Mandela Day a reminder of SA’s resilience

Monday, July 18, 2022

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the spirit of Nelson Mandela Day is a timely reminder that although South Africa faces difficult challenges, these are not insurmountable.

The President was addressing the nation through his weekly newsletter.

President Ramaphosa said that the commemoration of former President Mandela’s birthday - which takes the form of dedicating at least 67 minutes in service of the less fortunate - is a reminder that like the former statesman, South Africa and its people are resilient.

“We are in the midst of an energy crisis that is causing great hardship. A spate of violent crimes is heightening fear and insecurity in communities. Even as our economy is recovering from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, poverty and unemployment is taking a heavy toll on millions who are struggling to make ends meet. Corruption has eaten away at our nation’s soul and has severely eroded the social compact between the state and citizens.

“Nelson Mandela Day is an opportunity to remember that these problems, like so many we have faced before, are not insurmountable. They can be overcome. Time and again, we have been pulled back from the brink by the activism and resilience of our people. Community, faith-based and grassroots organisations have acted in defence of human rights, our Constitution and the interests of our citizens,” he said on Monday.

Every year on 18 July, South Africans and the global community honour South Africa’s late former President and international icon, Nelson Mandela.

The President highlighted the important role that civil society has to play in taking South Africa forward and its role in reminding government “of our obligation to advance the ideals for which Madiba and generations of freedom fighters made such sacrifices”.

He hailed a civil society driven programme for democratic renewal, which calls for communities to take back their power.

“It is a call for communities to organise and mobilise around economic inclusion, social and climate justice and ethical behaviour.

“Many civil society organisations are rooted in our communities and have the keenest appreciation of the struggles of our people. Engaging and working with government to overcome the challenges in our society is what participatory democracy is all about,” he said.

The President added that overcoming the country’s challenges will require that government, communities and civil society pull in the same direction.

“Building a better South Africa requires each and every one of us to make a contribution in whatever way we can. Defending our democracy begins with individual acts, like joining a community policing forum, volunteering at a charity or a shelter, reporting crime or refusing to pay a bribe.

“Let us evoke Madiba’s ‘new patriotism’, where South Africans are determined to work together and make our country a winning nation. We cannot leave it to others to realise the South Africa of our dreams. The future of our country is indeed in our hands,” he said.

Nelson Mandela Day Photo Gallery | 

– SAnews.gov.za

 

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