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Address by Minister in The Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, on the Reflections on the 30 Years of Freedom Campaign at the Sefako M. Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse, Tshwane

Programme Director,
His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa,
Ms M Ramokgopa, Minister for Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation,
Ms P Kekana, Deputy Minister for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation,
Deputy Ministers in The Presidency, DM Morolong and DM Motaung,
Distinguished speakers and guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

30 years of freedom and democracy in South Africa is a journey through triumphs, challenges, and ongoing progress. It's a testament to the resilience and spirit of a nation that has overcome immense adversity to embrace unity, democracy, and equality.

While milestones like the end of apartheid have been monumental, there's recognition of the work still ahead to address systemic issues and ensure that freedom truly reaches every corner of society. It's a time to celebrate progress, honor those who fought for change, and commit to building a future where every South African can thrive.

For some, 30 years may seem like a long time, yet when we consider what the democratic state inherited in 1994, it was always clear that our journey would be long and with many highs and lows. In 1994, we were a fractured nation.

The very fabric of our country had been torn apart by apartheid’s policies, which had systematically excluded black South Africans to the fringes of society. Planning and development in South Africa before 1994 was fragmented, thus enabling their exclusion and marginalisation from developmental opportunities.

As His Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa said during the State of the Nation Address in February this year, and I quote:

“Over the last three decades, we have been on a journey, striving together to achieve a new society – a national democratic society. Just as we cannot deny the progress South Africans have made over the last 30 years, nor should we diminish the severe challenges that we continue to face. We have endured times of great difficulty, when the strength of our constitutional democracy has been severely tested.”

Ladies and gentlemen,

Against this backdrop, I say this with conviction as we gather here today the South African story as it is, continues to inspire millions of people all over the world especially those who continue to wage struggles against oppression.

Since we are going to launch the Review of 30 years of Government, allow me to allude to the third party comments about South Africa:

1. According to the World Bank, South Africa is the leading economy in the African continent with nominal GDP of over $US373 billion.

2. Gross Tax revenue collection increased from R147,3 billion in 1996 to R2,155 trillion in 2023/2024 - the ever growing economy, while facing headwinds at present, has demonstrated the ability to create jobs and employment despite historical and structural challenges.

3. South Africa has 750 000km road network, and it ranks 11th amongst the countries with largest road network. 159, 272 km of SA road network is paved / tarred and ranks 19th globally.

Mr President, it is no small feat that South Africa has achieved universal access to education for children between the ages  of 7 - 15 years  and we are on track to achieve universal access to Early Childhood Development. Through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, and its predecessor TEFSA, the Government continues to break generational poverty with families and households having first time graduates, something many would not have dared dreamt of.

The World Bank reckons that we have been achieve this because South Africa on education outspends the P5 countries (permanent members of the Security Council – the US, UK, Germany, Russia and China), you can even add France, Italy, India and Australia. The South African Government spends 6.2% on education as share of GDP.

So, South Africa of today is much better than the South Africa of 1994, but they say – a picture says it best. Allow the video complied by Brand South Africa say it for me.

Thank you.

 Union Building