Speaker of the National Assembly (NA), Ms Thandi Modise,
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Mr Amos Masondo,
Deputy President David Mabuza,
Former President Thabo Mbeki and Mrs Mbeki,
Former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka,
Former Deputy President Baleka Mbete,
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and esteemed members of the Judiciary,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Honourable members of the NA,
Honourable members of the NCOP,
Dean of the European Region, representing the diplomatic corps, His Excellency, Mr Beka Dvali,
Fellow South Africans,
On this day, 31 years ago, President Nelson Mandela walked out of the gates of Victor Verster Prison a free person, a living embodiment of the resilience and courage of the South African people.
For nearly 40 million years, an extraordinary ecosystem has existed here at the southernmost tip of our continent.
The Fynbos Biome, which stretches across the Cape, has among the most distinctive features of any plants found on earth.
It can adapt to dry, hot summers and cold rainy winters. It is wondrous in its diversity.
Our national flower, the Protea, is a species of fynbos.
When I opened the third National Investment Conference last year, I spoke of the Protea's unique properties that in so many ways resemble our national character.
What is most unique and special about fynbos is that to be sustainable and survive, it needs fire.
Click here for the full speech