Speech by MEC for EDTEA, Mr Sihle Zikalala on the Nelson Mandela Lecture
Remarks and Introduction of the former President of the Republic of South Africa His Excellency J.G Zuma delivered by Acting Premier Sihle Zikalala On the occasion of the Memorial Lecture held on the
19 December 2018
Former President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency J.G Zuma
Mayors and the entire leadership from municipalities
Leaders of political parties
Captains of industry
Members of the public
Media Fraternity at large
First and foremost, we wish to apologize on behalf of the Premier Willies Mchunu who could not make it today due to ill health. He was looking forward to this memorial lecture.
Programme Director, in its wisdom, the ANC government undertook to theme all our 2018programmes around both Ma Sisulu and Madiba.
As a result, by now we know, for many of us did not, that the history of our struggle includes men as much as it includes roles played by women.
By now we know, for many of us did not, that among others, the lives of MaSisulu and Madiba are woven by a common thread that includes their life long and selfless dedication to freedom and social justice for all.
We took full advantage of the opportunity that MaSisulu and Madiba, both of whom were born in 1918, would have turned 100years this year. At the end of 2018, we all understand our struggle better as we accord the two icons their rightful place in the sun.
In that way we shall have a fuller understanding of ourselves as a people, and why we sacrificed so much, risking imprisonment and death, in order to be part of the struggle for freedom.
In particular, as we look back, it will be clearer why we need to value and cherish the freedom that we have today, for so much was sacrificed by so many.
The former President of the ANC and the Republic of South Africa His Excellency J.G Zuma worked very closely with Madiba during the difficult times of violence here in KZN.
More importantly, we were blessed with the life of Madiba, and our generation will count itself fortunate to have been part of the experience.
Madiba’s life has been synonymous with the fight for human rights, justice, peace, reconciliation, equality and, most of all, selfless love, compassion and the triumph of human spirit despite all adversity.
Throughout the year members of the executive council have been joining ordinary members of society – the young and old to pay tribute to this gallant fighter of our freedom.
As we wrap up the Year of Nelson Mandela, as the provincial government, we decided to join forces with King Cetshwayo Municipality and Almal Foundation to reflect on the life of this pathfinder of our freedom.
We recall that last year on the 18th July, I was here in Musa Dladla Region with former President J.G Zuma. We visited Ngwelezana Place of Safety where we renovated an orphanage.
The collaboration that we saw on that day between the ANC-led government and various stakeholders to fight and alleviate poverty was commendable.
On this important day we want to point out that as the provincial government we are continuing with journey that Madiba started.
This includes building houses, roads, schools, clinics and ensuring access to electricity and water.
We are using all our resources as government to ensure that we create economic opportunities for people in all corners of the provinces including Musa Dladla Region.
Whilst the apartheid government did introduce Industrial Parks in the homelands, the truth of the matter is that these were created to sustain the apartheid system of separate development.
It was aimed at keeping black people away from major cities reserved for whites with blacks only going there to supply cheap labour. This is the painful history which should motivate all of us to do more to redress the imbalances created by the apartheid regime.
In this regard, the radical economic transformation programme becomes a vehicle of choice that will move the majority of our people from an era characterized by economic oppression to and era characterized by prosperity for all.
Our entity, the Richards Bay Industrial Development Zone, will continue to champion initiatives aimed at ensuring wealth distribution and inclusive economic growth. These includes Black Industrialists Programme, Operation Vula under Radical Agrarian Socio-Economic Transformation (RASET) and many others.
Programme Director, as I introduce our former President, it is important to note that throughout the year eloquent speakers after another have been pouring their hearts out; shared their thoughts and feelings about the man who was greater than life itself.
One thing in common is that Madiba touched each individual at their very core – from world leaders to ordinary citizens; sworn enemies to acquaintances.
This is the Mandela whom we all came to know. There is no doubt that he has kept the world firmly focused on South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal where he voted for the first time in a democratic election.
Madam Speaker - Madiba was only 6 years old when the oldest political party in Africa was formed, that is the African National Congress (ANC).
He has remained a thread that connects us to the crucial political moments – which explains his brilliance of mind. Tata Mandela was born 4 months before the end of the First World War.
At this stage Programme Director, allow me to introduce the former President of the Republic of South Africa and former President of the current ruling party - His Excellency J.G Zuma.
It is an honour to present to you the former MEC for Economic Development and Tourism who is also the former Deputy President of the Country.
Every time I get the opportunity to introduce him I also point out that the presence of His Excellency Jacob Zuma in the provincial legislature when he was the MEC played a pivotal role in promoting peace and tolerance in this province.
I also indicated that JG Zuma played a significant role in grooming and shaping many of the KwaZulu-Natal leadership and building a strong culture of mutual respect and ability to work together with other political parties.
Today the whole world know that through various peace initiatives and bilateral meetings between ANC and IFP the atmosphere of political intolerance was transformed to create a new spirit of open but peaceful competition and cooperation.
When Msholozi was the MEC, he taught us that leadership required courage and focus. He taught us that ours was a principled cause to change society for the better and therefore nothing could stand on our way to freedom and democracy.
For many people Zuma represents the triumph of the human spirit of perseverance by virtue of the fact that he rose from the depth of grinding rural poverty to attain the level of national and international prominence as a confident yet self-taught person.
To some, this is a source of inspiration especially for the respect he commands in the continent and abroad.
When he was the President of the Republic he ensured the participation of SA in the BRICS bloc. He always represented South Africa very well in international forums and was accepted and respected by Heads of States.
This showed the high level of faith and his acceptability as a leader.
His rise to the top echelons of power has not erased Zuma’s touch with the ordinary people. No wonder so many feel well represented by him and do not share the skepticism often expressed in public discourse.
Those who know him well will attest that Zuma’s reputation is that of an honest and caring person and a committed leader who will go out of his way to help those less fortunate than himself.
When he started his term of office in 2009 he focused his energy on building a compassionate and caring society.
His passion for free education, rural development, fighting poverty and fighting HIV and Aids remains legendary.
It with a deep sense of pride to invite to the stage our Msholozi !!!! Nxamalala