On this day, a decade and a half ago, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was formally elected as the first President of a democratic South Africa.
At that moment a new nation was born, a nation founded on the fundamental principles of human dignity and equal rights for all.
A nation founded on the promise that ‘never, never and never again’ would this land experience the oppression of one by another.
Today, a decade and a half later, we gather here to reaffirm the promise of that great day.
We gather here determined to renew that most solemn undertaking, to build a society in which all people are freed from the shackles of discrimination, exploitation, want and disease.
We gather here determined that the struggles and sacrifices of our people over many decades shall not be in vain.
Instead, they shall inspire us to complete the task for which so much blood was shed, and so much hardship endured. This is a moment of renewal.
When Madiba took the oath of office on the 10th of May 1994, it was one of the greatest historic moments of our country, Africa and the African diaspora.
Madiba healed our wounds and established the rainbow nation very firmly.
He set us on the path of nation building and prosperity and made us a respected member of the world community of nations. He taught us that all South Africans have equal claim to this country, and that there can be no lasting peace unless all of us, black and white, learned to live together in harmony and peace.
He made reconciliation the central theme of his term of office.
We will not deviate from that nation-building task. Thank you Madiba, for showing us the way.
I would also like to acknowledge the former second Deputy President of the democratic republic, the Hon FW de Klerk, who worked with Madiba in the resolution of the apartheid conflict, and participated in shaping a new South Africa.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
In June 1999, former President Mbeki came to this very podium to take the oath of office, as the second President of the Republic. He took the country forward as a true statesman.
He made a remarkable contribution towards strengthening our democracy, and laid a firm foundation for economic growth and development.
He made our country an integral part of the continent and worked tirelessly for an African rebirth. Through his leadership, South Africa’s stature grew in the continent and globally.
In his last address to the nation as Head of State in September last year, he demonstrated his patriotism, and put the interests of the country above his personal interests.
Thank you Zizi for demonstrating a character that the ANC had always embodied since 1912.
Your Excellencies, ladies and gentleman, the nation is equally indebted to my friend, comrade and brother, President Kgalema Motlanthe.
He came into office during a period of great anxiety, and brought about calm, stability and certainty. He has led us in a very capable manner and the transition has become remarkably smooth and well managed.
On behalf of the nation, let me express our sincerest gratitude to President Motlanthe for patriotic service to the nation. Motlanthe! Bakone! Mmadiboka, seboka, dikgomo lebatho!
Today, as I take this solemn Oath of Office as the Fourth President of the Republic of South Africa, I do so deeply conscious of the responsibilities that you, the people of our country are entrusting in me.
I commit myself to the service of our nation with dedication, commitment, discipline, integrity, hard work and passion.
There is a lot to be done. More than 11,6 million South Africans voted for the ANC, based on the programme put before them.
We are now called upon to implement our Manifesto. The dreams and hopes of all the people of our country must be fulfilled. There is no place for complacency, no place for cynicism, no place for excuses.
Everything we do must contribute in a direct and meaningful way to the improvement of the lives of our people.
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies,
We make a commitment here and now, before the eyes of the world, that:
For as long as there are South Africans who die from preventable disease;
For as long as there are workers who struggle to feed their families;
For as long as there are communities without clean water, decent shelter or proper sanitation;
For as long as there are rural dwellers unable to make a decent living from the land on which they live;
For as long as there are women who are subjected to discrimination, exploitation or abuse;
For as long as there are children who do not have the means nor the opportunity to receive a decent education;
For as long as there are people who are unable to find work, we shall not rest, and we dare not falter.
As we apply ourselves to these and other tasks, we must acknowledge that we find ourselves in difficult economic times.
Jobs are being lost in every economy across the world. We will not be spared the negative impact, and are beginning to feel the pinch.
However, the foundations of our economy are strong and we will need to continue to build on them.
This will require more hard work than ever before.
To achieve all our goals, we must hold ourselves to the highest standards of service, probity and integrity. Together we must build a society that prizes excellence and rewards effort, which shuns laziness and incompetence.
We must build a society that draws on the capabilities, energy and promise of all its people.
Fellow South Africans, this is indeed a moment of renewal.
It is an opportunity to rediscover, that which binds us together as a nation.
The unity of our nation should be a priority for all sectors of our society.
We are a people of vastly different experiences, of divergent interests, with widely different views.
Yet we share a common desire for a better life, and to live in peace and harmony.
We share a common conviction that never shall we return to a time of division and strife.
From this common purpose we must forge a partnership for reconstruction, development and progress.
In this partnership there is a place for all South Africans, black and white.
It is a partnership founded on principles of mutual respect and the unfettered expression of different views. We do not seek conformity.
We seek a vibrant, dynamic partnership that is enriched by democratic debate that values diverse views and accommodates dissent.
Therefore, we need to make real the fundamental right of all South Africans to freely express themselves, to protest, to organise, and to practice their faith.
We must defend the freedom of the media, as we seek to promote within it a greater diversity of voices and perspectives.
We must deepen the practice of participatory democracy in all spheres of public life.
We must strengthen the democratic institutions of state, and continually enhance their capacity to serve the people.
We must safeguard the independence and integrity of those institutions tasked with the defence of democracy, and that must act as a check on the abuse of power.
Compatriots, today, we enter a new era in the history of our nation, imbued with a resolve to do everything within our means to build a better life for all our people.
Today, we renew our struggle to forge a nation that is at peace with itself and the world.
As we rejoice in being surrounded by our friends from all over the world, we reiterate our gratitude for the sterling contribution of the international community to our struggle for freedom.
We single out the African continent, for refusing to rest until the southern tip of Africa was free.
We recommit ourselves to continue to be an active member of the international community.
We will continue to use multilateral and bilateral forums and relations to take forward the goals of eradicating global poverty, strengthening peace and security and to promote democracy.
We will promote international friendship and cooperation through amongst others the 2010 FIFA World Cup. South Africa will deliver a world class event that will forever change the perceptions of the international community, and also ensure a lasting legacy for the people of Africa.
Fellow South Africans, let us move forward decisively, together.
Let us build a nation that remains forever mindful of its history, of those who have sacrificed so much, and the many who put down their lives so we can be here today.
A nation filled with the laughter and joy of children.
A nation filled with a hope born of the knowledge that if we work together, we will achieve our dreams.
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, thank you for gracing this occasion today.
I thank you.
Pass me the tissue please…this is touching…
Sorry, Zabalaza…. pass me the toilet paper! The ANC leadership still does not understand that these English words have meaning and that you cannot simply open your mouth and read these words that some one has prepared for you with no consequences.
President Jacob Zuma, I have never been a fan of you, but your words today were very touching & i have garnered a great deal of respect for you! Your vision for our country is truly shared by all south africans of all races and creeds. If you do what you say you will you will no doubt be remembered as one of the greatest leaders of our time! I wish you all the best. God bless you and God bless South Africa.
Master of English ….
Master of herd cows and thievery. Nothing else.
Larry if you were black I would have thought you descended from the family of witches and wizards …
Since you are white , let me say “ you are bitter and jealous of JZ….”
I think a real time has finally arrived for the South African to be listen to by the leader of their own x. It has been ten years of doom to demorcracy during the leadership of the other no1 The dedication and the good sense of dealing with the community problem finally arrived.Our vote gave us the opportunity to help building our lovely country mzanzi and no one will come from either Europe and anywhere in the world to create a better future for us and our grandchildren except us. Sorry for those who felt betrayed by the outcome of elections and the results of NPA but forward SA we go
I’m of an opinion that Cde JZ was destined for the presidency of the country. The seed we plough at Polokwane are graciously blossoming, no weapons formed against him have succeeded, his was to be the President of the Country and SA should be proud to have a leader like him in the highest office of administration. Halala Nxamalala
Let us all venerate a corrupt and thieving politician who used political power to escape his day in court. Perhaps, if I were black, this would then make it all OK.
it’s amazing why people like Larry Goodfella bring sthe question of race, it’s a shame that we still have people who think colour makes a different, Sorry for not been BLACK, we cannot help you.
Larry, you are being thoroughly disagreeable now. Shame on you. You are a disgrace to yourself and all those who love you.
Oupa, Zodwa’s post above started with the ‘if you were black’ thing.
It seems that, as much as we try, we cannot help you either, Oupa.
Bongs the shame rests with you, who voted for such a foul and disvredited man.
Ten years down the line you will agree, without admitting your own failure; – just like Manto Shabalala Msimang is now FIRED, which the DA has been agitating for for the last five years. Tens of thousands of people died and a whole nation battled with sub-par service from the Health ministery bacause the ANC will not admit its failures. We now have a collapsed health system.
Anybody see Winnie???? Shame.
I’m sure that I can insult you, using foul language is not a solution, you are badly brought up with sporadic action and a very anti social element to be with living humans. You are disgrace to the society! White crash!
People why do we always make everything a racial issue, I for one, not into politics but I’m really impressed with the new elected cabinet. JZ needs to be given a change like all the othe SA presidents, let not judge him based on his past, after all we all live in SA, alal charges were dropped on, his been proved innocent and let us all respect that and move on. We need to work together as fellow citizens of this country.
Zuma has not been proved innocent. He used the political power of the ANC to subvert the constitution, and used a deployed cadre Mpshe to get the charges dropped, for all the wrong reasons. The DA will bring the law into play and force a reversal of the NPA decision to drop the charges. Of that you can be certain.
ZUMA IS A COWARD AND BEHAVED LIKE A GUILTY CRIMINAL TRYING TO HIDE AND ESCAPE FROM JUSTICE. Do not forget that people.
But why am I telling you this, Gugu. You are one of the idiots. “We need to work together as fellow citizens of this country.” – you say. We are the only ones doing any work in this place, driving the economy and paying company taxes so that you all can claim your pitiful grants.
LOL,True you can take a baboon outside the bush but the bush can never be taken outside its mind. Larry wake up stop dreaming its 12:00 mid day now.
You need to learn that if you can’t defeaf people, you might as well join them.
Race is not the issue here but what we need to understand is that some ppl were born stupid and if they make some effort to learn they might as well die stupid.
Larry who are you to call your president a coward! i wish we were all engineers so that we can think!
i don’t meant to insult you but you also pushing it.
And so a number of representatives of the millions of the backward black population continue to make excuses for their elected leaders.
As far as I am concerned let the poor starve and suffer the pestilence created by the ANC regime because this is what they voted for. I now refuse to employ any Xhosa workers because they steal too much. The illegal Malawians that I now employ appreciate the salaries and bonuses that they receive by being punctual and delivering a valued service.
MR. ZUMA, YOU EARNED THE RESPECT OF MOST PEOPLE IN AFRICA. SOUTH AFRICANS FUFILLED THEIR PROMISED TO YOU NOW IS YOUR TIME TO LEAVE A LEGACY BY DELIVERING THE GAINS OF DEMOCRACY TO THEM.
This debate should be about the speech of the President, and we should not razing the race card whenever we do not agree on something. I do not think it is correct for thabo to insult the Xhosa nation and black people the way he is.
The speech by the President was very good and he promises to deliver on real issues which are very important to all the people of South Africa. I personally voted for the ANC because it’s manifesto spoke on issues of concern to me and many other South Africans.
people like thabo and larry should not be debating if their interest is on insulting other people an not contribute to the question at hand.
I would like to wish the new President(proudly My President) and his cabinet good luck and I am confident that they will not let us(the people of South Africa) down.
I have been in Union Building the Day JZ was innaurageted as the state president of the Republic, I, my self, Magezi Gift Mashele, do hereby make and oath and say:
(1)To all South African JZ will be a good leader. Give him a chance.
(2)JZ is fully aware and understands our problems as we are the citizens of this country.
With respect,I wish to point out that the President is not fulfuling his promise.He is not keeping his word, just look at how many white S.A. are unabel to find employment,even thouh thay have the qualifications! How many are having to go elsware because of discrimanation against there colour. Then there are all the other issues that; at this stage is just a pipedream.
Dear Sir,Mr President,I beilieve that if you raise your hands and ask the Lord above for assistance instead of some mashine guns he will,if he wants to in Jesus name.
Looking forword to 2010 to see if you have had a change in mind.
Let me say once again, Zuma is still a good leader. But the only problem he does so far and his cohorts they outsted Julius Malema in the ANC. Please Mr President bring back our youth leader, i.e Mr Julius Malema and other comrades. Assuradely I can guarantee you My vote as long as you can bring back my leader, Juju.