ANC Treasurer-General, Dr Mathews Phosa, speech at the Chris Hani Memorial Service

10 April 2010
When Nelson Mandela walked to freedom 20 years ago, that single act started a process of reconciliation and nation building, a process on which we are still building today.
The first concrete product of this process was the completion of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in 1996.
The Constitution reaffirms most of the principles imbedded in the Freedom Charter which the ANC adopted in 1955.
Some of the principles contained in the Constitution are:

  • A commitment to a non racial society;
  • A commitment to a non sexist society;
  • A commitment to the fact that the fundamental human rights of all people in South Africa will be respected.

As a result of the adoption of the Constitution, South Africa became a beacon of light on the Continent and globally. We are deeply respected for what we have achieved in a society that was previously deeply divided. In the circumstances we are facing today, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the principles of the Constitution that we all committed ourselves to then and remain committed to now.
We cannot, under any circumstances, allow ourselves to be pushed backwards into a society of racism, violence, lack of respect for Human Rights, hatred, fear and divisive threats.
As a shining example of this, Chris Hani and members of his family lived and died for a peaceful South Africa that we all yearn and work for.

When he died during the Easter weekend of 1993, his legacy combined with the legacy of Nelson Mandela, was so strong that it pulled us peacefully towards our ideal of a better life for all.
For that leadership and heroism we honour him and his family. In extremely difficult times he rose above divisive debates and circumstances and made us all proud to be South African’s.
As we stand here today, we face the daunting challenges of poverty, energy provision, racial harmony and regional security.
In such a challenging environment we need cool and wise heads. We need leaders who seek to unite and reconcile and leaders who place national interest above self and sectional interest.
We need leaders who create calm, who reach bravely across divides and leaders who understand that populism must sometimes be shelved in the interest of the nation’s wellbeing and cohesion.
A death by murder in a healing society cries out for leaders to step forward, who look ahead into the next decade and not selfishly to the headlines of tomorrow and next week.
We certainly cannot, on any side of the debate, tolerate hot heads who, through their words and actions, overheat the temperature of our political discourse.
It might be the time for us, again, to sit down as leaders and plot the principles of reconciliation and nation building through a national debate.

Such a debate can be structured in a way that it allows all well-meaning and patriotic South Africans to make contributions into the ongoing process of reconciliation and national building.
Chris Hani and his family showed that we can overcome any tragedy or division.
Through him we have realized that we can only build this country through unity and strong and lasting partnerships.
South Africa belongs to all who live in it and it should be our goal to leave a legacy of tirelessly building on that foundation.
We should pursue this goal, not for ourselves, but for our children and their children.
Thank you 10 April 2010
When Nelson Mandela walked to freedom 20 years ago, that single act started a process of reconciliation and nation building, a process on which we are still building today.
The first concrete product of this process was the completion of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa in 1996.
The Constitution reaffirms most of the principles imbedded in the Freedom Charter which the ANC adopted in 1955.
Some of the principles contained in the Constitution are:

  • A commitment to a non racial society;
  • A commitment to a non sexist society;
  • A commitment to the fact that the fundamental human rights of all people in South Africa will be respected.

As a result of the adoption of the Constitution, South Africa became a beacon of light on the Continent and globally. We are deeply respected for what we have achieved in a society that was previously deeply divided. In the circumstances we are facing today, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the principles of the Constitution that we all committed ourselves to then and remain committed to now.
We cannot, under any circumstances, allow ourselves to be pushed backwards into a society of racism, violence, lack of respect for Human Rights, hatred, fear and divisive threats.
As a shining example of this, Chris Hani and members of his family lived and died for a peaceful South Africa that we all yearn and work for.

When he died during the Easter weekend of 1993, his legacy combined with the legacy of Nelson Mandela, was so strong that it pulled us peacefully towards our ideal of a better life for all.
For that leadership and heroism we honour him and his family. In extremely difficult times he rose above divisive debates and circumstances and made us all proud to be South African’s.
As we stand here today, we face the daunting challenges of poverty, energy provision, racial harmony and regional security.
In such a challenging environment we need cool and wise heads. We need leaders who seek to unite and reconcile and leaders who place national interest above self and sectional interest.
We need leaders who create calm, who reach bravely across divides and leaders who understand that populism must sometimes be shelved in the interest of the nation’s wellbeing and cohesion.
A death by murder in a healing society cries out for leaders to step forward, who look ahead into the next decade and not selfishly to the headlines of tomorrow and next week.
We certainly cannot, on any side of the debate, tolerate hot heads who, through their words and actions, overheat the temperature of our political discourse.
It might be the time for us, again, to sit down as leaders and plot the principles of reconciliation and nation building through a national debate.

Such a debate can be structured in a way that it allows all well-meaning and patriotic South Africans to make contributions into the ongoing process of reconciliation and national building.
Chris Hani and his family showed that we can overcome any tragedy or division.
Through him we have realized that we can only build this country through unity and strong and lasting partnerships.
South Africa belongs to all who live in it and it should be our goal to leave a legacy of tirelessly building on that foundation.
We should pursue this goal, not for ourselves, but for our children and their children.

Chris Hani Institute Frontier Theme