President Cyril Ramaphosa's wish for his 71st birthday
President Cyril Ramaphosa may have spent his 71st birthday with his sleeves rolled up, doing work and with little time to receive gifts or enjoy some cake, but it does not mean he does not have a birthday wish.
“To continue with the progress being made in rolling back unemployment, dealing with crime, and the various reforms that are currently under way. Basically, put all irons in the fire," said Ramaphosa through Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya.
Well wishes have been pouring in for the head of state, who celebrated his birthday on Friday.
Ramaphosa on Thursday announced that the government has filed a referral to the International Criminal Court for an investigation into alleged war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza. He made the announcement at the conclusion of his state visit to Qatar.
“The president has spent most of his day working and in meetings, to the discomfort of his family, because they have been unable to celebrate the day with him, except for a brief moment he shared with his grandchildren who sang him a happy birthday,” Magwenya told TimesLIVE
On Friday night Ramaphosa will be attending the SMME Awards at the Indaba Hotel in Fourways.
Ramaphosa has received special messages from ordinary South Africans and people from all walks of life, including Namibian president Hage Geingob.
Geingob said: "Today is the day on which you were born 71 years ago. As the leader of the Republic of South Africa, the day also resonates with us as your neighbours. Indeed, our geography makes us neighbours.
"More important, we are bound by a history of camaraderie forged in the shared struggle of triumph against the brutality of apartheid. Therefore your birthday takes on a special meaning as my personal friend, a comrade and friend of the people of Namibia.
"I know that you will not heed the advice of your elder brother. I know you as a hard worker, but I encourage you to take time off today to rest."
Magwenya said despite juggling an incredibly demanding schedule, Ramaphosa was “feeling upbeat and energetic and as always, consumed with work” on his special day.
The plan was to have Ramaphosa on SABC’s Ukhozi FM and Metro FM, but this couldn't happen due to the tight nature of Friday’s schedule, he said.
“The presenters were just going to wish him a happy birthday on air. There’s been no time today to receive gifts and enjoy cake.”
Magwenya said he hopes the president will get a time over the weekend to celebrate his special day with his family.
Last year’s birthday celebrations were filled with surprises and began while Ramaphosa was participating in the G20 Leaders Summit in Bali, Indonesia. The first treat he received was when he walked into his hotel suite to find a chocolate cake, side plates and a knife on the table, along with a waiting delegation of formally dressed staff led in song by international relations minister Naledi Pandor.
Another surprise awaited him on his flight back to South Africa after the presidential jet Inkwazi made a routine stop in Colombo, Sri Lanka, to refuel. The president of Sri Lanka and other senior officials from the air force surprised the president with a dinner, hospitality and dance show in honour of his 70th birthday.
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