Let the legacy of Covid-19 be that it brought us closer together as a nation: Ramaphosa

21 March 2020 - 14:07 By TimesLIVE
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on SA to play its part in halting the spread of the coronavirus. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on SA to play its part in halting the spread of the coronavirus. File photo.
Image: Esa Alexander

As SA celebrated Human Rights Day on Saturday, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the nation to play its part in halting the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that the country's economy recovers from the effects of the global pandemic.

“We observe Human Rights Day at an extraordinary time for our country and the world, as we battle to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.

“The threat posed by this formidable adversary has compelled us to take unprecedented steps to protect the most fundamental human right of all, and that is the right to life,” Ramaphosa said in his Human Rights Day message.  

He called on South Africans to use the day for reflection and to unite behind the national effort to minimise the rapid spread of and, ultimately, combat the coronavirus pandemic.

He added that, regrettably, the country could not observe Human Rights Day as it usually did by gathering in large numbers due to the prohibition of gatherings of more than 100 people.   

“This disruption is one of many necessary interventions we need to embrace as our nation sets out to meet a challenge that calls for unity, social solidarity and personal discipline among all South Africans.

“The right to life, to health and to economic activity is under threat from a virus that has necessitated that we dramatically alter our behaviour as a nation. It further demands us to look at ourselves and the world around us in ways we have not imagined,” Ramaphosa added.

The president said that South Africans could draw great strength from the way in which they have pulled together as a nation; working together closely with all sectors of society.

“If this coronavirus is to leave any positive legacy, let it be that it brought all of us closer together not just for survival in this moment but for our future together as a nation that is destined to overcome this challenge,” Ramaphosa said.


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