In 2014 South Africa will celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy. This momentous occasion presents an opportunity for us to reflect on how our freedom and democracy were achieved; the progress we have made the past 20 years; and on how South Africans will work together to implement Vision 2030.
•Our Constitution lays the basis for the construction of a democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous society based on justice, equality, the rule of law and the inalienable human rights of all.
•One of the symbolic moments of the exodus from the past was the raising of the new flag in 1994. This moment aptly affirmed the pride and dignity of an unfolding country and a celebration of humanity.
•Another significant moment was the merger of Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika and “Die Stem” to form one national anthem in 1997.
•On 27 April 2000 the new Coat of Arms was launched embracing the collective historical essence of the people of the country.
Government encourages every sector of society to reflect on the progress made and the challenges that the nation has faced over the past 20 years.
The celebrations will strengthen relations with other African countries and the world. In 2013 the African continent celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). We remain grateful to the continent and the international community for supporting us in the struggle for liberation.
We must never forget that our democratic birth was rightly hailed as a miracle. Doomsayers and those who wanted us to fail had predicted chaos and civil war. However, none of these things came to pass and the values of democracy and freedom of our birth still endure today.
South Africa has abandoned its shameful past and has steadily moved towards building a new culture based on respect of human rights and dignity.
Compared to before 1994 we can proudly proclaim that millions of people now have water, electricity, sanitation and housing. By our own standards, we declare that this is not good enough; that we must not rest until all the people can claim a better life.
The release of the Census 2011 figures shows a definitive picture of a country that is rapidly changing. The figures paint the picture of a country that has increased income levels, an improvement in the roll-out of basic services and amenities, and increased levels of education.
While celebrating our achievements we must also look forward to the next 20 years.
The National Development Plan (NDP) is our roadmap. The plan outlines the type of society we are striving for in 2030, where no one is hungry, where everyone is able to go to school and further their studies if they wish, where work is available, where everyone is making a contribution because each person has been provided with what they need to reach their full potential.