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Date: 27 Apr 2012
Title: Make the country a success, urges Zuma
Pretoria- South Africans celebrate Freedom Day in order to ensure that the present does not erase the past, and in order to protect the future, says President Jacob Zuma.
The President was addressing the national Freedom Day celebrations held at the Union Buildings on Friday. The day commemorates the first democratic elections held in the country on 27 April 1994.
"Together we have built from the ashes of apartheid a country that is dedicated to patriotism, nation-building and reconciliation," he said, adding that South Africa has built stable democratic institutions based on its progressive Constitution.
Through the creation of a stable democratic system the country has been able to tackle its socio-economic development challenges.
"It has been a short but very meaningful road from a pariah state to a peaceful, stable, vibrant non-racial, non-sexist, democratic country that is working hard to achieve prosperity for all," acknowledged the President.
"On Freedom Day we celebrate our victory over racial bigotry," Zuma told the gathered crowd.
He added that government was working towards eradicating unemployment, inequity and poverty.
"The challenge has been to ensure that more of our people benefit from economic growth whilst maintaining and indeed building on the strength of our economy," he explained.
Despite 2008's global economic problems South Africa is recovering from the setback with the past 18 months having seen a substantial recovery with investment growing by 4% in 2011.
"The challenge now is to accelerate our gains, to ensure above all that growth supports increased inclusion, employment and equity," noted Zuma.
South Africa is working to support unemployed youth through the expansion of public employment programmes.
The proportion of the population living below a R422 a month poverty line decreased from 1994s 50% to 34.5% in 2009.
Efforts to improve conditions in the country include a R8.2 billion allocation for school infrastructure while 43 regional bulk projects for water infrastructure will be completed by 2014. This will benefit 3.2 million people.
Additionally in 2011, 75.8% of the country's households had access to electricity, an improvement from only 51% in 1994.
"Most importantly, primary health care is now accessible to all South Africans regardless of race, background and nationality," said Zuma.
On South Africa's bid to host the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope-the biggest telescope ever built-Zuma said excellent progress has been made and government was confident of its infrastructure, technical and scientific ability
"We look forward to winning this bid," said Zuma.
He called on South Africans to work together in order to make the country a success.
"We must put the country first in everything we do, and work together to make a success of the second phase of struggle, that of working towards a prosperous South Africa," said Zuma. -BuaNews