Build­ing a proud na­tion

Vuk'uzenzele - - Gsenoneara2l018 -

PrES­I­DENt CyrIl rAmAPhOSA

when Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa took to the podium to de­liver his first State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (SoNA) he did not only out­line gov­ern­ment’s plans to im­prove the lives of all South Africans, he also called on cit­i­zens to work with gov­ern­ment to build a coun­try of which we can be proud.

South Africans re­sponded to his call and showed their pa­tri­o­tism with the mes­sage, ‘send me’.

“They are gal­vanised by a sense of pa­tri­o­tism that el­e­vates the in­ter­ests of the coun­try above nar­row, selfish in­ter­ests. They are moved by a con­vic­tion that to­mor­row will be bet­ter than to­day. They are say­ing they are ready to lend a hand, to build a South Africa that ben­e­fits all of its peo­ple."

Speak­ing at his re­ply to the SoNA de­bate in the Na­tional As­sem­bly, the Pres­i­dent shared with mem­bers of Par­lia­ment his plan to take the coun­try for­ward.

“I do have a plan.

It’s the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment

Plan and I call for con­sul­ta­tive pro­cesses and sum­mits be­cause our peo­ple want to be in­volved. They want to par­tic­i­pate,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent ex­plained that the job sum­mit that he spoke about in the SoNA was called for by the trade move­ment in South Africa.

“They rep­re­sent the peo­ple and want to sit down with gov­ern­ment, busi­ness, com­mu­ni­ties and our­selves as work­ers to chart a way for­ward to see how we can cre­ate jobs. A clever gov­ern­ment would heed this call,” he said. Sim­i­larly, the so­cial sec­tor sum­mit an­nounced in the SoNA aims to bring to­gether South Africans who have the skills, ex­pe­ri­ence and ca­pa­bil­i­ties to ad­dress the crit­i­cal chal­lenges that be­set the coun­try.

“I am con­fi­dent that we can move with ur­gency and pur­pose to forge a new so­cial com­pact, to re­vive our econ­omy, cre­ate jobs, re­duce in­equal­ity and ef­fect fun­da­men­tal so­cial and eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

“We want all South Africans to par­tic­i­pate but more than this, we want all South Africans to lend a hand,” he said.

Ad­dress­ing the is­sue of the ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion, Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa said that the tak­ing of land from indige­nous peo­ple in the coun­try was the orig­i­nal sin.

“It caused di­vi­sions, hurt and pain amongst our peo­ple. There are few in our coun­try who would con­test that the dis­pos­ses­sion of black South Africans of their land con­trib­uted fun­da­men­tally to the im­pov­er­ish­ment and dis­em­pow­er­ment of the ma­jor­ity of our peo­ple,” he said.

The ex­pro­pri­a­tion of land with­out com­pen­sa­tion is en­vis­aged as one of the mea­sures that gov­ern­ment will use to ac­cel­er­ate the re­dis­tri­bu­tion of land to black South Africans.

“We will need to de­ter­mine, col­lec­tively, how we can im­ple­ment this mea­sure in a way that pro­motes agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion, im­proves food se­cu­rity, ad­vances ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, re­duces poverty and strength­ens our econ­omy.”

The Marikana tragedy

An­other is­sue raised in the SoNA de­bate was the Marikana tragedy dur­ing which 44 peo­ple lost their lives.

“Marikana was one of the dark­est mo­ments in our young democ­racy. I would like to use this op­por­tu­nity to ad­dress the role that I played in my ca­pac­ity as a Lon­min di­rec­tor in the events of that tragic week.”

“Notwith­stand­ing the find­ings of the Far­lam Com­mis­sion on my re­spon­si­bil­ity for the events that un­folded, I am de­ter­mined to play what­ever role I can in the process of heal­ing and atone­ment. In this, I am guided by the needs and wishes of the fam­i­lies of the 44 work­ers who lost their lives,” said the Pres­i­dent.

After in­ves­ti­ga­tions three broad ar­eas were iden­ti­fied for ac­tion, namely com­pen­sa­tion for the in­jured and the fam­i­lies of those who lost their lives, ex­am­in­ing the pro­ce­dures of pub­lic or­der polic­ing and pre­par­ing valid cases for pros­e­cu­tion.

“Gov­ern­ment is mak­ing progress with con­tin­u­ous en­gage­ment with the le­gal rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the vic­tims, es­pe­cially on mat­ters of fam­i­lies who lost their loved ones. This must be con­cluded in the com­ing months,” he said.

Pro­tect­ing women

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa de­scribed the eco­nomic in­equal­ity be­tween men and women in the coun­try as a grave in­jus­tice.

“One of the pro­grammes where we have sought to in­te­grate var­i­ous ap­proaches is the ‘She Con­quers’ ini­tia­tive, which aims to em­power ado­les­cent girls and young women to re­duce HIV in­fec­tions, tackle gen­der-based vi­o­lence, keep girls in school and in­crease eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties,” he noted.

The Pres­i­dent also called for a united ef­fort to tackle the chau­vin­ism ex­pe­ri­enced by women in the work­place and other so­cial set­tings.

“We must con­front the so­cial and eco­nomic fac­tors that pre­vent young women from com­plet­ing school, en­ter­ing higher ed­u­ca­tion and grad­u­at­ing,” he said.

Gov­ern­ment has adopted an in­te­grated pro­gramme of ac­tion to elim­i­nate all forms of vi­o­lence against women and chil­dren.

“With the sup­port of com­mu­ni­ties, we aim to pre­vent such vi­o­lence by trans­form­ing at­ti­tudes, prac­tices and be­hav­iours.”

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