. The event again affords government the opportunity to reaffirm these principles and, in the spirit of Business Unusual, to mobilise all South Africans to build on the progress already made and to work together towards the common goal of a better life for all.

As we celebrate Freedom Day, let us unite to build a national partnership to speed up change in the spirit of Business Unusual

As we celebrate freedom and democracy, we call upon all sectors of society to work together in the spirit of Business Unusual as we address the current challenges so that we “keep alive the dream that sustained us along the uncharted road towards the creation of South Africa visualised in our Constitution.” (President Mbeki, 2008).

The creation of a new society has begun, but we still have much to do to achieve our shared goal of a prosperous, just and united South Africa.
Let us speed up the process to build a South Africa that is free from discrimination and racial prejudice.

As we celebrate our freedom, we recall the heroism, the sacrifices and the solidarity that ensured that South Africans should have the possibility to build a just, united and prosperous country

When millions of South Africans in our country’s first democratic election ushered in the dawn of freedom on 27 April 1994, they were exercising a right which had been won through heroism and sacrifice over years of struggle and with the solidarity of freedom-loving people across the globe.

That milestone in our history opened the way for the creation of a democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa based on equality, dignity and respect for human rights.

Our Constitution and policies are all based on the quest for a non-racial and non-sexist society in which individuals and communities are free to practise their beliefs, traditions and cultures without fear.

Our celebration of the 14th anniversary of Freedom Day highlights the strides we have made towards accelerating a better life for all since attaining our democracy

South Africa is still transforming from a divided and bitter past. Millions of lives have been transformed since 1994, but much more needs to be done to eradicate apartheid’s legacy of poverty, inequality and racism that still affects millions.

The progress of transformation can be measured in dignity restored; in the broadening access to basic services previously denied to most; in the opening doors to education; the economic opportunities that have been created; and in the gathering pace of our country’s economic growth that creates the resources for further advances in improving the lives of communities.

Recent racial incidents in the country show that as a nation, we still have much to do in confronting racialism and discrimination

The recent racial incidents in some parts of South Africa have also cast a shadow over nation-building and social cohesion.

However, the solidarity displayed by South Africans in condemning the incidents proved that most citizens resent racism and believe in building a united nation.
The fact that the incidents were rejected by South Africans of all backgrounds should serve as indicators that we should never be tempted to cluster people and label them as racists.

Acts of racism are committed by very small groups and individuals and do not reflect the general attitude of our people. We need to build on this foundation and collectively continue to reject racism in all its forms .


Food price inflation

The rising food and fuel prices and the global economic situation will have a negative impact on developing economies. The global rise in food prices is largely due to the combined impact of production shortfalls in major supply regions, rising consumption in developing economies and some diversion of feedstock to biofuel producers. South Africa has also been affected by the rising prices, and although our food prices have not increased at the same pace as in many countries across the globe, they impact more on the poor.

Our budget contributes to supporting the income of poor households through the social grant system and the school-feeding scheme. Food security also depends on expansion and development of the rural economy, investment in agricultural capacity and technology and broader participation of emerging farmers in commercial agriculture.

The New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme will also contribute towards achieving greater food security on the continent.

Collusive behaviour in some sectors of the economy, particularly in the food industry, is a matter of concern to many South Africans. Government is confident that the competition authorities will continue to be vigilant and to take strong action to curb these negative practices that have also contributed to higher food prices.

Economic highlights

Call-centre markets lure foreign investors: In order to accelerate economic growth and reduce unemployment by 2010, the Business Trust, in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry, will focus on growing the call-centre markets by setting aside R135 million, which will in turn translate into a R2-billion investment and creating more than 100 000 jobs.

Avitourism “takes off” in South Africa: Avitourism (birding ecotourism) is proving to be one of Birdlife South Africa’s most powerful conservation tools. Tourism has performed well in birdlife South Africa with two popular “birding routes” generating an estimated US$6,4 million annually for local people.