Address by Nelson Mandela at an ANC rally, Vosloorus

21 September 1997

Renewal of Katorus

In 1993 when I toured the Katorus area with Adrian Vlok. I was in pain. The community was divided into two groups at war with each other. I visited mortuaries showing the devastation caused by the hostilities.

Most areas had no electricity. Raw sewerage was flowing in the streets. Many homes were gutted by petrol bombs, and bullet marks on outside walls bore witness to the war. Children were warriors and schools closed.

But today it is different.

On Monday I drove through Khumalo Street and noted the ease with which people were going about their daily lives. The "No Go" districts of the past appear to have gone. The houses that were destroyed now have shiny new roofs. In fact, more than 1 000 homes in this Katorus area have been completely repaired and 600 more will soon receive attention.

I went to Buyafuthi Hostel where ANC and IFP members jointly welcomed. Today if I visit Katlehong, Thokoza, or other parts of Vosloorus, I know I will see hostels being upgraded.

The changes warm my heart. In Katorus I can proudly say that I can see real delivery. We can see communities and government working together to change their lives for the better. Today if you walk or drive through Vosloorus you can see that something is happening. Masakhane is happening! Masakhane is happening all over the country, and it is certainly happening here in Katorus!

National Progress

The ANC-led government has made many significant gains. We can be proud of the fact that every single day since the democratic movement took office, on average 1 000 people have gained access to clean water and that each week on average two new clinics have been completed each bringing access to health-care to some 10 000 people. We can rejoice in the fact that at the moment about 1 000 electricity connections are being made every day and that 1 000 houses are being brought into construction or completed under the government's capital subsidy programme every two and a half days. This is Masakhane!

Our opponents says that we have good policies but cannot deliver. They should come to Katorus and see what real change means. Because right here in Vosloorus that is clear. Through the Katorus Special Presidential Project already over R30 million has been spent to improve people's lives.

Delivery and Development in Katorus

The completion of the new Credi Water and Palm Ridge reservoirs ahead of schedule is an enormous achievement for development in your communities. We look forward to the same success in projects under way or soon to start; construction of the Thokoza Stadium; a new Community Haal and Library in Phola Park; the Oliver Tambo wing at the Tambo Memorial Hospital in Boksburg.

What makes delivery in this area special is the level of community participation. I commend all efforts that have brought together business, government, communities and other stakeholders to get Masakhane working.

I would also like to take this opportunity to stress that the services that are now available in Katorus cost money. For continued success and development, we will have to pay for services rendered. Masakhane also means working together in paying for and receiving services. At the same time local government has the duty to ensure that there are convenient arrangements for paying for services by all sections of the community. Particular attention is being paid to senior citizens in this regard.

We need to find ways of ensuring that the refurbishment of Katorus schools and the cleaning and upgrading of clinics translate into intellectual improvement in our children's minds. I call on all the youth and student organisations to make it their responsibility to in still a culture of "effective learning" in all schools. If we are to sustain and intensify our achievements we cannot afford to have one child out of school because organisations cannot see eye to eye. And we call on teachers to apply themselves to their tasks with diligence.

The Problem of Crime

Unfortunately there are still criminal elements within our communities who are not interested in building a better life. We cannot allow electrical cable thieves to delay the progress of upgrading the electrical network, as they have done in Vosloorus. Communities should not protect these or any other criminals - each and every individual should work with your local government councillors and local community policing fora to help to eradicate crime.

The Government acknowledges the problem of crime in Katorus. That is why an important part of the Special Presidential Project is dedicated to combating crime.

The crime statistics indicate that the level of rape, murder and assault as well as child abuse is still high in Katorus. But even here too there are some slight decreases. The South African Police Service, the Army and Provincial and Local Government together with Community Policing Forums are making steady progress. Let us all join them to strengthen their hand.

Masakhane - Working Together

Masakhane is about accountability. It is about democratic government reporting back to you on delivery and problems it has faced. But Masakhane is also about the active participation of each and every one of you in upliftment, delivery, and development.

Masakhane belongs to all of us. It belongs to you, the people of Katlehong, Thokoza, Vosloorus, Phola Park, Zonkezizwe, Mandela Park, Holomisa Park, Tambo Camp and others. That means that each and every South African has a role to play in making it work.

By working with your democratically-elected councillors you will make things even better in your areas. We should beware of associations which claim to want democracy and development, but which commit violet attacks on elected councillors. To settle political arguments through violence is totally contrary to democratic principles; it undermines the gains we have made. Only those who want a return to apartheid benefit from this.

I am proud to see that branches of our Alliance are keeping the spirit of Masakhane very much alive in Vosloorus and indeed throughout Katorus and the entire East Rand. I congratulate you on this!

The Foundation has been Laid!

Today we salute the people of Katorus. You have seen the worst of war and strife. Now you are marching proudly towards the building of a new nation. By standing firm and joining hands you serve as a beacon of hope, change, and growth.

Like communities across our land, you have helped lay the foundation for a better life.

The call now is to build on that foundation. Forward ever! Njalo nje!

Source: South African Government Information Website