Ramaphosa’s Freedom Day speech: ‘We have known worse and prevailed’

In his brief address, a weary looking president called for solidarity and the advent of a new, more compassionate society.

Ramaphosa’s Freedom Day speech: ‘We have known worse and prevailed’

Delivering his Freedom Day address at a time when freedom is very much a compromised feature of South Africa’s young democracy, President Cyril Ramaphosa gave a stirring call to action for South Africans to unite and overcome the COVID-19 crisis we face. 

He called for social solidarity and togetherness now more than ever, and offered a frank assessment of our nation’s challenges of poverty, hunger and inequality which exist in spite of the current crisis. 

He highlighted the good that could come from the collective trauma we are facing, and vowed that together, we will overcome. 

“We have known worse and we have prevailed,” he said. “Keep our arms locked together in a column of defence against this pandemic, as a united people. Use it to reaffirm our resolve to fundamentally change how our society functions and emerge a better, more equal country.”

‘Social equality must prevail’

He said that South Africa still faces widespread social challenges despite the advent of democracy in 1994, but added that there is much to be proud of. 

“On this day 26 days ago, a new nation was born in Africa,” he said. “South Africa emerged from the dark veil of oppression to stand in the light of freedom. They declared that South Africa belonged to all who live in it.”

“We have made great progress in building a common future in which all South Africans are a part. 

“We have expanded access to health and education. We have been hard at work to rebuild our economy and give strength to our institutions.

He said that the pledge to redistribute wealth and land remained an aspiration that government would continue to persevere with and achieve. He said that while the country 

“We have accelerated programmes to give our people access to land and return it to those who were forcibly removed from their ancestral land. We are supporting vulnerable families with social grants. Our young democracy has much to be proud of” 

He said the gulf of inequality needs to be urgently narrowed. 

“The devastating legacy of our past runs so deep that we have sometimes been found wanting in addressing the suffering it has subjected our people to. Poverty and inequality continues to stalk our land.”

“A child born to parents of means has a comfortable home, is fed and sheltered, receives a good education and has prospects for a prosperous life. For a poor child, every day can be a struggle for shelter, food and for opportunity.”

“The promise we made in 1994 can no longer be deferred. We must ensure the right of all our people to healthcare, food, shelter water social security and land.”

“This is a time to actively work to build a fair and just country. In the South Africa we all want, no man, woman or child will go hungry.” 

Silver linings  

Continuing with a narrative that has emerged during this pandemic, where Ramaphosa speaks about the opportunity to emerge with a new, better society, he said that we must dig deep to overcome the current crisis. 

“Before the pandemic, we were deepening our efforts to correct inequality. This pandemic could set these efforts back by many years. It will take a great deal of effort and resources for our economy to recover. 

“The challenges we faced before remain, even as we turn the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will still have to confront a contracting economy, unemployment, crime and corruption, a weakened state. We will have to find exceptional and innovative ways to overcome these challenges.” 

Call to action

He warned that the world will never be the same when we ultimately emerge from a dark chapter in human history.

“This has changed the face of human kind. It has reminded us of our mortality, but also how interconnected we all are. If we didn’t realise it before, we know now that our interdependence is key to our very survival as people.”

He concluded with a rousing call to action. 

“This freedom day stand united against their disease, against poverty, inequality and hunger. We can only overcome this crisis and rebuild our shattered economy if we work together.”

“Let the good of this collaborative experience of collective action and unity of purpose continue. Let the generosity of spirit endure. We it to the memories of those who came before us.”

“We are celebrating apart, next year, through our determination and courage, we will once again celebrate freedom day together.”

Source : The South African More   

What's Your Reaction?


Next Article

Watch: Checkers staff mourn colleague who allegedly died of COVID-19

A video of staff at Bayside Checkers mourning the loss of a colleague who died from COVID-19 is a reality check if ever there was one.

Watch: Checkers staff mourn colleague who allegedly died of COVID-19

In a video posted to Twitter on Monday 27 April, a group of what appears to be Bayside Checkers staff can be seen holding candles and mourning the loss of one of its staff members who lost their life to COVID-19. 

The Shoprite Group confirmed the incident on Monday 27 April saying:

“Losing one of our own always touches us and it is with great sadness that we extend our heartfelt sympathy to the families and co-workers of any employee who passed away.”

Watch: Bayside Checkers staff mourn the loss of their colleague

Here’s what can be seen in the video

In the video, a group of Checkers staff members with protective gear can be seen gathering around while a woman is on the floor bellowing out and crying at the loss of a fellow colleague. 

Each staff member gathered can be seen holding lit candles.

This comes after the Bayside Checkers had to be closed due to a staff member testing positive earlier this month. 

Checkers closed after staff member tests positive 

On 14 April, the Bayside Mall released a statement on Facebook.

“It has come to our attention that a Checkers staff member tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and the store has been temporarily closed,” it said. 

“We have been informed that a mobile testing clinic has been dispatched to the store and all the Checkers employees are being tested. The Checkers group will also dispatch a professional decontamination company to sanitise and deep clean the store,” it added. 

Checkers said it could not confirm how long the store would be closed but said it would only reopen once the Department of Health gave authority. 

“The health and safety of everyone visiting and working at the centre remains our primary focus as we fight the COVID-19 pandemic together. We have remained diligent in our cleaning processes and through our service providers we have placed additional focus on key public areas such as hard surfaces, equipment and bathrooms throughout the centre,” it said.

Then, on 23 April, it released another statement, saying that Checkers would be closed until further notice for store decontamination. 

“Following positive testing for Covid-19 at one of our stores, the store is closed immediately and the NICD and the Department of Health are informed. A professional decontamination company is brought in to sanitize and deep clean the store and the store will be reopened in consultation with the Provincial Department of Health,” said Shoprite.

“An employee screening programme supported by the company’s mobile clinic is immediately put into place and employees who had close contact with those affected are self-quarantining for 14 days,” it added.  

Editor’s note: The South African reached out to Bayside Mall for comment. Centre Management was unavailable for comment “because of the public holiday”.

Source : The South African More   

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.