South Africans cannot celebrate freedom while the nation’s economy is still at the strong helm of the minority, says the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN ANCYL).
South Africa celebrates its 23rd freedom day in remembrance of the day in 1994 when the country held its first ever all-race, democratic election, ending decades of sanctioned racial oppression under the apartheid system.
April 27, to South Africans, marked the end of over three hundred years of colonialism, segregation and white minority rule and the establishment of a new democratic government led by Nelson Mandela and a new state subject to a new constitution.
But, the KZN ANCYL provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo who spoke to news media ahead of the 2017 freedom day celebrations, urged South Africans to celebrate with caution bearing in mind that the country is yet to attain full freedom because “the economy is yet to be free”.
Sabelo said though past SA heroes brought political freedom in the country, the freedom is one-sided because majority are still living in poverty while very few still control the economy.
“The country will be finally free when everyone, including blacks, participates in the economy of the country. Twenty-three years later, the minority still controls the economy,” he said.
Sabelo also said himself and the entire youth league of the ruling ANC believe that Zuma’s newly launched Radical Economic Transformation is the sure best move towards redirecting the economy to the hands of the South African majority, particularly the black race which according to him, are lagging behind.
The ANC economic transformation policy will free everyone in South Africa, he said,
“While the rest of the country celebrates Freedom Day, some of the indigenous people of this country still live in poverty. They might be democratically free, but they cannot eat votes.”
The league is calling for speedy economic transformation to address the inequalities of the past, he said.
During the launch of Zuma’s radical Economic Transformation platform in February, Zuma said political freedom was not just enough for the country and that freedom will only be complete when there is economic emancipation.
The president reiterated this at the relaunch of the 1 038 hectare Maluti-A-Phofung Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Tshiamo, Harrismith, where he called on the private sector to partner with government in doing business.
According to him also, Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks programs were essential to radically transform the country’s economy.
“This is a special development which forms part of our conscious efforts of creating economic development and growth opportunities closer to where our people live. This we do through promoting industrialization and also the development of township and rural economies,” he said.
“Government and the governing party are fully committed to pursuing and implementing a program of radical economic transformation. One of the critical components of this radical economic transformation is the notion of a balanced regional economic and industrial development.” Zuma added.
Meanwhile, the KZN ANCYL provincial secretary Thanduxolo Sabelo congratulated South Africans for marking another freedom day in unity but warned that without education, economic freedom cannot be achieved.
“Government must provide free education so that the majority, especially the youth will be educated and be able to economically free themselves,” he said.