7 April 2017
Government commends all members of the public and other formations that participated in today’s marches’ for exercising their Constitutional rights responsibly and conducting their activities peacefully.
We also commend the security cluster for their visibility and maintaining order and stability, with minimal clashes reported. Behind the scenes, the government machinery prepared itself to ensure that services to the public remain uninterrupted and that the daily work of government to move South Africa in an upward trajectory continues. We want to also thank those employees in all sectors who made sure that people have access to service points and services. Today was a normal working day, as we pronounced yesterday.
Friday’s activities were a demonstration of a strengthened democracy where citizens are engaged in shaping the public discourse. Today’s actions demonstrated a maturing democracy which guarantees freedom of association, speech, and movement. However, in exercising these rights, we need to be mindful of doing so in a responsible manner without infringing on other people’s rights. South Africa has strong complimentary institutions in place, such as Parliament, our Judiciary and Chapter Nine Institutions which safeguard our Constitutional Rights. Our democracy is a system of rule by laws, not by the individuals. These institutions exists to ensure that every individual is protected and enjoys the hard fought for freedom. As we celebrate freedom month let us remember where we come from as a country. Many lives were sacrificed so that we can enjoy the freedom we have today.
South Africa has made unparalleled gains since the advent of democracy and as a nation we have achieved a lot in such a small space of time. We were able to transcend beyond the hurtful past of legislated oppression and racial discrimination. Through our commitment to democratic principles and accountability we were able to build a better country. The National Development Plan is our blue print of where we want to be in 2030, and every citizen must be an active participant in its implementation. We therefore have a responsibility to jealously guard our young democracy. We should continue to raise any challenges through the appropriate platforms provided by our Constitution and within the confines of the law.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of expression for all citizens, the Constitution also guarantees the right to dignity of all South Africans, including President Zuma.
As we uphold the dictates of our Constitution, let us do so mindful of the fact that it is binding to all of us. No one has more rights than the other. It is therefore our responsibility to uphold the spirit of the Constitution. South Africans will have another opportunity to make their mark in 2019 and through this free and fair electoral process, citizens can make their voice heard.
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Issued by Ministry of Communications