Make 2007 a better year, says Mbeki

President Thabo Mbeki has called on all South Africans to use the resources and experience accumulated in the past year to ensure a better life for everyone this year.

President Thabo Mbeki has called on all South Africans to use the resources and experience accumulated in the past year to ensure a better life for everyone this year.

In his New Year message to the nation, Mbeki said South Africans must make 2007 "a better year".

"By this time next year we must be able to say we have liberated more people from poverty, joblessness, homelessness and all the other social ills."

Mbeki said South Africa had both the means and the will to ensure "a successful year for every citizen".

In his New Year message, Azapo's president Mosibudi Mangena said South Africa had done well in entrenching democracy.

But he expressed concern about the passing of the same-sex marriages law.

Mangena said the government should have held a referendum on the issue of same-sex marriages.

"On a matter as fundamental as this, the government should have held a referendum," said Mangena.

He said 90percent of South Africans, "including people in the rural areas, and those from the various faith communities, were opposed to same-sex marriages".

Mangena raised concerns about the levels of poverty in the country and the widening gap between the rich and the poor.

"Everything should be done to correct these anomalies," he said.

He said more efforts should be made to deal with violent crime.

"This country has become a paradise for criminals who are extremely violent and daring," he said.

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