Freedom Day: A New Struggle for Social and Economic Justice

Statement by
Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL
IFP President

Today, 27 April 2020, marks exactly 26 years since our country’s first democratic election. Freedom Day not only marks the day of a truly free and fair election but also signifies our collective and united victory as a country in peacefully transitioning from a government of white minority rule over the majority.

Our freedom was not won entirely without sacrifice as lives were lost and livelihoods destroyed. On this day, all South Africans must pay tribute to those who sought to fight and win for our liberation and the freedoms we enjoy today, but are no longer with us to celebrate this milestone.

The struggle for liberation, freedom and democracy is the reason the IFP exists today. IFP Founder and President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi describes best our transition and our contribution as an organisation for the liberation of our country.

“It was our belief in democratic ideals that sustained us through the onslaught of political oppression, discrimination and hatred. It was the trial for democratic ideals that brought this country through the threshold of change and delivered us safely into freedom.”

As we reflect 26-years on since the dawn of our democracy, South Africa has come a long way in entrenching our democratic principles and maturing in our political processes to deliver on the promise of political freedom, human rights and dignity for all.

However, the IFP believes that our political freedom must now be met with a fight for real social and economic justice. The growth and the transformation of our economy is essential in completing the struggle that was won by the generation before us for our political freedom and democracy, because:

Freedom cannot be enjoyed when far too many South Africans go to bed hungry.

Freedom cannot be enjoyed and celebrated when millions of South Africans cannot find work.

Freedom cannot be enjoyed when the economy is not working to the benefit of the many, while it still remains in control by the few.

Freedom cannot be enjoyed when those who have economic means live in luxury and the have-not’s live in squalor.

Freedom cannot be enjoyed when those who cannot afford access to justice suffer.
Freedom cannot be enjoyed when the disparities in income still exist across racial and gender divides.

Freedom can only be thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated when social and economic justice, becomes the new struggle this generation fights for in post-apartheid, post-liberated, South Africa.

Today, as we retell the heroic stories of not only our leaders who delivered us freedom or the lives that were lost, we must tell the sometimes untold or forgotten stories of the ordinary men and women, who with great determination, sacrifice, persistence and unity fought the heinous crimes and oppressive regime of Apartheid, together.

It is with the very same determination, sacrifice, persistence and unity in standing together, that we know as South Africans it is possible to overcome the impossible when we work in unison. Let us all unite, like we know we can, to fight the spread of Covid-19.

On this freedom day, the IFP calls on all South Africans to celebrate this victory and significant moment in our history, to pause and reflect on the past, but to look forward in joining us as we fight the struggle for social and economic justice.

Velenkosini Hlabisa MPL
IFP President
083 974 5783