Mbete: SA is a different place today

The country commemorates 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy next Sunday.

FILE: 27 April is observed annually to celebrate South Africa’s first non-racial democratic elections of 1994.

JOHANNESBURG - Today marks seven days before the country officially commemorates the 20th anniversary of the attainment of freedom and democracy.

27 April is observed annually to celebrate South Africa's first non-racial democratic elections of 1994 which also marked the end of three hundred years of white minority rule and the establishment of a new government led by Nelson Mandela.

"Never, never and never again, shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another."

Candles are lit under a portrait of Neslon Mandela before the funeral ceremony of South African former president Nelson Mandela in Qunu on December 15, 2013. Picture: AFP

This is what Nelson Mandela told the gathering at his inauguration speech on 10 May 1994, the day the "new South Africa", the so-called rainbow nation was born.

20 years since that day African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Baleka Mbete says South Africa has come a long way since the dark days of apartheid.

Baleke says being able to move around freely and have equal rights as everyone else in the country, stands out for her as the best thing about the attainment of freedom and democracy.

ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete says those who fought in the struggle for freedom feel insulted by the 'Vote No' campaign. EWN's Lesego Ngobeni reports.

"You don't have to fear or ask for permission from anyone to be yourself and to adopt an identity."

Mbete says the country today is a different place than it was 20 years ago.

"Freedom of association is seen every day in the way people can have white friends, can visit people in different communities, which was not there before.

As South Africans prepare to celebrate 20 Years of Freedom and Democracy next Sunday, Mbete says let us not forget the sacrifices made to achieve this feat.


Baleka Mbete says her party is a religious movement and was started through the church in 1912.

She made the comments at the Change Bible Church in Katlehong, on Gauteng's East Rand on Saturday afternoon.

She asked the church to pray for the upcoming 7 May elections to be peaceful.

Mbete told more than 1000 congregants that the ANC respects churches.

But Mbete raised the ire of many when she said Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Walter Sisulu are still alive where they are.

The ANC chairperson also challenged the congregants to ask themselves why God is referred to as a male and not a female.

She asked the church to pray for the ANC to be reenergized in its work to bring change in people's lives.

On Friday President Jacob Zuma used a mass church service in Johannesburg to canvas votes for the ANC in the upcoming elections.

Earlier this month the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) retracted its decision to ban the Democratic Alliance (DA)'s Ayisafani television advert.

The advert, which criticises President Jacob Zuma and the ANC, was pulled off the air this month, the broadcaster saying the advert incited violence against police and attacked Zuma without giving him the right of reply.