President Cyril Ramaphosa believes South Africa is currently a ‘unique experiment’, and that in 50 years’ time the country would be a perfect one.
He was speaking at an election meeting in Sandton on Thursday evening, addressing business owners and professionals under the theme ‘Building Bridges’.
Ramaphosa said he believed the country’s most pressing issues were housing, unemployment and crime.
“We are going through a period of renewal. At the same time, we also face a number of challenges that we need to deal with, and we’re not the only country in the world facing these challenges. The world economy is not doing well right now.”
He added that one of his main objectives is to unite South Africans and he is determined to achieve that.
“Many people are hopeful for a bright new future. I am here as your president to lead that charge today – Let us charge forward together.”
The attendees also addressed their own concerns regarding Eskom, state capture and the mining issues plaguing the country.
On the AMCU strike, the president said it was a dispute between employer and employee. “We have said through the Minister of Labour that we want the dispute to be resolved through the labour framework, and I believe the strike will be resolved. We are seeking to avoid this descending into violence and chaos.”
He also spoke about the current commissions of inquiry taking place and reminded people that it was imperative to work within the parameters of the law and the Constitution. Ramaphosa also said that the findings of these inquiries will be issued once the final reports are conducted and released.
“The findings will be released. However, there are certain things that are coming out and are ‘actionable’. Those who have done wrong should be accountable and if there is jail time, they must go to jail.
“Once the findings come out, they will be released to the relevant agencies so that they may take action against those implicated,” he said.
Ramaphosa added that, “The fuse has been lit and we are going to go back to the right way of doing things. We are now focused on ridding our country of corruption.”
The president said Eskom is currently a “headache”.
“Every morning when I wake up, I get a text message from the Public Enterprises Minister [Pravin Gordhan] informing me about the latest information regarding the grid. Through the #ThumaMina spirit, the Minister received a great deal of assistance from engineers who are still keeping an eye on our power stations.
“I want the country to be in a situation where stage 4 load-shedding never happens again.”
Ramaphosa said Eskom is the only company he knows of in South Africa that has a debt of over R400-billion.
On the issue of xenophobia, the president reiterated that South Africans are not xenophobic people.
He said: “The violence in KwaZulu-Natal did not start off as xenophobic, but was a squabble between two friends. Those who are forging a fight back against the renewal and the new dawn will not succeed.”
In attendance at the meeting was Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
He praised the president and said that South Africa needs tried and tested leadership. “I have no doubt that whatever challenges we face, President Ramaphosa is made for this moment.”