Statement Celebrating Ten Years of Democracy, ANC Chief Whip Nkosinathi Nhleko, 10 May 2004, Parliament Cape Town South Africa

Parliament is today taking part in celebrating the first decade of freedom and democracy in our country.

And as we so, we remain cognisant of the brave collective efforts that all our people put to ensure the birth of democracy.

In the same measure, we continue to value highly the heroic efforts of those who led our people as they worked to reconcile themselves, forging a common nationhood and committing themselves to building a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous future.

Recognising, that our leaders are the embodiment of our heroism, bravery, patience, ubuntu, the features that define our people and country. It is on this understanding that ANC supports the invitation of the two former Presidents, Nelson Mandela and FW De Klerk to address the joint sitting on the celebrations of the First Decade of Freedom.

The objection by DA and ID to Mr FW De Klerk addressing the Joint Sitting is based on the understanding that their leaders also took part in the reconciliation and democratisation processes. This is a shallow and narrow reasoning that must be rejected. There is no denying that leaders of various parties and sectors made valuable contributions in the process of change. However, the two leaders in question did not lead just their parties, they were leaders of the broad contending forces to power, they led the process of change. The whole world, including the Nobel Peace Prize Committee accepted this historic fact.

The real issue is that the forces that benefited from apartheid remain opposed to the process of cementing reconciliation and a further evolution to a truly non-racial, non-sexist and people centred democracy.

These parties allow their judgment to be clouded by hatred of what they call a betrayal by De Klerk of white interests. We do not expect these apartheid forces to forgive former President De Klerk. They forever remain bent on misrepresenting our history and our people`s aspirations.

People of South Africa remain committed to unity and are going to ensure that we celebrate our freedom with even greater vigour.