Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com
President Jacob Zuma will on Saturday lead the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.
This is an important milestone of one of the most internationally acclaimed, progressive and transformative constitutions in the world.
The President is expected to address the commemoration at the George Thabe Sports Ground in Sharpeville, Gauteng.
This year marks 20 years since the signing into law of the Constitution by the late former President Nelson Mandela in Sharpeville on 10 December 1996.
The signing of the Constitution was a commemorative gesture in remembrance of the people who died during a peaceful demonstration against the vicious pass laws on 21 March 1960.
The commemoration will be held under the theme « Celebrating 20 years of the Constitution – transforming society and uniting the nation ».
« South Africa is renowned for its commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, locally and globally. We should be proud of this important milestone and reflect on the gains attained by our constitutional democracy for the past 20 years.
« Our Constitution helps us heal the divisions of the past, and pave the way forward for a democratic open society, » said President Zuma
Saturday, 10 December, is also International Human Rights Day.
The President said the Constitution, which has its foundation in the Freedom Charter, proclaims that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
« Our democracy is functional, solid and stable, » said the President.
The country has in recent months witnessed racism in different parts and the Constitution is one of the laid foundations for a long-term programme of building a non-racial society.
President Zuma has called for the promotion of inclusion and a non-racial society to make South Africa a better place for all who live in it.
President Zuma has encouraged the people of South Africa to respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the country in order to unite the people, end apartheid laws, and facilitate change in political, economic and social relations in the country.
The event will commence with the signing of a pledge by the President and other dignitaries at the Constitution Square at the Vereeniging Civic Centre, followed by the laying of wreaths at the Sharpeville Memorial Site. The President will then address members of the community.
President Zuma, who will officiate in his capacity as Head of State, is scheduled to be accompanied by the head of the judiciary Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and the heads of the legislature, the speaker of the National Assembly, Baleka Mbethe and chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Thandi Modise.