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Eendracht maak macht (Strength through Unity), says Ramaphosa

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Johnathan Paoli

Newly inaugurated president Cyril Ramaphosa has committed to being a president for all South Africans, to defend the constitution and protect  democracy.

Speaking to a gathering at the Union Buildings during the presidential inauguration, Ramaphosa said the “government of national unity” was the beginning of a new path for the country and transformation for a better life for all.

“The formation of a government of national unity is a moment of profound significance. It is the beginning of a new era,” he said.

The President said the results of the national and provincial elections illustrated that the people of South Africa were expecting political leaders to work together for the benefit of the majority of citizens.

“As leaders, as political parties, we are called upon to work in partnership towards a growing economy, better jobs, safer communities and a government that works for its people,” Ramaphosa said, pointing out that despite 30 years of hard work and policies of transformation, division still haunted the country, in terms of unemployment and socioeconomic quality of life.

Ramaphosa said the people of South Africa have stressed that they are impatient with political bickering and the endless blame-game among politicians and political parties as he outlined the need for transformation in terms of proper medical care for all, land reform, community safety and the theft of public funds and the capture of the state.

“They have described a country in which all may rise above the circumstances of their birth, nurtured by loving families, aided by a caring state and empowered by initiative, will and hard work,” he said.

Ramaphosa said that in its diversity, the nation gathered to affirm its solemn conviction that the country belongs to all who live in it as articulated by the Freedom Charter.

He said as President of the Republic, he will work with all necessary stakeholders who are willing to contribute to finding solutions to the challenges faced by the country during the transition to a new decade of freedom.

He expressed his gratitude at the political parties who have joined the GNU, thanking them for understanding that no party could govern and make laws alone, and so have agreed to work in partnership and to employ their talents for the good of the country and progress for its people.

“Together, they have resolved to establish a government of national unity to pursue a common programme of fundamental and lasting change,” he said.

AStatement of Intent in order to facilitate: rapid, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, tackle poverty, safeguard workers’ rights, stabilise government and build state capacity has been adopted by the parties forming the GNU.

Ramaphosa called all parties, civil society, labour, business and other formations to a National Dialogue on the critical obstacles facing the nation.

“We will seek, as we have done at so many important moments in our history, to forge a social compact to realise the aspirations of our National Development Plan,” he said.

Lastly, the President warned against those who sought to divide the nation, undermine its institutions, or disrespect the constitution and said the tie for unity has never been more critical than today.

“Together, we will work to promote multilateralism for a fairer, more equal, more just and more compassionate world, founded on solidarity and universal human rights,” Ramaphosa said.


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