Inspired by the Springboks, President Cyril Ramaphosa asks SA to unify

04 November 2019 - 08:23 By timeslive
Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi lifting the Webb Ellis Cup at Yokohama Stadium in Japan on Saturday filled President Cyril Ramaphosa 'with great pride'.
Springbok captain Siyamthanda Kolisi lifting the Webb Ellis Cup at Yokohama Stadium in Japan on Saturday filled President Cyril Ramaphosa 'with great pride'.
Image: REUTERS/Kiyoshi Ota

South Africans are being encouraged to build on Rugby World Cup (RWC) fever by ensuring SA becomes a nation that offers equal opportunity to all, regardless of race, gender or social circumstances, with respect for human rights.

“Over the past 25 years, we have been working together to build that nation. And while this is still very much a work in progress, we are firmly on the path to unite, renew and transform our society,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.

“The spectre of racism, sexism, tribalism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of intolerance has on occasion taken root in our society and has blindsided us as we strive towards our national objective of creating a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, prosperous and tolerant society.

“But we have always come back, even when we stood at the brink of tipping over. Saturday was a triumphant day as it confirmed what we are as a nation, firm in its resolve to find unity in its diversity, as exemplified in our national rugby team which is transforming beautifully, being presented to the world with its first black captain.”

Ramaphosa said the outpouring of support for the Springboks on the road to the final again showed the immense potential of sport to unite South Africans.

” ... We momentarily forgot our woes (on Saturday). And now, our sails swelled by the wind of victory, our pride must not deflate, our euphoria must not dissipate and our optimism must endure. Let the goodwill brought by our success at Yokohama inspire us to put our collective shoulder to the wheel as we confront our economic, political and social challenges together — and overcome them.

“There is much more that we need to do to make this a country where the black child and the white child can attain the heights they always dream of. We must do more to foster social cohesion in our society.”

He proposed that media commission more content that reflects the values of tolerance and multiculturalism. Leaders of faith organisations, traditional bodies, political parties, cultural organisations, sports organisations and business bodies should all work together to foster a more inclusive and cohesive society. And public sports and recreation facilities must be better resourced, especially in rural areas, so that young men and women who cherish dreams of sporting success attain their goals.

“More than ever, we need to be single-minded in our determination to build an economy that can benefit all our people.”

This week, SA will host an investment conference attended by more than 1,500 investors and business people, as part of an ambitious drive to entice finance to the country.

“To mobilise the investment we need requires massive effort from us all,” said Ramaphosa.