From Covid-19 to inequality: five takeouts from Cyril Ramaphosa's Freedom Day address
As South Africans commemorated the 26th anniversary since the country's first democratic elections in 1994, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday delivered a virtual address to the nation.
Here are five important takeouts from the president's address:
Inequality during the pandemic
Ramaphosa said the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the inequality that exists among South Africans.
“Some people have been able to endure the lockdown in a comfortable home with a stocked fridge, with private medical care and online learning for their children. For millions of others, this has been a month of misery of breadwinners not working, of families struggling to survive.”
Post-pandemic economic recovery
Efforts to tackle poverty, unemployment and the struggling economy will be set back by a few years by the halting of economic activities for more than a month under hard lockdown.
“Before this pandemic was visited on our country, we were deepening our efforts to address poverty underdevelopment, unemployment and a weak economy. This pandemic could set these efforts back by many years. It will take a great deal of effort and resources for our economy to recover.”
South Africans fought for freedom
Ramaphosa remembered the contributions made by struggle veterans who fought for the freedom of all South Africans.
“On this day 26 years ago, a new nation was born in Africa. The men, women and children emerged from the dark veil of oppression to stand in the light of freedom. They boldly declared that SA belonged to all who live in it.”
Working for the people
The government is hard at work to ensure land is returned to those who were forcibly removed from it while curbing hunger amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We have accelerated programmes to give people access to land and return it to those who were removed from their ancestral land. We are supporting vulnerable families and our veterans with social grants. Our young democracy has much to be proud of, but the legacy of our past runs deep and we have been found wanting in addressing the suffering to which it has subjected our people.”
Unity amid pandemic
The president emphasised the importance of tackling the coronavirus pandemic as a united people.
“This Freedom Day, let us stand united against this disease, poverty, inequality and hunger. We can overcome this crisis and rebuild our shattered economy only if we work together. Let the generosity of spirit endure. We owe it to those who came before us to live the values they cherished.”