President Ramaphosa vows SA will create more jobs in 2022
President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged on Friday that his government will dedicate its energies to create work and fight hunger in 2022.
In his new year's message, he shared his concern for people without employment after a second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, compounded by the July unrest's harm to the economy.
The plight of women and children were also on the president's mind, along with his condolences for families who lost loved ones.
“This has been a difficult year for our people and country,” he said.
“For many families around the country this is a sad time and a reminder of what they have lost. In many homes tonight, there is an empty place which was once occupied by a father, mother, sister, brother, child or parent. We pray for them all, for those who have passed away, for those who are ill, and for those who have lost loved ones.
We can be grateful for the ability of the South African people to unite in times of crisis.President Cyril Ramaphosa
“Due to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, many breadwinners have lost their jobs, businesses have closed and millions of families are struggling to put food on the table.
“The second pandemic that I spoke about last year, that manifests itself through violence against women and children, has continued unabated.
“Earlier this year, the country experienced the worst acts of public violence and destruction since the advent of democracy. This unrest led to loss of life, jobs being destroyed and billions of rand in damage to businesses and to the economy.”
Yet, 2021 had positive experiences too, he said.
“We can be thankful for the strength of our democracy. This year we held another free and fair local government election. We celebrated 25 years since the signing of our constitution. Our strong democracy withstood a deliberate and co-ordinated attempt to challenge our constitutional order and undermine the rule of law.
“We can be grateful for the ability of the South African people to unite in times of crisis. In the midst of the unrest, many South Africans came together to prevent looting. They cleaned the streets and helped to rebuild ransacked businesses.”
Ramaphosa thanked frontline workers, including healthcare workers, paramedics and other emergency personnel, police and scientists helping the country fight the pandemic and working to ensure law and order, even during the festive season.
He also had a special message for charitable citizens. “I speak of the help given to neighbours to pay rent and buy food, of the community food gardens and soup kitchens set up to feed the destitute, of the millions in donations to the Solidarity Fund, and of the business owners who went out of their way to retain jobs.”
Saying nearly 18-million people have been inoculated against Covid-19, Ramaphosa urged others to get the jab too.
“It will be some time before the world is free of Covid-19, but if we all play our part we can limit the effect it has on our lives and livelihoods. We must ensure that our actions, our behaviour and our decisions over this festive season and beyond do not lead to more infections, more people ending up in hospitals and more deaths.”
The economy is at the forefront for 2022.
“As we strive to get more South Africans vaccinated we must put our every effort into rebuilding our economy so that people can support themselves and their families.
“During this past year, a number of critical foundations were laid for our economic recovery. We undertook several economic reforms to boost investor confidence and aid a sustainable economic recovery. This year we placed our focus on promoting trade and investment on the African continent to ensure that we would benefit from the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area.”
In the year to come his administration would “build on the progress that has been made in ending state capture and fighting corruption. We will continue to prevent corruption and successfully prosecute those responsible for malfeasance.”
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