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President Ramaphosa Reflects on Three Decades of Democracy and the Journey Ahead

by Central News Reporter
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Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on progress in the national effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic

President Cyril Ramaphosa

In his weekly newsletter on Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa celebrated the 30-year milestone of democracy in South Africa, acknowledging the profound change it has brought to the lives of its citizens. This commemoration comes in the wake of the nation’s Freedom Day celebrations, held at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Saturday, marking the day in 1994 when South Africa turned a significant chapter by voting out the oppressive apartheid regime.

Ramaphosa emphasised that, despite challenges, democracy remains the cornerstone that has reinstated the dignity of every South African, a dignity severely compromised under apartheid’s ruthless governance. He described the apartheid era as a period of “national humiliation” where systemic segregation and disenfranchisement not only divided the nation but also undermined its people’s basic human rights.

The newsletter referred to the travesties of apartheid—from the petty indignities of segregated public spaces to the devastating policies that tore families from their homes, imprisoned dissenters, and perpetuated a cycle of violence and oppression. But, it was on April 27, 1994, that South Africa collectively chose a different path—one that promised dignity, freedom, and equality for all.

As the President hailed the progress of the post-apartheid era, he fondly spoke of the “children of democracy,” a generation born into a world where their rights are acknowledged and protected. He lauded their achievements, across diverse sectors, as a testament to the transformative power of access to quality education and equal opportunities—privileges denied to their ancestors.

However, Ramaphosa was candid about the nation’s ongoing struggles. Admitting that South Africa isn’t as advanced as many had hoped, he pointed to recent challenges, including the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the public unrest of July 2021, and the devastating floods in 2022, as significant setbacks. Despite these hurdles, he praised the indomitable spirit of the South African people and reiterated the government’s commitment to continuing reforms aimed at economic recovery and the creation of jobs.

The newsletter conveyed a message of hope and resilience, with President Ramaphosa insisting that the grip of unemployment, poverty, inequality, and underdevelopment could be loosened through collective effort and perseverance. Reflecting on the past 30 years, he spoke of gratitude for the democratic freedoms now enjoyed and a resolute optimism for the task that lies ahead—to realise the vision of a “free, just, and equal South Africa.”

“The 27th of April 1994 was a victory for non-racialism, for non-sexism, for human dignity and progress. Not just in South Africa, but everywhere. It was a victory for reconciliation.” - President Ramaphosa #FreedomDay2024 #Freedom30
“The 27th of April 1994 was a victory for non-racialism, for non-sexism, for human dignity and progress. Not just in South Africa, but everywhere. It was a victory for reconciliation.” – President Cyril Ramaphosa #FreedomDay2024 #Freedom30

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