President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on South Africans to turn adversity into opportunity in his 2020 New Year message.
“As the 25th year of our democracy draws to a close, we look back on a year that has been filled with both highs and lows, a year in which we measured great progress, but also encountered several setbacks,” the president said on Tuesday, 31 December 2019.
He admitted that for many South Africans, the hardships endure.
“While our economy created jobs, these have not been nearly enough to stop the rise in unemployment or the deepening of poverty.
“Many South Africans’ lives have changed for the better, but many others are yet to feel the benefits of the economic reforms and new investment.”
— PresidencyZA (@PresidencyZA) December 31, 2019
He said that 2019 was also a year “in which we have had to confront the darkest forces of our nature”.
“As a nation, we have witnessed the brutality perpetrated by men against women and against children.
“We have seen lives, both young and old, ended with brutal violence.
“We have seen fear in our homes, schools and streets.
Ramaphosa said that despite the difficulties of this past year, “day-by-day, we draw closer to our ambition of a better life for all South Africans”.
“Day-by-day, we are drawing closer to our goal of providing quality health care to all South Africans, and redistributing land to all those who work it and all those who need it.”
The president said that the government is making progress towards its aim to provide free higher education to all students from poor and middle-class families, and to ensure all children benefit from early childhood development.
“Each day, we draw closer to our target of R1.2 trillion in new investment in the factories, mines, refineries, shops that will drive our economic renewal.
“Steadily, we are rebuilding the public institutions that are so vital to our democracy, restoring our law enforcement agencies, and taking forward the fight against state capture and corruption,” the president said.
“And so, we enter this New Year and this new decade, encouraged by the progress we have made under difficult conditions, knowing that we still have many mountains to climb, and many treacherous rivers to cross.”
Ramaphosa said that the government is well aware of the enormity of the challenges that confronts the country, “but we are united in the knowledge that we have the means and the determination to overcome them”.
“Just as the strongest steel is forged in fire, just as diamonds are forged deep inside the earth’s crust under the most extreme pressure, let us turn adversity into opportunity.
“In doing so, let us each play our part: for upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all.
“By working together towards the South Africa that we all want, sparing neither strength nor courage, we will progress and we will succeed.”