This year’s freedom day celebration takes a new look as South Africans unite to call for the resignation of President Zuma. As many march to actualize this, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Tuesday challenged the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to give South Africans respect and give them a reason to celebrate Freedom Day.
Releasing a statement on Tuesday, the IFP’s KwaZulu-Natal provincial leader, Blessed Gwala said freedoms day cannot be celebrated amid increasing corruption and economic woes that has rocked the nation.
“I don’t think that it is possible to truly celebrate Freedom Day while corruption is rampant and many people go to bed with empty stomachs. How you can celebrate Freedom Day when you are hungry and do not have decent houses? How you can celebrate Freedom Day when people in authority are stealing public funds and crime is rampant in our country?”
Gwala further said that service delivery protests that were taking place across the country were an indication that the government had failed in its duty to provide basic services to communities.
“Twenty two years of living in shack settlements without access to basic services is no reason to celebrate. Having thousands of young people unemployable is no reason to celebrate. Instead of squandering millions of rand on so-called celebrations that are intended to cover up its failures, this government should focus its efforts on creating sustainable jobs and providing decent housing for our people,” he said.
He said that freedom from apartheid was a reason to celebrate, but that people could not celebrate if they were “prisoners to poverty and hunger”.
Meanwhile, the former ANC leader Mathews Phosa has also joined in the call for Zuma to step down not just as a sign of respect for the nation, but also for the image of the ANC.
The former ANC leader went on to say that the president ought to have read the writing on the wall and take necessary step in stepping down. He said in such way the president will be well respected.
“Any citizen who wrongs his people should fall on their own sword and take responsibility and not find excuses ” he told reporters at the #IAmConstitution debate at Constitutional Hill in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on Tuesday night.
“I think there is a heavy responsibility on him to say ‘I read the signals, I am not going to explain myself away, the country is running under very heavy stress. I need to say goodbye to you, thank you for having trusted me’.
“I love him, I respect him, we will all respect him even more if he did that and said he didn’t think for himself, he thought for all of us,” Phosa said
Phosa however emphasized the need for all South Africans to respect the Constitution.”We should all, not only the president, respect the Constitution and see it as the supreme law of the country, as the first document which we regard as our social contract,” Phosa said; adding that the constitution is the nation’s binding force no matter who or what your rank is in society.