The Programme Director
House of traditional leaders in the province
Traditional leaders present here
The Mayor of Makhado
The representative of the Executive Mayor of Vhembe, Cllr L Mulaudzi
Members of the Media
The community of Ha-Nesengani and neighbouring villages
All public representatives
Ladies and gentlemen
In April, all of us as South Africans celebrated Africa Month under the theme: “There Shall be Peace and Friendship”. This is indeed a fitting theme for the community in and around greater Vhembe district. Yesterday, in the National Day of Prayer Address President Zuma called on all South Africans to hold hands and to pray for peace, unity and tolerance. In the Presidents words, and I quote
“We want a South Africa that is united and peaceful. We urge all our people to unite and ensure that nobody disturbs the peace that we worked so hard to achieve.”
Together, let us strive to promote solidarity and unity amongst our families, our communities and among all African nations.
On Wednesday 25th May we will celebrate the annual commemoration of Africa Day which marks the founding of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963. The freedom that South Africa celebrated in the past month of April would not have been possible without the support of other African nations. Africa Month serves as a platform to reconnect and recommit ourselves to Pan Africanism and African Renaissance in bringing the people of the continent closer.
Let us not forget the difficult road and our struggle for freedom that brought us to this point in our democracy. Whilst there is much to celebrate in our 21 year old democracy, we should remember that the freedoms we enjoy are balanced by attendant responsibilities. Whilst people have a right to express themselves, we cannot condone the use of violence, and call on you to join government in speaking out against violence, the violation of other people’s rights and the destruction of property.
In the last few weeks we have seen disturbing images coming out of villages around here with a number of schools being torched and roads being barricaded. Myself, together with cabinet ministers who sit on the Inter-Ministerial Committee that deals with issues affecting Vuwani and Malamulele, have had constructive engagements with traditional leaders and community representatives from these affected areas. We have listened to your grievances, as well as the aspirations of the young people who want to return to school in order to build a better life for you their parents and their communities. Let us now join hands to deepen the work we have committed to and build a better future for our children.
As government we call on all South Africans to reject violence and take a stand against the destruction of property and violation of other peoples’ rights. Acts of violence, intimidation and destruction of property are criminal offences and the police will arrest and prosecute those who commit such incidents. Citizens who are unhappy over demarcation can express their dissatisfaction through a number of constructive platforms. Government has created a number of channels to address concerns by communities and protests should be used as a last resort. Government calls on the community of Vuwani to isolate elements who are destroying property and the future of learners by burning schools and report them to the police.
As government we call on all South Africans to promote and strive for a common national identity, patriotism, love for our country, nation building and social cohesion. Although, our nation has made massive strides since 1994, our nation building and social cohesion has tended to lag behind our progress in other spheres.
Achieving this ideal is vitally important and will ensure that we break down the artificial barriers based on race, class and cultural differences that divide our people.
Using the Constitution as our guide we must work towards eradicating the divisions and injustices of the past and must do more to build a more inclusive society and economy. We must push for a recognition of shared symbols and values; and promote a countrywide conscious sense of being proudly South African.
In the spirit of Africa Month I say: “There Shall be Peace and Friendship
I thank you.
Source: Department of Communications