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Reflecting on 20 years of democracy

Political leaders and celebrities reflect on what 20 years of democracy means to them.

South Africa celebrates 20 years of democracy on 27 April. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - As the country celebrates 20 years of freedom and democracy, political leaders and celebrities have reflected on what's been achieved and what still needs to be done.

The elections paved the way for a new Constitution for South Africa.

Political leaders have reflected on what's been achieved and what still needs to be done.

"For 20 years government been trying to to democratise South Africa and deal with challenges. To do that, the new government would not have fitted into the existing state machinery. They had to learn over 20 years and try and do things better."

Outspoken National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa general secretary Irvin Jim says 20 years of freedom have not benefitted the majority of South Africans.

"We are sitting in the 20th year of democracy in a country that has been a victim that ensures that the bulk majority of people have been excluded from the economy. We can confirm today by figures that the most beneficiaries from the two decades of democracy have only been the white population."

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille says 20 years on, the nation is faced with a serious threat to constitutionalism.

"Erosion of constitutionalism is an enormous threat to our democracy and when we look back, we will see that in this period of our history the public protector was an anomaly and we need to strengthen all of the institutions of our democracy to hold power to account."

Congress of South African Trade Unions General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says marking celebrating 20 years of freedom to vote, knowing that the majority of young people have not registered for this year's elections is concerning.

"They are simply too demoralised and no party has inspired them to go out and vote in droves. For me this is a very sad moment for a country that is only 20 years into democracy."

"So we are relatively free from police harassment and can live anywhere we want to if we can afford to, but other than that nothing much has changed- segregation, tribalism and separatism are still in our midst."