South Africans’ challenges like inadequate power supply, Covid-19, unemployment, gender-based violence and gun-killings could be overcome if citizens worked together to lessen the burden, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday.
The president was speaking in his weekly message to commemorate 18 July which was set aside as Nelson Mandela Day to honour his birthday and the world icon’s fight against apartheid and human rights.
The activities of the occasion take the form of dedicating at least 67 minutes in service of the less fortunate in various communities in the country and all over the world.
Ramaphosa said Nelson Mandela Day was a timely reminder that although South Africa faced difficult challenges, these could be overcome as a nation.
He cited rolling power outages, a spate of violent crimes that has seen several shootings in the past few weeks, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, poverty, unemployment and corruption as challenges that have “eaten away at our nation’s soul and has severely eroded the social compact between the state and citizens.”
“Nelson Mandela Day, therefore, is an opportunity to remember that these problems, like so many we have faced in the past, are not insurmountable,” Ramaphosa said.
He added: “We cannot leave it to others to realise the South Africa of our dreams. The future of our country is indeed in our hands.”
Mandela, South Africa's first post-independence president, was born on 18 July 1918 in Mveso in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province and died on 5 December 2013.