Members of the Gallery,
Comrades and Friends.
Hon, Speaker, it is a privilege to stand in front of the House today and participate in the 2015 Nelson Mandela debate. When we reflect on the numerous moments in the political history of former President Nelson Mandela, one moment that stands out is the following speeches;
- “Black man in a White Man’s Court” delivered in Pretoria, in October 1962
- “An ideal I am prepared to die for” delivered in Pretoria 1964
- “Address in Cape Town, February 1990; and
- “The 100-days speech” of August 1994.
Hon. Members there are lessons to be learned from each of these speeches. The speech well known today titled “Black man in a White Man’s Court delivered in 1962” speaks to the independence our courts faced today. In 1962, former President Mandela made the following statement
“I feel oppressed by the atmosphere of white domination that lurks all around in this courtroom… Why is it that in this courtroom I face a white magistrate, am confronted by a white prosecutor, and escorted into the dock by a white orderly?...Why is it that no African in the history of this country has ever had the honor of being tried by his kith and kin, by his own flesh and blood?”
Hon. Members, these words should be a reminder that prior to 1994 South Africans did not have the privilege to be tried in an equal, fair and independent courtroom. It was dominated by the white man, the oppressive white man and his system of Apartheid. Today all South Africans enjoy the privilege of living in a country that is made up of 3 branches namely; the Executive, the Legislature and Judiciary which is independent from all form of political power.
Hon. Speaker, in his speech, “An ideal I am prepared to die for delivered in 1964”, this speech is famous by the closing remarks where former President Mandela speaks of democracy and free society… an ideal he was prepared to die for. The lessons learned from this speech are articulated well in this phrase:
“Today I am attracted by the idea of a classless society, an attraction which springs in part from Marxist readings… there was no rich or poor and there was no exploitation. The complaint of Africans, however, is not only that they are poor and whites are rich, but that the laws which are made by the whites are designed to preserve this situation”.
Hon. Members today all South Africans have equal opportunity to apply for whatever job they qualify for, may enroll at any state primary and secondary school, have equal access to higher education. Hon Members, the liberation movement ANC, ensured that the laws are not designed to oppress any South African. Although the opposition party makes reference to ANC being stuck in the history of our revolution, I proudly say we are not stuck, but often reflect on the foundations set by our leaders.
Hon. Speaker this brings me to the Address made by Nelson Mandela in Cape Town, 1990. It was during this speech that he made saluted those who assisted and sacrificed for the liberation movement. Comrades such as Oliver Tambo were saluted for deading the ANC movement during those difficult times. The contributions made by Solomon Mahlangu and Ashley Kriel who ultimately sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
Hon. Members, I would like to quote the following phrase from his speech that is of great significance:
“I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have carried the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony…if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die for”.
Hon. Speaker, indeed the ANC often makes reference to the past, the oppressive nature and circumstances our movement fought against. We not only reflect on the negative actions taken by the Apartheid regime, but rather the positive and motivational words by our leaders. Our leaders who ultimately sacrificed their lives for South Africa to be the free and democratic society it is today.
Hon Members, this brings me to the last speech to make reference to “The 100 days speech” delivered 100 days in office as President in August 1994. I would like to quote the following phrase and question from that speech:
“I hundred days ago, the President and Deputy Presidents of a new democratic republic were sworn in. Our people and the whole world marveled at what has been variously characterized as a miracle and an epoch-making even. Are we worthy of that trust and confidence?”
Hon. Speaker, South Africans continuous trust and confidence is evident when we have been the remaining government in power since 1994. The people of South Africa have faith and believe that the ANC led-government is continuously working towards improving the lives of all South Africans. It is because of the firm foundations laid by our selfless leaders like former President Nelson Mandela.