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'SA's future to be guided by NDP'

President Jacob Zuma said SA must work towards bridging the gap between rich and poor.

President Jacob Zuma arrives at the Freedom Day celebrations at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 27 April 2014. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

PRETORIA - It's been two decades since South Africans voted in their first democratic elections and senior thinking of the future of the country.

Nationwide Freedom Day celebrations took place yesterday with the official event being held at the Union Buildings where President Jacob Zuma addressed the nation.

He was welcomed with cheers and applause by people from all walks of life who were gathered on the front lawns.

Zuma assured the country that its future would be guided by the National Development Plan (NDP).

Planning Minister Trevor Manuel said it's yup to the youth to take ownership of the NDP without forgetting the hard fought struggle against apartheid.

"It is important that we say to South Africans and young people in particular, understand where we come from, understand why our generation is so much more important and understand your right to vote."

ELECTIONS

With the elections just a few days away, Zuma called on the country to ensure voting is peaceful, free and fair.

He called on South Africans to remain peaceful during the upcoming elections.

"The precious right to vote was gained through relentless struggle and sacrifice. Let us vote to consolidate democracy and all the achievements of our young nation."

He added that all political parties had a good story to tell and should celebrate 20 years of freedom together.

DEADLINE: 2030

The president said by 2030, South Africa should have a comprehensive system of social protection that includes social security grants, mandatory retirement savings, risk benefits such as unemployment, death and disability and vulnerable retirement savings.

"The next decade of freedom must be one in which we work together to advance economic transformation."

He said the country must work towards bridging the gap between rich and poor.

"We will continue to work with the business sector, to advance broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) and affirmative action in order to change the ownership, control and management of the economy."

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said they are capable young leaders in the province, but she is ready to serve another term.

"Undoubtedly, you will see me as a public representative of the ANC"

Many leaders who attended the event said the country's future is bright.

But their sentiments aren't shared by everyone as political parties continue to warn about threats to democracy.

Meanwhile, some born frees say they feel that after twenty years of democracy government has not done anything for them.

Eyewitness News spoke to this born free from Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape.

"They haven't done anything for the youth. I don't know about the future but right now they haven't done anything, so the youth doesn't benefit from the ANC."