SA Must Build a Country Mandela Can Be Proud of

Pretoria — Acting President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to build the kind of society to which the late former President Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.

“We must treat corruption as what it is – an assault on the poor and an affront to our liberty,” Acting President Ramaphosa said.

Speaking at the commemoration of the first anniversary of the late President Mandela in Pretoria on Friday, he called on men to emulate Mandela as he respected women and loved children.

“We remain united in our determination to end violence against women and children,” Acting President Ramaphosa said.

South Africa is commemorating 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, which is an international campaign observed from 25 November to 10 December, to raise awareness of the negative impact that violence has on women, children and society.

This year’s campaign is held under the theme “Count Me In. Together moving a non-violent South Africa forward”.

“Though we no longer feel his physical presence, his spirit continues to inspire us. It continues to fortify us. It enjoins us to continue to strive for peace, freedom and justice,” Acting President Ramaphosa said.

He praised former Mandela, saying he put people first, was disciplined and a hard worker.

“He taught us to build the nation based on respect for each other, no matter what our differences; tolerance of others, no matter how our prejudices may be; compassion for the weak and poor; above all perseverance in the face of adversity; fortitude in the face of fear; forgiveness in the face of humiliation, and humility in the knowledge that we are all equal – that to be one with one another we have to be at peace with ourselves,” Acting President Ramaphosa said.

He said Mandela taught the nation that the human spirit is indeed capable of triumph over adversity.

“He taught us that it is not sufficient merely to hold true to high ideals. For progress to be made, it is necessary to turn those ideals into reality. It is necessary to theorise, to strategise, to persuade, to unite, to mobilise and to struggle tirelessly and relentlessly,” Acting President Ramaphosa said.

He said only through united action will South Africa overcome the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“It is only through building inclusive social partnerships that we will prevail. And through such partnerships, we will overcome its legacy,” Acting President Ramaphosa said.

He said government was building an economy that would benefit all, expanding both physical and social infrastructure.

“We will continue to make all efforts to equip our people with the knowledge, skills and capabilities to succeed and to thrive,” Acting President Ramaphosa said.

Chief Zwelivelile Mandela called on South Africans to commit to rebuilding and transforming the country so that all can fully enjoy the fruits of democracy.

He said this was the best way to honour the legacy of his grandfather and the collective that he worked with.

“Each of us has the responsibility to keep his memory alive,” Chief Mandela said.

Human rights lawyer and Mandela’s long-time friend, George Bizos, said he believed the legacy of Mandela was the essential worth of every individual person without regard of colour of skin, religion and views expressed.