Address by President Nelson Mandela at a mass rally in Giyani

10 September 1996

The Premier of the Northern Province, Mr Ngoako Ramathlodi,
The Mayor of Giyani and Councillors,
Members of the Provincial Legislature,
People of Giyani,
Ladies and gentlemen

It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to be with the people of Giyani and the Northern Province. It is also encouraging to see and hear what is happening in this region.

In April 1994 and again in November 1995 the people of the Northern Province voted for a better life for all. We have come to Giyani today to witness how the people of the province, through a partnership of Government, business and communities, have been working to achieve this goal.

This province was one of the worst affected by the legacy of apartheid. It was treated mainly as a source of labour for other areas of the country. It was denied resources and subjected to bantustan terror.

Addressing the legacy of that neglect is not something that government can do on its own. Gencor's participation in improving health care and education delivery is a shining example of what business can do. They have not only contributed financially, but they have also worked together with the provincial government and local communities in planning and implementing this R20 million project.

The six schools we opened today will accommodate more than three and a half thousand children who will no longer be squeezed into collapsing classrooms. Over one hundred thousand people of this province will be in easy reach of primary health care.

These achievements should inspire us as we face the challenge of providing health and educational facilities for many, many more of the people of the Northern Province. The partnership of Government, business and communities is part of the RDP development strategy for the building of schools, clinics, hospitals, houses, and roads and for the provision of water to improve our people's lives. With local government now in place there are many more opportunities for us to join hands to improve our lives.

Such as partnership is also the key to combating crime. We are happy that the Northern Province is suffering less from crime than some other parts of the country. We commend the people and the Government of this province for their achievement, but we should not rest there.

The fight against crime is one of government's top priorities. The Ministry of Safety and Security is now implementing plans that will arrest the spread of this epidemic. Parliament is working on legislation that will further strengthen the hand of the security forces. We will stop at nothing to crush this menace and, with the support of communities, the battle will be won.

In addition to severe poverty, the Northern Province, like the Eastern Cape, also inherited a public service from the previous bantustan and provincial administrations that was much too large. Through negotiations we must find joint solutions to this problem. We are pleased to note that although this has generated some anxiety, civil servants in this province continue to discharge their duties and render the essential services to our people.

There is, however, a lot that remains to be done. The relationship between civil servants and the public must reflect the new democratic order. People must feel that those who work for the state are their servants and that they can trust them with their future.

I would like to assure all those concerned that getting the public service to its right size will be implemented in the most sensitive way possible. We are determined to avoid swelling the ranks of the unemployment in a province in which the civil service was the main source of employment. But the solution lies in creating alternative job opportunities.

For that reason this province has been incorporated into the broad national growth points strategy. The transfer of Government administration does not mean that Giyani will degenerate. The Maputo Corridor is one of the projects that will place this area on a development path. Jobs will not only be created during the construction stages, but will continue to do so as the corridor develops. Discussions are continuing with Zimbabwe to start joint projects near our joint border.

The reconstruction of this province is in our hands. To continue harping on the past policies which caused the problems will not lead to improvements. Let us roll up our sleeves. Let us use our freedom to develop our country; to build a better life for which we all sacrificed so much.

The future is in our hands. Let us build it together.

Thank you.

Source: South African Government Information Website