HUMAN RIGHTS DAY | Ramaphosa promises a better post Covid-19 society

'This is a struggle for all of us far greater than ourselves. It is not a fight for our own piece of bread'

21 March 2021 - 14:46
By kgothatso madisa AND Kgothatso Madisa
President Cyril Ramaphosa virtually delivering a keynote address in celebration of Human Right's Day.
Image: GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa virtually delivering a keynote address in celebration of Human Right's Day.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his Human Right’s Day address to ensure South Africans of his mission to establish a better country especially after the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said this was being done through building a new economy that would ensure equal opportunities for all citizens.

This new economy, he said, would also ensure that basic human rights, as enshrined in the constitution, are upheld. These include, among other things, the right to jobs, dignity, freedom of association, safety and education.

These would be made possible, Ramaphosa said, by the government’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan that was introduced after the destruction of the country’s economy by the pandemic.

He said the government’s plan was not about saving their own jobs but was meant to preserve the “humanity” of South Africans who lost so much at the height of the pandemic.

Many people lost their jobs and had their livelihoods turned upside down due to the Covid-19 pandemic imposed lockdown.

Many of South Africans' rights were limited under the state of disaster as the government tried to contain the spread of the virus, which saw people unable to make a living.

In doing so, let us remember that this is a struggle for all of us far greater than ourselves,” Ramaphosa said on rebuilding the economy.

“It is not a fight for our own piece of bread, for our own jobs to be saved, or for our own health and safety. It is a fight to preserve our common humanity.”

Ramaphosa said they were trying to build a new economy that will present equal opportunities for all.

He said through the new economy they were trying to rebuild an SA that was way better than the one before the Covid-19 pandemic.

The government, together with working labour, business and communities must work together to achieve this goal.

“We must become a society that is free from poverty, hunger and deprivation. We must become a society where women and children are free from violence, and where their rights are protected,” Ramaphosa said.

“We must become a society where young people are able to realise their full potential — where they are not doomed to lives of despair and poverty because they cannot afford an education or because there are no jobs for them.”

He said SA must also become a society of equal opportunity for all, regardless of one’s race, sex, sexual orientation or whether one is able bodied or a person with disabilities.

A society, he said, where quality health care, education and basic services are provided regardless of whether they live in a village in a town or a city.

He said SA must also become a society where the land is owned not by a few, but where all have access to land for development, for progress and for self-upliftment and that “above all, we must be a society that recognises the dignity of every individual, and the role of every man, woman and child in building a better future”.

“This is the promise of our constitution,” he said, “And as we work to rebuild our economy and our society, we must strive to make this promise a reality in the lives of our people. Advancing human rights is the responsibility of us all.

“Though we may have our differences on a number of issues, we have far more in common. We share a common goal: to defeat the pandemic. We have a common vision: of a better, more inclusive society.”