Confront the past to move forward as one in SA‚ says deputy president
While calling for unity‚ Acting President David Mabuza on Monday also appealed to South Africans to address the issue of land expropriation‚ saying it would be an injustice to turn a blind eye to the subject.
“As we celebrate this important day we must confront with determination the historical fault lines and injustices that continue to threaten our peace and stability so that we can finally move forward as one people‚ one nation and one South Africa founded on shared values‚” said Mabuza.
“If we do not confront this reality and sad state of affairs‚ we would just be burying our heads in the sand and causing a huge source of frustration and resentment to all those who were brutally dispossessed of their land‚” he said.
Mabuza was speaking at Heritage Day celebrations in Kokstad in KwaZulu-Natal.
He said there was enough land for everyone in South Africa. “Ours is a land of abundance. It can provide for everyone. There is enough to go around‚ enough to share‚ enough to end poverty‚ depravation and all forms of want. All we must do is live up to our potential under a just and equitable system. This is what our common heritage means‚” he said.
“We have enough to create wealth‚ prosperity‚ opportunity and development for all …. Yet‚ our people still cannot sow to reap. They cannot work the land to own it. They have no means of production and no heritage to fully embrace and benefit from‚” he added.
Mabuza said the country’s heightened sense of retreat to the past was threatening national unity.
“It is understandable that human beings are prone‚ in times of national strife‚ in times of bitter socio-economic hardship‚ in times of hard debates about land reform‚ to retreat easily into narrow nationalist‚ racial and ethnic enclaves. However‚ I stand in front of you on this day to state with conviction that this path we have chosen is the correct one. It is the path that will unite our nation and one that will help us to forge a common nationhood‚” he said.
As South Africans celebrated their heritage and diverse cultures‚ dressing in different attire‚ Mabuza also appealed for the heritage of those who fought in the South African wars to be remembered.
“Some perished at the sinking of the SS Mendi for example …. Their remit was to fight for our dignity‚ to plead for humanity and to communicate our sage commitment to a common humanity. Their efforts‚ rebuffed as they were‚ remain lode stars to our common humanity‚” Mabuza said.
“But we remember too‚ the bloodshed between the British and the Afrikaner on these very shores. We must remember that they too counted the descendants of the Dutch‚ the French‚ the British-settlers‚ the fortune hunters‚ the gold-diggers and the cane cutters who came here either to seek wealth out of the richness of our land or as indentured labourers.”
“They are a part of us as we are part of them. We relate to their history as they should relate to the history of all the dispossessed.”
Prior to his address‚ Mabuza had honoured Griqua leader Adam Kok III.