IN QUOTES | Ramaphosa says there can be no reconciliation without equality

17 December 2020 - 10:00 By cebelihle bhengu
President Cyril Ramaphosa commemorated Reconciliation Day on December 16 2020.
President Cyril Ramaphosa commemorated Reconciliation Day on December 16 2020.
Image: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa has said without equality and fair distribution of resources, reconciliation cannot be achieved in SA.

The president was delivering his keynote address in commemoration of Reconciliation Day on Wednesday .

He said it remained a concern that most South Africans still live in poverty and suffer a lack of opportunities, while the minority live in “comfort and privilege”.

Ramaphosa also addressed racial tensions which flared up in different parts of the country, including in Senekal in the Free State and Brackenfell in the Western Cape. He said these proved the fragility of SA's race relations.

Here are five quotes from his address:

SA is united behind Reconciliation Day

“For much of our history, this day, in our national calendar, has been a symbol of division and conflict. Now, we observe this day as one nation. This should be a time when we commit to ourselves to build bridges and celebrate the splendour of our diversity as displayed in our different languages, our cultures, our faiths and our histories.”

South Africans are compassionate

“During this time, it was you, the people of our beautiful country SA who donated to the solidarity fund. It was you who volunteered to help others who are in need, it was you who assisted with food parcels for the hungry. It was also you who came together to help our learners to continue their studies by volunteering as tutors.”

Racial tensions persist in SA

“Much as we continue to work to overcome the divisions in our society, deep and persistent challenges remain. We have seen racial tensions flare up in several parts of our country, polarising communities and opening old wounds.

What we have seen in Senekal in the Free State, Eldorado Park in Gauteng and in Brackenfell in Cape Town, shows that the state of race relations in our country remains fragile.”

If social ills remain ignored, there can be no reconciliation 

“True reconciliation will not be possible unless we address the many ills in our own society. We cannot build a truly caring society, as long as the majority live in conditions of poverty, inequality and deprivation, while a minority exists in comfort and privilege.”

Corruption is detrimental to society 

“We cannot move forward with the process of meaningful reconciliation if policies around economic transformation, affirmative action and land reform are resisted. We cannot build a society that enables an individual to better their life and realise their potential when resources meant for the benefit of the people are stolen by those who claim to be their representatives.”