The president forcefully and uncontrollably made urgent demands on the humanity of the people. He further made an emotional call to historic antecedent of the nation; in the light of Chris Hani sacrifices for the nation. According to Zuma, Chris Hani taught many young men and women within the ANC and the Alliance that personal suffering was the price to be paid in defence of the interests of the oppressed black people.
In their actions, the killers of Chris Hani, sought to sow division amongst the people of South Africa so that they could protect minority interests.
However, the leadership of President Nelson Mandela rose to the occasion and called on all of us not to allow minority interests and the actions of disruptors to shift our focus.
President Mandela called on all of us to honour the sacrifice of Comrade Chris Hani by uniting and accelerating our advance towards democratic elections.
Indeed, we used that sombre occasion as a platform to push harder for freedom and democracy and eventually held our first democratic election on 27 April 1994; on the principle of one person, one vote.
This year we are also commemorating the Centenary of President Oliver Reginald Tambo.
Comrade Chris Hani and President Oliver Tambo are two of the most distinguished servants and leaders of our people in the struggle for freedom and justice.
They passed away, one after the other in April 1993, having successfully laid the foundation for the victory of the people in their struggle against white minority rule.
We also need to remember that Chris Hani was a committed advocate of a kind of democratic transformation that would bring about political, social and economic justice in our country.
He believed that our democracy would only be meaningful if it guaranteed equality in the access to education, healthcare, jobs and housing among others.
It is because of such beliefs that we made sure that the Constitution of the Republic affirms the principles of equality, freedom and justice for our people.
We ensured that the Constitution enshrines the creation of a better life for our people, through the inclusion of socio-economic rights, such as the right to water, sanitation, quality education and health care and other important basic services.
We have been able to alleviate poverty through providing social grants to more than 17 million of our people the majority of whom are vulnerable children, older persons and persons with disability, in line with the Constitution. Government will always make sure to overcome whatever challenges may threaten the provision of this important social security net to our people.
Comrade Chris Hani also advocated very passionately, the need for our democracy to transform the systems of economic participation. He insisted that a democratic government had a duty to build a modern economy at the hands of all our people, particularly black people.
As you may recall, earlier this year, while delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament, I reminded the country of the message of President Oliver Tambo regarding the content of a future democratic society.
The message was delivered at a South African Communist Party anniversary meeting in London in 1981.
He said: “The objective of our struggle in South Africa, as set out in the Freedom Charter, encompasses economic emancipation. It is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the country to the people as a whole.
“To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the roots of racial supremacy and exploitation, and does not represent even the shadow of liberation.
“It is therefore a fundamental feature of our strategy that victory must embrace more than formal political democracy; and our drive towards national emancipation must include economic emancipation.”
Over the past two decades of democratic governance, we have achieved a lot in the transformation of our economy.
We have built a growing black middle class with access to work opportunities in areas that were historically denied to them. We have created pathways for the emergence of black owned businesses in various sectors of our economy.
However, the impact of these changes has not been to the desired effect.
Twenty-three years into our freedom and democracy, the majority of black people are still economically disempowered. They are dissatisfied with the limited economic gains from liberation.
Therefore, it is out of this historic knowledge about the essence of our struggle for democracy that we have decided to focus firmly on radical socio-economic transformation in the remaining term of this government, as informed by the 2012 resolutions of the governing party, the ANC.
The ANC government defines Radical Socio-Economic Transformation to mean the fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.
We want to move beyond the minority control of our economic assets towards democratic, inclusive and equitable economic relations of control and ownership.
We want to see more opportunities being provided for local producers to sell their products so that our hard-pressed economy can grow.
We want to see more black owned companies benefitting from government’s five hundred billion rand procurement budget, so that we can further grow black business and entrepreneurship.
We want to see more young people becoming entrepreneurs and obtaining support from government and the private sector. We want to see more black people becoming farmers or industrialists.
We want to see more black people owning companies that are listed on the Johannesburg Stock exchange.
We also want to see an improvement in the implementation of the affirmative action policy especially within the private sector.
Reports by the Employment Equity Commission each year indicate that the top and senior management positions of top companies remain overwhelmingly white and male.