Cape Town - EFF leader Julius Malema said while there was no contestation that Thursday was Freedom Day, many South Africans had aspirations, asking to what extent they should celebrate the day, without having achieved economic freedom in their lifetime.
“1994, on April 27, ushered political freedom. We still need economic freedom for total emancipation of our people,” Malema said when addressing the funeral of EFF member Koketso Mojatau.
In a statement, the red berets said the declaration of Freedom Day was premature because the core objectives of the Struggle against colonial dispossession and apartheid had not yet been achieved.
“Instead of the democratisation of wealth, the provision of free quality healthcare, education, housing and a corruption-free society, which were the core objectives of the revolution,
South Africa is characterised by a false unity based on reconciliation that is devoid of justice.”
In its Freedom Day message, the IFP said South Africans should not take freedoms for granted.
“The right to vote is one of many rights that are enshrined in our Constitution.
“As the IFP, we also recognise that today, almost 30 years since the dawn of democracy, millions of South Africans have not experienced a change in their daily lived reality,” the IFP said.
Action SA leader Herman Mashaba encouraged people to vote next year.
“Let us use this opportunity to elect a value-based government that is committed to ensuring that every South African has the opportunity to choose their lives the way they want to live and empower them to pursue their choice,” Mashaba said at the party’s commemoration of the Freedom Day in Shoshanguve, Tshwane.
Delivering his keynote address at the national Freedom Day celebrations in Klerksdorp on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa said South Africans should rededicate themselves to “working with greater purpose and unity to give full effect and meaning to freedom in the country”.
“We recall the great progress that has been made in nearly three decades of democracy, but we also acknowledge that so much of the promise of 1994 still needs to be realised,” he said.
Ramaphosa said poverty, unemployment and inequality still defined the lives of millions of the people.
“We are also now counting the cost of years of under-investment in our electricity, water, rail and port infrastructure.
“We are feeling the damaging effects of state capture and corruption and concerted efforts to weaken our public institutions,” he said.