Master of Ceremonies;
Premier Tokyo Sexwale;
Mayor Mxolisi Xayiya;
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am very proud and honoured to be a free citizen of Boksburg. It is a city whose own history embodies our country's past and its hopes for the future.

In just over a century it has gone from a mining camp to become a key part of the East Rand industrial heartland of our economy.

It is a city which knows the struggle and pains of our nation's birth. Once regarded as a bastion of white conservatism, it was also renowned for its part in the Defiance Campaigns of 1952 and 1988 which helped our nation along the road to unity and freedom. It became the chosen home of Chris Hani when he returned from exile, and the tragic scene of his death.

Today this place of historic conflicts is in many ways contributing to our efforts of national reconciliation. I accept with humility this unique honour, keenly aware that, through me, you are granting your rights and privileges to all the people of the new nation we are building.

In accepting this honour, I do so on their behalf, in memory of Chris Hani and the countless men and women from all communities who have contributed to the transformation of Boksburg and indeed that of the country.

Today, Boksburg has a democratically elected council whose members, from the different parties, are working together for the common interest of all who live here. The fact that it happens here provides a remarkable example to other cities of what co-operation can achieve.

In the end, what will unite us most strongly and provide the surest foundation for our new nation, is joint action to build a future for all our people, regardless of our political affiliations.

We are encouraged by the efforts of the council to house the homeless, benefiting those previously denied access to decent shelter.

We welcome your efforts to integrate different communities in the Reiger Park area. You are thus giving practical meaning to the vision of a Boksburg made up of truly South African suburbs rather than racially-defined Group Areas.

We are impressed by the contribution of the council and the all the people of Greater Boksburg to the resounding success of the Katorus Presidential Project in renewing an area devastated by the violence engendered by apartheid.

Mr. Mayor,

These achievements, we all know, are but the beginning of an enormous task. They should also serve as a challenge to our communities to become active partners in efforts to improve their own lives.

I am aware that the majority of residents in Boksburg have responded positively to the Masakhane call by working together for development and by paying for services they receive. But the improvements that have started can only be sustained if everyone does so.

We can say the same about the fight against crime. No Strategy, no amount of money, will effectively deal with the scourge of crime without the active participation of communities themselves.

Government is playing its part. We will soon be recruiting new police officers. Bail conditions for serious crimes are being strengthened and we are rooting out the minority of corrupt elements in the police and in the justice system who undermine the work of their colleagues.

Participation in Community Police Forums - as we have here in Boksburg - is also vital in supporting and strengthening the police who have the responsibility to investigate crimes and effect arrests.

Mr. Mayor,

Our new local authorities have a critical role to play in making a success of our strategy for economic growth and development.

When we talk about creating a conducive environment for investment, we are referring amongst other things to our towns and cities, because this is where most of that investment will go. Good local governance, including the provision of infrastructure, is crucial to attracting the investment that will help create jobs.

Government's Municipal Infrastructure Programme is designed to help councils meet this need, with R500 million Rand allocated for this financial year to kick-start this programme and more to come in future years.

Especially in an area like the East Rand, no single authority can succeed in creating this environment on its own. Your contacts with neighbouring cities in the Mayors Forum, the Germiston - Alberton - Boksburg Forum and in the East, Gauteng Services Council, bode well for the future of the East Rand, the Gauteng Province and the whole country.

Master of ceremonies;

Our co-operation should also find expression in joint efforts to improve our children's education.

The campaign for effective learning and teaching should be driven by all sectors of our communities;teachers, parents, students and the community at large. The problems which our students and teachers have should be attended to with maximum speed.

But we cannot afford a situation where children and teachers go to school late and leave early. We cannot afford to have school property neglected or damaged. Grievances, when they arise, must be dealt with within the confines of the law.

The launch by Cosas of Operation Fundani is a positive development. The test will be to what extent it helps turn our schools into centres of effective learning and teaching, including action against crime in and around school grounds.

This is a campaign we cannot afford to lose. We cannot afford to lose the future of our youth. They are our most valuable national asset.

Mr. Mayor,

Challenges and opportunities abound as we traverse the difficult path of transition. Realising our national goals contained in the RDP and the growth and development strategy will not be plain sailing.

However the record of Boksburg is causes for confidence that this city will be equal to the tasks ahead. I will always be proud to be counted amongst those who have joined you in building a better life for all.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Office of the President