The Programme Director, Sedibeng Executive Mayor Simon Mofokeng in absentia, Emfuleni Executive Mayor Greta Hlongwane, Members of the Mayoral, Committee from different Municipalities, Leadership of the Women Caucus, Guests including Learners, All Officials present here today, Ladies and Gentlemen
Dumelang, It gives me pleasure to be sharing this important platform with all of you here today. The 20 years journey we have traversed has been indeed exciting.
We are here today to celebrate the remarkable success that our twenty years of democracy has brought to all us.
When the Smart ID Card concept was presented to me by the Women Caucus Chairperson - Cllr Malisa I immediately approved it and the collaboration of the Home Affairs department; precisely because such awareness befits celebrating the 20 years of democracy.
We come together here, as free South Africans. We have crossed many boundaries to be here; not only the legislative boundaries that separated us, but the emotional boundaries that defined our separateness.
Ladies and gentlemen, Dom Pass is but a key symptom of our apartheid history and the legacy of a regime which by overt design sought the impoverishment of the majority of our people, in particular the blacks.
In South Africa, Pass laws were a form of internal passport system designed to segregate the population, severely limit the movements of the black African populace, manage urbanisation, and allocate migrant labour. Before the 1950s, this legislation largely applied to African men, and attempts to apply it to women in the 1910s and 1950s were met with significant protests.
The pass laws dictated where people should live, where they should work, where their children could go to school, based on the colour of their skin. Carrying a pass then was an insult and an affront to the dignity of our people.
The 1956 Women's March on the Union Buildings was building on the 1913 march, which demonstrates that women have been active in South African politics and the struggle for a century. The struggle against pass laws is thus an important milestone in our history because it acknowledges and affirms the role of women in bringing about the freedom and democracy we enjoy today.
The introduction of the new Smart ID Card thus reminds us of the courage and zeal by women who braved the sun and darkness in 1913 and 1956.
We all know that the current bar-coded green ID book has limited security features and has been prone to fraud and identity theft which has affected many citizens negatively.
We have since registered immense progress post democracy with the Green ID book and lately evolved with technology with regards to the beautiful Smart ID Card that is convenient, handy and has security features that protects one from fraud and theft.
An identity document provides a sense of citizenship and belonging to one’s country. It also opens the door to employment, services offered by government, banks and many other service providers.
Without necessarily using political connotations, as the government of the day we have a good story to tell which can be easily related to by every member of the society. We are pleased that in our mist we have a combination of the young and the old but most importantly the struggle icons who will resource the round table discussions by sharing a story that has shaped the country.
The round table discussions will help us to further educate other community members about achievements made in the 20 years of democracy. Importantly, the struggle icons will also relate their story with regards to challenges that they have to confront prior and post 1994 which serve as a rich history that must never be forgotten.
As we go to the elections on the 7th May 2014 we must be cognizant of these achievements and vote wisely. Let history be the guiding tool in this regard. The ANC is the only organisation that has far proved beyond reasonable doubt that it cares for South African people and the manifesto speaks volume in this regard.
I must hasten to say, though we have made strides to turn the tide more still need to be done in order to realise total liberation of our people. And together we shall prosper.
In conclusion, let me take this opportunity to thank the officials who made this event possible in particular Home Affairs because without them we would have not been able to proudly show and carry the smart card ID with the benefits it present. We are indeed celebrating the 20 Years in a Free, Democratic and Safer South Africa.
As I said earlier together we can do more and history is the best guiding tool to move South Africa Forward.
I thank you