Be like the Chinese, stop badmouthing your country, says Ramaphosa

28 November 2023 - 11:05 By ZIMASA MATIWANE
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President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking ambassadors for South Africa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is seeking ambassadors for South Africa.
Image: Supplied

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants South Africans to be “messengers” and tell the ANC government’s good story instead of “badmouthing” the country. 

The model for this form of patriotism according to the president, is China. 

“Everyone must be a messenger. We must be like China. In China nearly everyone is a messenger — every Chinese is a messenger for their country, they never badmouth their own country. Never badmouth your country,” he said.  

Ramaphosa expressed the wish after listening to inputs and criticism during a stakeholder meeting in Durban at the weekend with diverse communities ranging from religious and LGBTQ+ groups to small businesses.

While he welcomed their contributions, responded to some and expressed gratitude for their engagement, Ramaphosa expressed his disapproval of what he termed “severe lopsided” public criticism of the government. 

“Here, some people have made it a sport to badmouth the country, to say all sorts of negative things and we say we need to be patriotic and acknowledge that we have challenges and problems.

“But at the same time [we] say that our love for this country is much more important than the negativity, so therefore we must be positive about South Africa. That is the only way this country can move forward,” he said. 

To be not just critics but also messengers of progress the ANC has achieved over the past 29 years, “everyone must be beaming the message that does confirm as many people in our country as we have consulted over the manifest review process are saying 'yes, there has been progress but we want more progress because much more work still needs to be done'”. 

In his review of progress made to create a fairer South Africa, Ramaphosa is urging South Africans to appreciate the origins of inequality — the “damage done by misrule of colonialism and apartheid”.

Ramaphosa says the ANC has crafted policy aimed at transforming the economy “so that the economy can serve the people of South Africa”, because “the economy was structured around colonial rule and apartheid rule in a way where it was never designed to include the majority of our people. What we have sought to do for 30 years is to transfer that economy.

“Other themes have been to advance social transformation, to build safer communities, to fight corruption and to promote integrity. To strengthen governance and to build a capable state, unity and diversity, social cohesion for a better South Africa,” he said.

He also appealed for unity in defending the democratic gains made. 

“We have got gains of our democracy that we must defend — there are those who want to get into power and if they were to, which they will not — they will reverse the gains. 

“So we must defend the gains that we have made, because we have made gains over the past 30 years and we would like everyone here to support the ANC for victory.” 

He was confident the ANC would be victorious in the forthcoming elections. 

“It is a victory we are going to get and as the message sinks in, as the message is spread, it is clear the understanding among our people is deepening because they understand where we came from and what the ANC has been seeking to do and doing over the past 30 years.”

On the rolling power cuts, he said: “Load-shedding has had a devastating impact and we will probably see those figures of the impact in next year's economic performance because it has really blunted the manufacturing sector, the mining sector in quite a big way.”


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