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Lerato Mailoane

As South Africa celebrates 29 years of freedom, Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi said it is important to reflect on how crime jeopardises the rights and freedom of Gauteng residents.

“We appreciate the truth that without safety and security, our freedom, social cohesion and nation-building are under threat.”

This year’s Freedom Day celebrations were held at Huntersfield Stadium, Katlehong, in Ekurhuleni, under the theme: “Celebrating, our democracy, advancing efforts to a safe and secure Gauteng.”

Addressing this year’s celebrations, Lesufi said government is determined to create a Gauteng province free of crime, where people are free from fear of violence and crime.

“We want businesses to flourish in our Townships, Informal Settlements and Hostel areas. We want school children whose future is not threatened by immoral drug dealers. We want women and children to enjoy social conditions without being prey to human trafficking syndicates and child sex rings. We want to defend our public infrastructure to ensure that it serves our communities’ developmental and social needs,” said Lesufi.

Growing Gauteng Together 2030 depends on safe communities and investment in infrastructure.

To enjoy freedom, Lesufi said residents must reclaim schools and communities.

He warned all those selling drugs saying law enforcement agencies will sniff them out. All the children who need rehabilitation for three months, free of charge, under the Gauteng Anti Substance Abuse campaign.

Furthermore, he urged the public to be honest that drugs have destroyed our children noting that he is committed to fighting this scourge in our communities.

“To our students, as we celebrate this Freedom Day, you will get free Wi-Fi so you can study free, and we have committed to change all our classrooms to classrooms of the future.

“Our freedom needs to be defended with everything in our power. We make this solemn promise that we will honour the memory of our martyrs and uphold our constitutional democracy by ensuring that our people live in conditions free of all forms of threats against freedom,” said Lesufi.

Lesufi said Freedom Day must be celebrated as it marks a transition from an era of racialised colonial and apartheid oppression, which robbed the majority of their inherent humanity, to an age of hope.

“We might have limitations and challenges, but this day cannot be erased from the calendar of this country. It’s a day we received our humanity and dignity back.

“I was excited to see the elderly and youth being part of this celebration. We must observe the day not for us only but for the future as well,” he added.

Ekurhuleni Mayor Sivuyile Ngodwana, in his address, echoed Lesufi’s sentiments. He said the democracy South Africa enjoys today was attained in the coat of many lives we lost.

“A high price was paid, but today we celebrate 29 years. We have seen great strides, but much more must be achieved. We should vigorously expand what we have attained and work for the greater good.

He also paid tribute to stalwart Chris Hani for fighting for the freedom we now enjoy.

Councillor for Ward 51, Lumka Nkonki, asked for access to the stadium so the community can tackle societal issues like drugs and teen pregnancy and keep youth out of the streets.

Many services were on offer at the stadium. These included Home Affairs, Gauteng Departments of Health, Social Development, and Sport, the Wits RHI, and Alok Youth Centre.


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