Celebrating 61 years of the Freedom Charter: Our vision has never wavered and the successes are plain for all to see
The 26th of June 2016 marks 61 years since the adoption of the Freedom Charter by the Congress of the People in Kliptown. Since its adoption the Freedom Charter has been and remains the prime political mandate of the ANC, with its universal aspirations for the “good life all South Africans seeks for themselves and their children” guiding the work of the democratic government.
61 years on, South Africa has much to celebrate. Ours is a democratic country with a progressive Constitution built on the demands of the Freedom Charter for an egalitarian society where every man and woman enjoy the same freedoms in a society underpinned by dignity for all. The value of all citizens is measured by their humanity, without regard to race, gender and social status.
The ANC government continues to take forward the vision of our founding fathers and mothers, confirmed by the people of South Africa, in the Freedom Charter – a set of principles for the foundation of a new South Africa. The ANC uses the opportunity of Freedom Charter Day today, to assess progress and report back to our people how far we have come to give effect to the ideals of the Freedom Charter.
The People Shall Govern
South Africa has achieved a government based on will of the people and all governments since 1994 can claim legitimate authority as the result of free and fair elections.The ANC has once again sought to ensure that in the upcoming local government elections, “all people take part in the administration of the country”. To this end, over 9300 candidates, drawn from an inclusive, democratic and participatory community process, have been submitted as ANC candidates to contest the election.
More than 50% of them are women, 20% youth and 2% are people with disabilities; ensuring that more South Africans are able to advance people`s power through democratic organs of self government. These freedoms were not free and the ANC calls upon all eligible voters to come out in their numbers to exercise their hard won right to vote on the 3rd August
All National Groups Shall have Equal Rights
The Freedom Charter articulates our common hopes, dreams and aspirations for a future South Africa. It is a future where :-
“All national groups shall be protected by law against insults to their race and national pride; The preaching and practice of national, race or colour discrimination and contempt shall be a punishable crime;”
Since 1994 there has been a comprehensive overhaul and abolishment of all racially based legislation. Institutions of state have been created to safeguard our democracy and similarly promote our unity in diversity including amongst them the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities amongst others
Much more still remains to be done to build a socially cohesive nation, this includes amongst others greater dialogue on access to justice and the use of language as a tool of exclusion in pursuit of the demand that “There shall be equal status in the bodies of state, in the courts and in the schools for all national groups and races;”
The People Shall Share in the Country`s Wealth
The ANC government remains committed to radical economic transformation and the restoration of the national wealth of our country to the people. Consequently, the mineral wealth beneath the soil has been returned to the people under the custodianship of the state, however inequality still persists and the redistribution of wealth and the growth of job creating industries have not met the people`s expectations
The transformation of the mining sector to widen the benefits of SA`s abundance of minerals, including the creation of safe and decent work on the mines as well as benefits for near-mine local communities, with particular focus on beneficiation, is essential and has to be expedited without delay.
Government has adopted bold plans to accelerate growth and intensify economic transformation with the following as their core tenets – industrialisation, broad- based black economic empowerment, addressing the basic needs of our people, including women and youth, strengthening and expanding the role of the state and the role of state owned enterprises
The Land Shall be Shared Amongst Those Who Work It
The African National Congress recognizes land as an integral part of economic transformation and it is for this reason that South Africans in their majority welcomed the passing of the Expropriation Bill by Parliament earlier this year.
Once enacted, the bill will go a long way in assisting the ANC government accelerate the redress and restitution of land forcibly removed from South Africans over centuries of dispossession
Agriculture and agro-processing have large employment creation potential and thus deliberate attention is being paid to increasing the employment impact of the sector by the development of agriculture incentive schemes that supports key inputs such as working capital, access to infrastructure, feeds and fertilizers, parent stock and research and development for the development of new cultivars and vaccines.
All Shall Be Equal Before The Law
All people in South Africa enjoy equality before the law. We continue with our programme of transforming the judiciary and extending access to justice for more of our people. More needs to be done to arrest the scourge of violence directed at law enforcement officials
All Shall Enjoy Equal Human Rights
South Africa boasts a young, vibrant and robust democracy where all her people are guarantee their right to speak, to organise, to meet together, to publish. The emergence of many new players in the politician sphere is indicative of a maturing democracy which welcomes and encourages the multiplicity of voices in social life.
Freedom of speech is enshrined in the Constitutions and the South African media is easily one of the most vocal and anti-establishment. ANC remains committed to religious coexistence with many religious and cultural practices forming an integral part of the rich tapestry that is South Africa.
There Shall be Work and Security
The 2014 Elections Manifesto of the ANC committed government to “investigate the modality for the introduction of a national minimum wage as one of the key mechanisms to reduce income inequality.” Discussions at NEDLAC in this regard are at an advanced stage
The ANC has committed itself to fast tracking efforts to strengthen the labour regime including improving lifelong learning and career advancements, stabilising the labour environment, improving dispute resolution and shop floor relations, strengthening the labour courts, bar- gaining councils and resourcing the CCMA and addressing casualisation of labour
The Doors of Learning and Culture Shall Be Opened
Today, over 9 milllion learners in South Africa attend no- fee schools. Government is on track towards the progressive realization of free education at all levels for children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds
We have attained the Millennium Development Goals of universal primary education and have overall eliminated gender disparity in primary school enrollments. Under the ANC government more girls are in school and tertiary institutions than ever before
There Shall be Houses, Security and Comfort
The ANC government has made significant strides in providing shelter to the people of South Africa. 3,7 million subsidized housing opportunities have been provided giving a home to more than 12,5 million South Africans
Over 80% of households now have been connected to electricity and more than 90% of them have piped water.
Access to basic sanitation services increased to 79.5% ensuring that many more people live a dignified life
Government is successfully piloting the introduction of free universal health care through the National Health Insurance. The National General Council of the ANC held in 2015 directed government to accelerate the resourcing and implementation of the NHI
There Shall be Peace and Friendship
The ANC`s vision remains the creation of a better South Africa in a better Africa and just world. As a movement and a government we participate in a majority of multilateral fora with the intention to pursue our anti-imperialist, progressive internationalist and African agenda.
The ANC remains committed to the full attainment of all clauses of the Freedom Charter. Doing so requires the full participation of all societal partners to realise the “good life all South Africans seek for themselves and their children”
Issued by ANC