SA heroes honoured with national orders

South Africa has made great strides in creating a democratic country, former politician and transition negotiator Roelf Meyer said on Friday.

“I think one can expect that it would take us sometime to complete the transformation of South Africa. In the 15 years we’ve made huge progress and personally I’m looking forward to the next phase,” Meyer said after he was awarded a silver Order of the Baobab at the Union Buildings.

He was one of 28 honoured guests who received a national award from President Kgalema Motlanthe for their struggle to create a democratic nation.

Meyer’s order was granted for his contribution in providing support for the negotiations that led to a democratic government and ensuring that South Africa had a Constitution that protects all its citizens.

His compatriot, businessman Cyril Ramaphosa said he was humbled to also receive the same order.

“Well I’m very pleased but also very humbled that you’re honoured by your country and the president of the country.

“I’m particularly also pleased that this award was given jointly with Roelf Meyer, a person that I worked with. It’s a joyous day today,” he said.

Ramaphosa said the country had made tremendous progress over the past 15 years.

“What we have achieved could never have been dreamt of in terms of its depth, its breadth and its impact.”

“Our people are better off [now] from the nightmare of apartheid that they lived under,” he said.

Former Cuban President Fidel Castro was also honoured with the gold Order of OR Tambo.

Despite speculation that Castro might make an appearance, his order was received by Cuban ambassador Angel Fernandez.

He was honoured for his contribution to the eradication of racism, colonialism, apartheid and inequality in human society.—Sapa

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