Item 929 - Election Rally April 2004

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Election Rally April 2004


  • 2004-04-04 (Creation)

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Transcription of speech made by Mr Mandela

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(18 July 1918-5 December 2013)

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Migrated from the Nelson Mandela Speeches Database (Sep-2018).

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ANC National Siyanqoba Rally

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  • English

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We are celebrating ten years of democracy as we now prepare to go to the polls for our third democratic elections.

These elections are therefore in a real way part of our celebrations and of paying tribute to the efforts of all those who sacrificed, suffered, struggled and worked to realise our democracy.

The first decade of democracy was a period of laying the foundations and of consolidation. We can now with some assurance and confidence claim that our democracy is firmly established.

It is now for all of us as citizens to give living substance to our democracy by actively participating in all of the organs and spaces established and opened up by our democratic system.

A democracy does not only consist of the five-yearly acts of going to the polls, but participating in those elections remains the most emphatic manner in which the citizenry can express its will and demonstrate its commitment to the health of a democratic system.

Standing on the sidelines, failing to go to the polls is a neglect of the democratic duty. And in our case in South Africa, it can be read to signal disregard for the hard and painful struggles that went onto bringing about democracy.

We are expecting you, the people of democratic South Africa, to turn out in your masses to reconfirm your faith in and commitment to democracy. As you did in those historic elections of 1994, we expect you now to celebrate ten years of democracy with the same passion and enthusiasm.

The African National Congress led the first decade of non-racial, non-sexist democratic government. And we can claim without any exaggeration that no government in the history of this government has done more for the people of the country than has been achieved in this past decade.

And no Prime Minister or President can claim to have done more for the country and its people than President Thabo Mbeki has done in these last five years.

Because the policies and performance of the ANC government were so unassailable all efforts were made to cast aspersion upon the President and his government. One prime example of that was to sow the suspicion that the President intended to change the Constitution in order to secure a further term of office for him.

We publicly expressed our surprise at such rumours, confirming our faith in the integrity of a man we know better than any of those critics or rumourmongers ever could. Yet they persisted with their efforts. Now that the President has answered them in the most unequivocal terms, we have not heard any one of them apologising to the President, or to ourselves for that matter.

But you, the people, will express yourself at the polls – expressing in the most resounding way your ability to see with your own eyes, hear with your own ears, and think with your own brains. You have personal experience of the ANC government improving your lives, of affording you the dignity that decades of apartheid and centuries of colonialism denied you.

At the funeral of Minister Dullah Omar the President called upon us to dedicate these elections to Dullah; to honour his memory and his exemplary life work by exercising our democratic rights and duties at the polls.

I want to fully endorse that and to add to that the name of another comrade who worked closely with Comrade Dullah and who now finds himself in a physical state that renders him incapable of further contributing as he did all his life. I refer to Comrade Joe Nhlanhla. Like Dullah, Joe was one of those principled and honest persons that made our movement and organisation great.

It is as a tribute to men and women like them that we must now participate and vote; and vote for the government of the people, the African National Congress.

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Acquisition method: From hard drive ; Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation Prof J Gerwel. Accessioned on 15/10/07 by Razia Saleh; Adam Kaloides




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