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This year we mark the 16th anniversary of the Freedom day. April 27 day is an important day in our struggle calendar as it provided a major democratic breakthrough for the progressive forces that stood on the side of the liberation camp. From the time the election date was declared, the SACP characterised this moment as a democratic breakthrough and not an end in itself, we understood clearly that an election did not mark an end to the national democratic and class struggles but instead it meant we were conducting the struggle on a different terrain.
As we celebrate we must remember our heroes and heroines who devoted their lives for this breakthrough. We remember Harry Gwala, Basil February, Dora Tamana, Ruth First, Yusuf Dadoo, Joe Slovo, Moses Mabhida, Moses Kotane, Oliver Tambo and Chris Hani whose assassination provided a catalyst to the election date. We also welcome the fact that our late leaders like Cdes Harry Gwala and Mzala Nxumalo will on this day receive national orders, as recognition of the role they played laying our foundations for democracy.
Whilst a lot has been done to consolidate our democracy and we have built durable institutions of democracy that we celebrate today, the challenges of capitalism and its inherent inability to meet the needs of humanity has continued to present us with a huge challenge.
Millions of houses have been built, electrified and supplied with running water and proper sanitation. That notwithstanding, millions of our people remain homeless and have little to celebrate with us today.
We have made significant progress to transform our education system and increase the participation rate, but it is an education system that continues to reproduce significant racial and class discrimination, as identified in the elections manifesto of the ANC in 2009. Our health system as well has shown major weaknesses which we are attending to with the struggle to implement a National Health Insurance.
These problems as we experienced them in various areas are a clear sign that if we are to make meaning of our democracy we have reached a point where we must make a decisive break from the false notion of modernising and restoring to growth an inherently distorting South African capitalism. We need to place our society on to a different developmental path, one in which meeting social needs is the priority and not profit-driven growth.
We have built a constitutional order of which we are rightfully proud, but a great majority of South Africans are unable to fully enjoy the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights. This is not a moment to despair and lament as others would do and opportunistically use this day for their anti-ANC agenda.
It is a moment for a national reflection on the challenge of nation building and deepening and defending our democratic breakthrough. It is a moment to deepen our resolve to build working class power and peoples fronts in the areas of education, health, in building vibrant and strong participatory governance at a local level, in transforming the workplace and fostering a decent jobs agenda, building sustainable livelihoods and fighting crime and corruption. It is with these commitments that the SACP has undertaken the 34 days of activism in memory of Cde Chris Hani.