05 December 2004
The government has called on all citizens to become volunteers and assist in improving poor communities' lives.
Today marks International Volunteer Day, which the Western Cape commemorated with a rally at Lang Stadium.
Speaking on behalf of Social Development Minister Zola Skweyiya, MEC for Social Services and Poverty Alleviation Kholeka Mqulwana, explained that volunteerism was important to develop and grow the country.
"Volunteerism is a key contributor to strengthening the people's contract for a better life for all," said Minister Skweyiya.
Government also launched the National Youth Solidarity Week to be held annually from 5 to 12 December, to promote volunteerism among all South Africans.
It will also be used to honour all those who selflessly volunteer their time and energy to make a change in the lives of others.
Mqulwana paid tribute to volunteers especially those who worked in the field of HIV and AIDS, "They are optimising our country's limited resources, saving lives and instilling the sense of dying with dignity," she said.
Today's event is commemorated under the theme "Celebrating Ten Years of Freedom through Volunteerism," kointly organized by the Department of Social Development, United Nations Volunteers and Volunteers South Africa.
Ms Ruby Sandhu-Rojon, head of the UN Volunteers in Africa, highlighted the country's history of volunteerism, "I'm very impressed by the spirit of Ubuntu present here, the country really has an incredible history of volunteerism," she said.
In the last 10 years, UNV deployed about 300 people to South Africa to assist in various social capacities.