Freedom Day statement

PRESS RELEASE
TO: All Media
ATT: News Editors, Human Rights Reporters
For immediate release
Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Although all people living in South Africa celebrate Freedom Day this year, many are unable to fully enjoy this freedom, being unable to access their rights. 28 years ago was the first time that Black people had the right to vote and thus the majority of South Africans were able to exercise their most basic of rights: the right to vote and select their own leaders. This election resulted in Nelson Mandela being elected as the President of South Africa, and ushered in a democratic system founded on a new Constitution that was adopted in its current form, in 1996.


On this day, we are reminded that South Africa has transitioned from a culture of unquestioned authority to a culture of reasoned and evidence-based justification. Government transparency is a vital requirement to ensure that people are able to hold their leaders accountable, and to vote for their own best interests as well as that of South Africa as a whole. However, corruption and mismanagement have diluted transparency and reduced people’s ability to choose their leaders and hold them accountable. During COVID-19, some leaders have refused to act responsibly and with transparency, instead allowing and even taking part in the looting of scarce resources allocated to struggling communities.


On this Freedom Day, the Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) calls for all people who live in South Africa, irrespective of nationality, to show that South Africa still holds dear the values that we all struggled so long to attain, but that not all are able to enjoy. Only when we are all able to live in dignity, free from discrimination, and equally able to access socio-economic opportunities can we say we have reached the goal so many fought so long to achieve.
Those who struggled against discrimination during apartheid can never accept that some of our own people discriminate against and attack people from other African countries; the same countries that supported our own struggle for freedom and who welcomed our exiles during apartheid.


The FHR is deeply concerned by the xenophobic attacks by some misguided persons. Accessing human rights is not limited by nationality. These are shared basic values that all human beings are entitled to. It is crucial that the national responses to the current and ongoing crises in South Africa uphold the human rights of all, and put human dignity, the self –worth of people, at the centre of all interventions.


We are only as free as the freedom our neighbours enjoy.
“Umunthu ngumuntu ngabantu” : “I am because you are.”

Media inquiries: Lindiwe Sithole – 082 634 7154 / lsibiya@fhr.org.za

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