KZN LEGISLATURE SPEAKER NONTEMBEKO BOYCE’S FREEDOM DAY MESSAGE
On 15 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster, announcing a series f of measures to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, at the core of which was locking and shutting down the country to effectively implement social distancing, flatten the curve, care for the sick and conduct mass testing.
Freedom Day 2020 may feel cold and panicked as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but there is hope. The numbers of those affected are growing daily. After this pandemic — perhaps next Freedom Day — hopefully we will think back to this moment and recall the history made. We are locked down in our various corners without the traditional celebrations across the country.
As a country today, we commemorate twenty-six years since South Africans took final steps to end the long walk to freedom in that historic election of 27 April 1994 but we commemorate through gritted teeth, with a wry smile and an acute sense of irony, this year.
Several other rights are now, in effect, also suspended or limited. Most obviously, the right to freedom of assembly: congregations present a real risk of increasing transmission of the disease, as President Ramaphosa pointed out in his most recent address to the nation.
Many, if not most, are lamenting the loss of freedom due to the Covid-19 lockdown however the risk is too high, limitation of freedom is in response to the threat posed by a deadly virus. Today we should reflect on our behaviour and change ourselves.
Covid-19 represents a deadly threat to life and to livelihoods, in this sense, it threatens freedom in the most fundamental fashion. And the government is obliged to protect its citizens, limiting civil liberties in defence of freedom.
No matter how you spend the day, this will be a Freedom Day you will never forget. Remember to Stay Safe during this period.