Right on cue, JZ lays the blame for 16 years of misrule at the door of Mr.Whitey, the catch-all scapegoat for South Africa's woes.
My comments in blue:
By Xolani Mbanjwa and Sapa
South Africa celebrated 16 years of democracy yesterday with President Jacob Zuma offering a stark reminder that the effects of unjust apartheid laws were still felt.
"Our people still have to daily confront the impact of the law," Zuma said in Pretoria yesterday during the commemoration of 16 years of a democratic South Africa, referring to the now-repealed Group Areas Act.
Addressing thousands of people gathered at the Union Buildings for Freedom Day celebrations, Zuma said the act - which marked the institutionalising of racial partitioning of cities and towns - was still having an effect 20 years after it was repealed.
"Many still live in areas once designated for black people... away from economic opportunities and civic services," he said. [Just like in ALL major urban centres, the poorest people live furthest from the centre - until they move into slums in the city, as blacks are now doing in SA]
"Freedom imposes on us a responsibility to work together in the process of changing such conditions." [no, freedom means not doing anything and letting people fend for themselves. Nice Orwellian touch there from JZ]
This was one example among many which Zuma said needed to be addressed to ensure that people "enjoy the fruits of freedom".
He cautioned that in four years' time - after 20 years of democracy - the government would not have sympathy for reasons advanced to explain its failure to make a difference in people's lives. [and what of the failures of the people themselves?]
Zuma urged tolerance for other racial and cultural groups, saying further engagement was needed to promote common understanding.
This, he said, would stem the tide of criticism exchanged over, for example, geographical name changes, Struggle songs, and the slaughtering of animals to appease ancestors, practised in some cultures. Zuma repeated his call for "a conversation about the true values that underpin our common identity and destiny".
"It will help us to find a common perspective through which we can view the various backgrounds, habits, traditions, customs, cultures and religions that define who we are," Zuma told about 10 000 people who braved the chilly and wet weather.
Zuma highlighted the achievement of 16 years of ANC rule, including building a million houses, and providing education, water and sanitation.
He admitted that "the response rate from many government departments has been very slow".
After announcing his HIV-negative status on Sunday, Zuma told South Africans that after knowing their status they must "adjust your lifestyle accordingly".
Most opposition leaders - who attended the commemoration - spoke against corruption and lack of services 16 years into democracy.
DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said the country should guard against corruption because "corrupt leaders keep the people impoverished".
He also cautioned that the country should not degenerate into a place where narrow nationalism bred tribalism, ethnicity, xenophobia and genocide.
Cope's parliamentary leader, Mvume Dandala, said there should be a move away from a "self-centred obsession with the trappings of wealth".
There should rather be a determined focus on improving education and health and making the country safer.
United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said the greatest challenges facing the country were corruption, nepotism, fraud and inequalities.
"We owe it to those who laid down their lives in the fight for freedom.
"We need to wage a war against corruption," said Holomisa, saying tender corruption was ravaging the country.
African People's Convention leader and standing committee on public accounts chairman Themba Godi warned against using political positions for self-enrichment.
IFP president Mangosuthu Buthelezi, addressing celebrations in Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal, said that after 16 years, the message had to go out that "there is something better than empty promises".
"There is something better than a leadership plagued by corruption and scandal.
"There is something better than poor service delivery and constant excuses."
He added that voters would not elect people "whose hands stank with corruption". [yes they would. They do.]
The ANC too bemoaned corruption, saying South Africans should defend the gains of freedom by fighting crime and graft.
"Defending the gains attained through this freedom means fighting crime and corruption, and volunteering ourselves to work for good causes in our townships and suburbs," the party said.
The Freedom Front Plus said democracy was tainted by the high murder rate in the country. FF Plus leader Pieter Mulder said South Africa was racially more divided at the moment than at any other time since 1994.
He said racism was "easy politics", and "difficult politics" was to make a place in the sun for everyone in the country and find win-win solutions.
The SA Communist Party said the first democratic election in 1994 did not mark an end to the national democratic and class struggle, but had brought a struggle on a different terrain.
"We need to place our society onto a different developmental path, one in which meeting social needs is the priority, and not profit-driven growth," the party said.
Cosatu said a lot more needed to be done before South Africans could say they were truly free.
"We cannot ignore the 58 percent of South Africans who live in poverty, who cannot really benefit from political freedom as they face a daily struggle to survive," spokesman Patrick Craven said.
He said massive inequality had made South Africa the most unequal society in the world.
"Such inequality mocks our struggle to build a free, fair and equitable society.
"Nor can we celebrate freedom when our society is scarred by such high levels of crime and corruption," Craven said.