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Message of support by Minister Ronald Lamola (Mp) at the National Human Rights Day Celebration delivered in Koster, North West, on 21 March 2022.

The Year of Unity and Renewal: Protecting and Preserving Our Human Rights Gains

Executive Mayor of Bojanala Platinum District Municipality: Cllr Magdalene Matlakala Nondzaba

Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission, Prof Bongani Christopher Majola

MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport & Recreation: Ms Galebekwe Tlhapi

Premier of North West Province: Ntate. Bushy Kaobitsa Maape

Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa

His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa

Distinguished Guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

We gather in the name of a significant holiday in the life of our nation and democratic dispensation at large.

The South Africa that our heroes of yesteryear woke up to 62 years to the day, and South Africa we have woken up in today are remarkably different. 

The freedoms we enjoy today are self-evident and perhaps we may even argue that the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed most of our rights in ways we could not have expected in a democracy.

But that is precisely what makes a different nation under COVID-19 our rights were not limited by arbitrary power, all our actions to protect the nation had to be justified within the rubric of our Constitution. 

A Constitution which has been in implementation for 25 years, is a constitution that provides a number of ways for claiming and defending basic needs, such as socio-economic rights to housing, health care, food and water.

Although the gains of our democracy are self-evident, it is also apparent that this young democracy has been suffocated by corruption.  As a result, our national goal of eliminating poverty and reducing inequality by 2030 is a critical vantage point.

The NDP underscores, our historical position, as per our Reconstruction and Development Programme:

No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government.”

Mr President, I have no doubt that the duty of revitalizing sustained and sustainable economic growth and employment creation and structural transformation of our economy is one which we will fulfil. 

Yes, external factors may well influence the pace and process of structural transformation.  Which precisely why the social compact identified under your leadership in this sixth administration, is possibly one of the most important interventions required to sustain our democracy and deliver on the promise of our Constitution.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the recent and to some extent constant waves of violence that besiege our nation at various times and levels show us that we are at war, and in the process, it is our collective actions as communities that derail and erode our fellow human being’s human rights.

The various incidents of racism, lawlessness, and attacks on black African foreign nationals and sometimes Asian foreign nationals, show that as a nation, our humanity is at an all-time low.

Collectively we are not battling to end poverty.  We are battling ourselves. 

Let our actions not destroy our humanity and the gains of our democracy, instead our actions should entrench the bill of rights in all spheres of our society.

Let us use this day to reflect on how we can be better humans, better communities, and a better nation.

I thank You.