10 April 2013
President Jacob Zuma will lead the nation in marking Freedom Month in April, “celebrating the dawn of freedom and democracy and the achievements of all South Africans in moving away from hatred, divisions and a painful history to build a common future together”, the Presidency said on Wednesday.
Freedom Month celebrations would promote the National Development Plan (NDP) “as a long-term vision which should serve as a basis for partnerships across society to attain the South Africa that is eloquently articulated in the Constitution and historic national documents such as the Freedom Charter of 1955,” the Presidency said in a statement.
The National Development Plan is a policy blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030. Among other things, it identifies the key constraints to faster growth and presents a roadmap to a more inclusive economy that will address the country’s socio-economic imbalances
The plan was approved by Cabinet late last year and adopted by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at its elective conference in Mangaung in December.
President Zuma, interviewed on national television following his State of the Nation Address in February, said the NDP was a crucial policy-making tool that would help South Africa develop and determine the direction the country was to take.
Zuma, the Presidency said on Wednesday, “urges all parties to use Freedom Month to unite South Africans in their commitment to building a nation that is caring, dignified and with a great sense of humility and mutual respect for one another”.
The Presidency said Freedom Month would celebrate the country’s Constitution, “especially the unifying assertion that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.
“At the same time, Freedom Month is also a period of reflection on what else needs to be done collectively towards the goal of building a prosperous society and an improved quality of life for all, especially the poor and the working class.
“It reminds us of the need to work hard continuously to ensure that every household has water, electricity, sanitation, a good school, a good clinic, road, a police station and all other basic services.”
Freedom Month would also “reflect on what else needs to be done better to improve social cohesion and the building of a nation united in its diversity”, the Presidency said.
A summit on social cohesion hosted by the government in Kliptown, Soweto in July last year acknowledged that social cohesion would depend to a large measure on South Africans’ ability, as society, to address the challenges of poverty and inequality.
President Zuma, addressing the summit, said that promoting social cohesion, nation building and a sense of national identity were high on the list of South Africa’s priorities, but would require a joint effort from all sectors of society to achieve.