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State capture and Covid-19: Ramaphosa reflects on 'momentous week'

27 June 2022 - 10:26 By ANDISIWE MAKINANA
Writing in his weekly newsletter on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa reflects on the lifting of all Covid-19 regulations and the handing over of the Zondo commission report. File photo.
Writing in his weekly newsletter on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa reflects on the lifting of all Covid-19 regulations and the handing over of the Zondo commission report. File photo.
Image: GCIS.

President Cyril Ramaphosa says SA has an opportunity to make a decisive break with the excesses of the past by building a society free of corruption and a state rooted in ethics, professionalism and capability that truly serves the South African people.

Writing in his weekly newsletter on Monday, Ramaphosa reflected on the lifting of all Covid-19 regulations and the handing over of the Zondo commission report last week.

He said although the events were unrelated, the pandemic and state capture were grave crises in SA’s life.

“Yet in crisis lies opportunity. We should emerge from these experiences more determined and better equipped to rebuild anew,” he said.

“We also have an opportunity to reconstruct a society that is more inclusive, more humane, founded in equal opportunity for all, and that protects the most vulnerable.

“As much as we did not take to the streets and celebrate last week, it was a momentous few days for our nation. It should remind us of how far we have come and that we need to continue to act and work together if we are to realise the better future we all seek.”

The government lifted the last remaining Covid-19 restrictions, including limitations on gatherings, international travel and the wearing masks in public last Wednesday. Ramaphosa said the decision was made in light of a decline in daily cases, hospitalisations and reported deaths. For the first time in more than two years, the country does not have any Covid-19 restrictions in place.

Ramaphosa commended South Africans and the country’s systems for resilience through the pandemic.

“Where many thought it would crumble, our healthcare system survived. It served our nation well by providing care, saving lives and vaccinating millions. We owe an eternal debt to the courage and dedication of the health workers and many other people on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“The heroism of every South African has enabled us to weather the storm. And it is the same resilience and fortitude that will enable us to forge ahead with reconstruction and recovery.

“With the restrictions lifted, the responsibility for preventing a resurgence of the disease now rests with each of us. It requires that we act sensibly, understand the risks and do what we can to minimise them.”

Reflecting on the handing over of the Zondo commission’s report, Ramaphosa described the state capture era as a different kind of national trauma.

“Its damage extended beyond the ransacking of the public purse, the attempted destruction of our public institutions and the grand corruption that robbed the South African people of what was rightfully theirs,” he said.

The immoral, unethical and criminal behaviour of self-serving individuals in positions of authority undermined the confidence of the people in the leaders and institutions that are meant to serve them. This created a trust gap that will take some time to close, he said.

Ramaphosa commended South Africans for their activism, saying the commission could do its work because of the submissions and evidence by citizens and whistle-blowers who uncovered and reported on wrongdoing.

“Just as our healthcare and other frontline personnel are lauded for their bravery, all who were instrumental in shining a light on the corrupt activities eating away at the heart of the state are to be commended for their heroism and patriotism.

“We must ensure there is redress, justice and accountability, and that such a shameful period never happens again.”

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