Deputy President David Mabuza has delivered the 2021 Christmas message to the country on Friday, 24 December 2021.
Here is the Deputy President’s Address:
We have come to the end of another challenging year owing to our prolonged fight against the coronavirus, which has also compounded slow economic growth and deepened economic hardships for businesses and households.
Therefore as we rebuild the economy to improve our livelihoods, we do so aware of our commitment to creating a better life for all South Africans.
The prevailing environment dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the global response to it, is bringing to the fore, both challenges and opportunities that collectively have changed how we do things, how we structure our lives, how we work, how we worship, as well as how we interact and conduct business.
These changes demand on everyone’s part, more ingenuity and adaptiveness as we live alongside the virus.
To date, we have demonstrated our ability to adapt and innovate as we did with the recently held elections of our local representatives, whose task is providing essential services to our communities.
Through the recent elections, we confirmed that even under extra-ordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, we do act with courage in making our voices heard.
We communicated to the world that, to us, no adversity is greater than our treasured right to exercise the constitutionally entrenched right to vote for the government of our choice.
In the face of a devastating pandemic, we made a bold statement that we remain committed to building our country as a beacon of democracy and freedom.
For those of us in government, these elections and their outcome, offer a new opportunity to do things differently, to set our priorities right, and to deliver with speed better services to the people.
During our last Christmas message, the mood in the country was subdued, and the situation we were finding ourselves in, possibly hopeless.
We went into the festive season, grappling with a virus we knew little about in terms of how best to respond to its devastating effects.
We were gripped by fear and uncertainty.
Since then our knowledge of this COVID-19 pandemic has improved.
We are in a far better situation than we were last season, as a result of the development of vaccines to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities.
Despite cumulative cases of new infections and the recorded fatalities since the last festive season, we have made progress in sailing through the difficult period of the coronavirus pandemic.
Through collaborative work and international solidarity, scientists continue to excellently and timeously make discoveries that benefit the world in taking science-based decisions that place us in a better position to defeat Covid-19.
We thank President Cyril Ramaphosa for all his efforts in securing us the much needed doses of vaccines.
While we continue to work hard to prevent the loss of lives, the increasing number of recoveries at the country level, bears testimony to this scientific progress as well as our level of preparedness for this fight.
We salute all those who have chosen the path of vaccinating against the virus. Equally, we thank all the healthcare workers, COVID-19 Vaccines ambassadors, sports men and women, and artists who were in the frontline of vaccination campaigns to encourage their fans to do the right thing for all our sake.
With their action we have edged closer to reclaiming our normal lives and freedoms, free of restrictions imposed on us by coronavirus.
We encourage those who are still sceptical of COVID-19 vaccines and their efficacy, to rethink their position in order to ensure that we move forward, and together we defeat this virus.
Vaccination remains an important tool to contain the negative impacts of the COVID-19 that continues to surge across the world.
Christmas is a time for love, hope and giving. We regret that some amongst us have lost their loved ones. In the same vein, others have had the most challenging two years of their lives as a result of loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We know how painful this may be.
We are conscious of how such adversity may shatter our hopes and dreams for a better life.
In some instances, this resulted in forgoing some of our unique and treasured traditions that define the very being of each and every one of our families and friendships.
Even in such situations, we remain a caring nation whose character, means being our neighbour’s keeper.
That is why we are touched by the generosity of spirit by individuals and communities who reach out in our hour of despair, to help by among others, providing shelter, food and clothing to those in need.
We implore our fellow compatriots to build on this human virtue, and continue with many other acts of Ubuntu and generosity that define our very being.
It is such and similar actions that contribute to nation building.
We also dedicated the year 2021 to the memory of uMama Charlotte Mannya Maxeke. During the year, we held a number of commemorative events and celebrated 150 years since the birth of this stalwart and freedom fighter known for her many firsts.
We were time and again reminded of her acts of selflessness toward the emancipation of women in society and the freedom of all humanity across race, gender and ethnicity.
Yet as we continue to live in freedom and democracy, women of our country are fighting a seemingly endless battle against violence, that is meted by those who ordinarily should give them care.
This scourge of gender-based violence and femicide, is coupled with abuse of children especially girl-children, the rising number of new HIV infections among adolescent girls, new and missing cases of TB infections, substance abuse, discrimination against key populations and all other forms of social ills that persist in our communities.
During this Christmas period, let us be reminded that each one of us is responsible for making our country a better and safer place to live in.
It behoves leaders at every level and facet of society to work together to address these social ills and build cohesive, peaceful, healthy, and resilient communities.
As government, we draw inspiration from the exemplary leadership of traditional leaders, faith-based leaders and civil society in general for collaborative partnerships towards responding to social ills and challenges confronting our nation.
This year, we have collectively laid a solid foundation to strengthen and accelerate our response to COVID-19, HIV and AIDS, TB, gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), including other social ills like substance abuse that continue to affect our communities.
There can be no denying that a safe and secure South Africa is not only beneficial to our citizens and communities, but is good for our children to learn and thrive, for our healthcare workers to save the sick, and for tourism and investments to flourish, and lead to job creation.
Nothing stops us from working together in unity, in building a society that is shaped and guided by positive moral values, care, dignity and respect for human life, especially for the most vulnerable members of our society.
This time of the year is called the “Festive Season” because it is associated with festivities and being together with family and our loved ones.
However, like the rest of the world, we are in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic that is mainly driven by the Omicron variant and its various strains.
We are also in a summer season that bring about extreme weather conditions in some parts of our country, resulting into fatal lightning, storms and floods.
In this regard, our thoughts and prayers are with affected families in the OR Tambo district in the Eastern Cape and Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal, who lost their loved ones and suffered destruction of their properties.
All these challenges should not make us fearful. Instead, we should at all times take necessary precautions to keep ourselves safe.
Bound by our collective, determination and unity of action, we will overcome the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and set our country on a firm path of recovery.
We are a resilient nation that always triumphs. This too shall pass, and we will emerge stronger as a nation.
Many of us will be travelling to various destinations throughout the country. Therefore safety and security should become a priority to all of us.
To this end, we have in all the spheres of government, intensified our interventions to improve the effectiveness of the Arrive Alive Road Safety Campaign.
We appeal to all road users, both drivers and pedestrians, to respect one another, obey the rules and stay safe during this festive season.
Even as we take the necessary precautions, let us hold on to the promise of a better tomorrow, for when we keep hope alive, we see light at the end of a dark tunnel that leads us to a better tomorrow.
Let us all be responsible citizens in words and deeds!
On behalf of the President and government, we wish you a restful period, a peaceful and safe Festive Season and a Merry Christmas.
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