Leading the national Heritage Day celebrations on Sunday, President Jacob Zuma said the Constitution is a powerful symbol of South Africa’s political and liberation heritage.
Speaking at a heritage day celebration event in Siyabuswa, Mpumalanga, Zuma told the crowd that the Constitution’s baseline took its roots from key ANC human rights documents.
“In promoting our culture and heritage we should always be informed by the Constitution and the values it espouses,” said Zuma. “Our constitution and our culture actually promotes safety and security of all.”
Zuma added that apartheid was a corrupt and violent system of governance which kept people in subjugation. “Let us unite against corruption and crime in our communities and in our country. These scourges should not divide us at all.”
Speaking on economic transformation and the evolution of democratic society from apartheid law, Zuma said there has been visible improvement of the socio-economic conditions of millions of people. “Every day work is done to ensure that more people get access to water, electricity, housing, education, health and other basic services,” he said.
“We have indicated that we will build a better South Africa for all, through radical socio-economic transformation, ensuring that the ownership, control and management of the economy is de-racialised and is not in the hands of white compatriots only.”
Zuma also said the ANC featured prominently throughout Africa as the oldest liberation movement.
The president paid homage to women, students, the working class, the South African Communist Party and black consciousness leader Steve Biko for their role in the liberation, which he said is central to the theme of non-racialism. “Throughout the twentieth century the ANC consciously fostered the unity of the broadest range of forces opposed to the racist state,” he said.
“Non-racial unity decisively emerged during the mass campaigns of the 1940’s and 1950’s against apartheid repression. Indeed we have a rich liberation heritage which should inform how we take South Africa forward in unity,” Zuma said.
He said government has introduced the Liberation Heritage Route National Project, which has restored and declared as national heritage sites the burial sites/graves of stalwarts and the founders of liberation and democracy.
Graves so declared include those of John Dube, Oliver and Adelaide Tambo, Charlotte Maxeke, Helen Joseph, Lilian Ngoyi, Rahima Moosa, PAC leader Robert Sobukwe, Steve Biko,Chris Hani, JB Marks and Moses Kotane.
“We urge you to visit these sites around the country, and understand the liberation heritage history of our country better.” – News24