President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa needs to play a meaningful and active role in helping to attain the continent’s 2063 Agenda.
The agenda speaks to the need to open trade, end armed conflict, and grow Africa into a stable and progressive continent.
Speaking soon after he was sworn in as the country’s sixth head of state in Pretoria over the weekend, Ramaphosa said his inauguration – which coincided with Africa Day celebrations – reaffirms the common commitment to an Africa that is at peace, prosperous and promises better existence for its people.
“Today, we reaffirm our determination to work with our sisters and brothers across the continent to realise the African Union’s vision of Agenda 2063 . . . to forge a free trade area that stretches from Cape Town to Cairo, bringing growth and opportunity to all African countries, to silence the guns and let peace and harmony reign,” said Ramaphosa.
He noted the country was honoured by African leaders who graced his inauguration to celebrate Africa Day in South Africa, stating this further gives poignancy to the country’s transformation from apartheid to a valued member of the family of African nations.
SA would forever be grateful to all African nations that contributed to the liberation of the oppressed from the pariah apartheid state.
The President said South Africa’s progress is dependent on that of Africa, and therefore the country cannot be isolated from the rest of the continent.
Although humbled by the trust bestowed upon him by the country, Ramaphosa said he is fully aware of the challenges facing South Africa and also mindful of the hope of a better future held by the people.
He added that despite earnest efforts by government at dealing with the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and joblessness, the majority of the people still go to bed hungry.
“Many succumb to diseases that can be treated, many live lives of intolerable deprivation. Too many of our people do not work, especially the youth.”
The President said as his new administration takes office he draws comfort from knowing that which unites South Africans is far more powerful than that which divides them.
Despite differences and a past of conflict, division and bitterness, South Africans still share the same hopes and fears, anxieties and aspirations, said Ramaphosa.
“We all want our children to have lives that are better than our own, to have work that is dignified and rewarding. We are bound together by our determination that never again shall the adversities of our past be visited on the people of this land,” he pointed out, further citing it would be through actions that South Africans will get to determine their own destiny.
The country’s constitution will guide the way even at the darkest hour, he added.
The President also spoke about redressing grave disparities of wealth and opportunity that have defined the past and which threaten the future of the country, adding South Africans have a shared will to build society free from either privilege or disadvantage.
“It is a society where those who have much are willing to share with those who have little. It is a society where every person, regardless of race or sex or circumstance, may experience the fundamental necessities of a decent, dignified life,” he said.