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FREEDOM DAY 2023

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FREEDOM DAY 2023

This year we celebrate Freedom Month under the theme: Consolidating and Safeguarding Democratic Gains. On 27 April 2023, President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the Freedom Day commemoration, in the North West Province in the Dr Kenneth Kaunda District Municipality.

The 27th of April this year marks the 29th anniversary of South Africa’s first democratic elections. This day now known as Freedom Day is commemorated every year to honour those unsung heroes and heroines who fought for our freedom and paved the way for an equal, representative, non-racial nation. During the month, we also reflect on the progress made over our democratic journey thus far and consider how we can further strengthen our democracy.

The objective of this year’s National Freedom Month celebrations are to increase an understanding of our history and development in democracy as well as celebrate South Africa’s struggle icons. This year we also commemorate the 27th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution as the supreme law of our country.

The commemoration comes at a time when government continues to fast track the implementation of a number of measures to stabilise the economy in response to damaging impact of the COVID-19 and energy challenges.

Key Messages:

Join us in celebrating our Freedom Month.

• South Africans are encouraged to join in the Freedom Month celebrations and be part of the public engagements between government and communities.
• Our celebrations over Freedom Month reminds us that our freedom was not free.
• Our road to democracy required untold sacrifice, and many paid the ultimate price for us to be free.
• Our democracy has restored the dignity of millions of South Africans and changed our lives for the better.
• Our freedom was entrenched with the adoption of the Constitution of South Africa in 1996, which ushered in a new social order of constitutionalism.
• This year we also commemorate the 27th anniversary of the enactment of the Constitution as the supreme law of our country.
• Our rights are protected under our constitutional democracy, which promotes inclusivity, equality, non-racialism, non-sexism, national unity, social cohesion, justice and diversity.

Let’s build on the progress we have made under democracy

• South Africa has made significant progress in transforming from an apartheid state into a democratic one.
• The values of human dignity, non-racialism and non-sexism, and the rule of law remain paramount in our nation.
• Let us continue to work for freedom from poverty, unemployment, racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination.
• As a nation, we are stronger together and have more in common than that which divides us.
• Each citizen has a responsibility to take charge and play an active role in building the South Africa we want.

We have made great strides in extending the provision of basic services to the poor.

• In the years of local government existence, we have reduced the backlog in the provision of basic services our government inherited in 1994.
• We have also provided free basic services to address the needs of poor households that cannot afford municipal services.
• Government’s free basic services programme currently supports more than 3.5 million indigent households.
• Every poor household is guaranteed to receive at least a minimum standard of basic services.
• This reduces the household burden and brings about relief to poor households as well as ensures that no citizen is denied the right to basic services.
• It improves the ability of the poor to participate in society and the economy.
• While good progress has been made since 1994, more still needs to be done to ensure that basic services are extended to millions more.
• We call on all communities to work with their elected councillors and ensure that they deliver on their promises to improve the lives of people.

Together we can create a better tomorrow!

• Our history of division, injustice and suffering should inspire us to build a better and more united nation.
• We must continue to address the triple threat of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
• We must work to create a nation that has equal opportunities across all areas of society.
• We must also do more to create a society in which women feel safe and fully enjoy their freedom as men do.
• Abuse against women and children goes against the founding values of our constitutional democracy, which is built on human rights, human dignity and equality for all
• As we commemorate Freedom Day, let us redouble our efforts to end the injustices wherever it emerges.

We are responding to the concerns of communities on GBVF.

• We have increased the number of shelters and care centres for survivors and improved the capacity of our police to deal with crimes of gender-based violence.
• The Emergency Action Plan to deal with the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide was unveiled in 2019.
• Government reprioritised R1.6 billion for the plan, which focuses on improving access to justice for survivors of violence and prevention campaigns to change attitudes and behaviour.
• It involved measures to strengthen the criminal justice process and to prioritise the creation of economic opportunities for women who are vulnerable to abuse.
• In 2020, we also developed the National Strategic Plan, which serves as a roadmap to realise a South Africa free from gender-based violence and femicide.
• The National Strategic Plan is a government and civil society’s multi-sectoral initiative and R21 billion has been allocated to drive its implementation.
• In 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa launched a private sector-led, multi-sectoral Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) Response Fund aimed at supporting implementation of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) and the wider GBVF response in the country.
• Since the launch of the National Strategic Plan in 2020, 32 regional courts have been designated as Sexual Offences Courts in various parts of the country.
• We have made significant progress in reducing the backlog in DNA processing at our forensic service laboratories in the country, nearly clearing it from 210,000 exhibits in April 2021.
• The SAPS has also added additional DNA testing capacity with the completion of a forensic laboratory in Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape, which will ease pressure on the existing laboratory in the Western Cape.
• In 2022, President Cyril Ramaphosa signed into law three pieces of legislation to strengthen the criminal justice system, promote accountability across the state and support survivors.

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