Church urged to get young peo­ple to vote

These elec­tions even more im­por­tant than those in 1994, Ramaphosa tells con­gre­gants

Pretoria News - - NATION - KUBEN CHETTY [email protected]

PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa, buoyed by the turnout at the party’s man­i­festo launch in Dur­ban, yes­ter­day urged the Methodist Church of South Africa to as­sist in get­ting an es­ti­mated 3 mil­lion young South Africans to regis­ter to vote.

Ramaphosa was in­vited to speak at the Church’s coastal re­gion gath­er­ing by the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, Sihle Zikalala. The duo spent the week mo­bil­is­ing for Satur­day’s man­i­festo launch and cam­paign­ing.

He said the up­com­ing elec­tions were as im­por­tant, if not more so, than those held in 1994.

“We drew our strength from you (dur­ing apartheid) and to­day we want to draw strength from you. Through prayer, you en­gaged in the strug­gle to get us to where we are,” he said.

“For 25 years of democ­racy you have been the stan­dard bearer of what is good.” He asked the church to pray for the gov­ern­ment and the up­com­ing elec­tions. Ramaphosa said he was im­pressed by the church’s fo­cus on the youth and the chal­lenges they face.

“As the Church, help us to en­cour­age young peo­ple to regis­ter. Help us to get them to regis­ter so they can ex­e­cute their tasks as cit­i­zens of our coun­try and to take our coun­try to an­other level.”

Ramaphosa, ac­com­pa­nied by his wife Dr Tshepo Mot­sepe, said he was pleased that the church had placed youth is­sues at its fore­front.

“As the ANC we are putting an em­pha­sis on the role young peo­ple should play… we want to em­power our youth so that they can play an im­por­tant role in the life of our coun­try.

“Our coun­try can­not be a great coun­try if we leave young peo­ple be­hind.” He said this was the rea­son ed­u­ca­tion had played such a prom­i­nent part in the man­i­festo.

“Young peo­ple will get free ed­u­ca­tion and free ac­com­mo­da­tion,” he told the con­gre­ga­tion.

Ramaphosa said the church had played an in­te­gral role in the ANC from its very for­ma­tion.

“When the ANC was formed in 1912, those who came up with the idea were from the church, in­clud­ing the Methodist Church. The ANC be­longs to you and we can never change that.”

He said that when the coun­try was lib­er­ated it was thanks to churches who never for­got their role and never gave up on hope that South Africa would be free from a sys­tem of ra­cial op­pres­sion. “Your dream was ful­filled… your prayer was ful­filled.”

On Satur­day, Ramaphosa said the party had recom­mit­ted to re­newal and fo­cus­ing on build­ing a party that South Africans could be proud of.

“A good start has been made, but far more work needs to be done to con­vert the mood of re­newal into prac­ti­cal ac­tion to build a fully united, co­he­sive and ef­fec­tive move­ment for on­go­ing trans­for­ma­tion.

“We have also made progress in restor­ing the in­tegrity and cred­i­bil­ity of the ANC. Where nec­es­sary, we have taken mea­sures to deal with cadres who have un­der­mined the in­tegrity of the move­ment and the eth­i­cal stan­dards ex­pected of pub­lic rep­re­sen­ta­tives and ANC lead­ers.” Ramaphosa said that while this was a dif­fi­cult task, the party re­mained res­o­lute in its ef­forts to stamp out de­viant and ab­hor­rent prac­tices.

BONGANI MBATHA | African News Agency (ANA)

THE REV­EREND Olga Dlamini, left; first lady Dr Tshepo Mot­sepe with her hus­band Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa; the Rev­erend Roger Scholtz; Zandile Gumede, eThek­wini mayor; Sihle Zikalala, act­ing premier in KwaZulu-Natal; and Bishop Linda Mandindi at an elec­tions prayer hosted by the Methodist Church of South­ern Africa at the Dur­ban Ex­hi­bi­tion cen­tre, yes­ter­day. |

BONGANI MBATHA | African News Agency (ANA)

PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa ad­dresses con­gre­gants at the Dur­ban Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre. |

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