Media release

2017 Freedom Day celebrations: 27 Apr

22 April 2017

 22 April 2017

South Africa celebrates Freedom Day annually on the 27 April and the theme for this year is “The year of OR Tambo: Together deepening democracy and building safer and crime-free communities”.  The celebrations coincide with the centenary of the late President and national Chairperson of the ANC, Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo, an international icon and hero of the South African liberation struggle.

Freedom Day recognises and celebrates the strides that have been made since 1994, and acknowledges that South Africa is a far better society than it was under apartheid.  It is also a period of reflection on what else needs to be done collectively towards the goal of building a prosperous society and improving the quality of life for all.

“This is a time to celebrate what we have achieved together in a democratic South Africa and recommit ourselves to make our country a better place to live in. The struggle for freedom didn’t end in 1994, and our challenges should not overshadow the significant progress made over the last two decades.  Let us use this celebration to foster a common agenda of building a united and prosperous South Africa”, said Minister of Communications, Ayanda Dlodlo. We also mark the 58th anniversary of the Pan Africanist Congress and its contribution to the South African political landscape.

The National Freedom Day event will be held on Thursday, 27 April 2017 at Manguzi, the Thengani A Grounds, uMhlabuyalingana Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal. President Jacob Zuma will deliver the keynote address.

“This year the celebrations are noteworthy as they are taking place in one of the remotest corners of our country in a rural area where, despite challenges, there is a tangible sense of the opportunities our democratic government has brought”, Minister Dlodlo emphasised. 

All South Africans are urged to join the celebrations either at uMhlabuyalingana or in their communities, as we remember that our freedom was not free, it was hard earned.  There was struggle and bloodshed, and for this reason our freedom needs to be cherished and protected. In remembering the life of Chris Hani, we should recall that his assassination triggered the Multi-Party Negotiating Forum to finally set a date for South Africa's first democratic election on the 27th April 1994.

In March 2017 His Excellency the President visited the uMhlabuyalingana Municipality, having been alerted by residents and community leaders in the area of high levels of cross-border crime which have been impacting overall development in the area.  Through the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme, President Zuma put government to work to identify a range of areas which needed the attention of the public service, working with communities. 

The National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030, highlights safety and security as amongst the core elements of a well-functioning society and as a contributing factor to a decent standard of living.  When communities do not feel safe and live in fear, the country’s economic development and the people’s wellbeing is affected, hindering their ability to achieve their potential.

“Government, through the Interministerial Committee on Cross-border Crime – kwa-Umhlabuyalingana” has since the President’s visit been hard at work in addressing some of the concerns citizens have raised.  As part of the Freedom Day celebrations in this area, His Excellency, the President will be reporting to the community and the nation at large some of the interventions so far”, Minister Dlodlo stated.

Additionally, in responding to safety issues, the Department of Arts and Culture will on 26 April 2017 host a social dialogue to tackle the underlying root causes of crime and violence in this community. The dialogue will take place at the Tribal Court, uMhlabuyalingana Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal from 18h00.

“Our democracy has restored the dignity of millions of South Africans and changed our lives for the better.  We cannot allow crime and criminal activities to derail us.  Let us join hands to preserve our freedom and SAY NO to racism, crime and corruption and substance abuse”, concluded Minister Dlodlo”. As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the brutal killing of Steve Biko, we continue our commitment to restore a human face to all communities in South Africa.

Government calls on all citizens to join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #FreedomDay and share their ideas of the South Africa they envisage to live in and show how they are willing to contribute to make it a better country for all its citizens. Follow @GovernmentZA @GCISMedia and @SAGovNews for updates on the proceedings on Freedom Day.

Donald Liphoko
Cell: 082 901 0766

Issued by Government Communication and Information System

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