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Johannesburg - The best way to honour former president Nelson Mandela is to root out poverty and oppression, Justice Minister Jeff Radebe said in New York on Wednesday.
“As we celebrate Mandela's 94th birthday... it is important to remember the plight of millions of people, women and children who are subjected to brutality, oppression, violence and gross violations of human rights across the globe,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the United Nations general assembly.
He thanked the UN for deciding to declare Mandela's birthday International Mandela Day three years ago in an “historic and unprecedented” gesture.
“President Mandela, addressing our people in 1994 after the first ever democratic elections in South Africa, declared that our freedom would not be complete when others elsewhere were still not free.
“Today, the best gift we can give to former president Mandela for his birthday is to renew our commitment and resolve to the eradication of poverty and underdevelopment; to end violence against women and children... and to comprehensively address conflicts and wars.”
South Africa was indebted to the UN and the international community for its help in overcoming the apartheid regime, Radebe said.
“The decision of the UN to declare apartheid a crime against humanity was in no small measure a significant boost to our cause,” he said. - Sapa