President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will have the day off on 15 December 2023 to celebrate the World Cup victory of the Springboks.
In an address to the nation on Monday night (30 October), the president said that the victory of the Springboks at the 2023 Rugby World Cup “rightfully calls for a moment to celebrate”.
However, while many expected the public holiday to take place sooner, the president said the date should be pushed back to give the matriculants space to focus on their exams.
The Springboks won their fourth Rugby World Cup on Saturday (28 October) in a nailbiting 12-11 final against the All Blacks.
Ramaphosa lauded the performance of the team, as well as the performance of the Proteas in the Cricket World Cup. This is on top of many other victories in the sporting field.
These victories and strong performances have united the nation, the president said, adding that the nation is stronger together,
Speaking at a green hydrogen summit in Cape Town earlier this month, Ramaphosa joked that he would consider announcing a public holiday should the Springboks win the Rugby World Cup.
This set up an expectation from the South African public that the Monday address would revolve around fulfilling this “promise”.
Notably, the 16th of December is already a public holiday in South Africa for the Day of Reconciliation – but in 2023, it falls on a Saturday.
When public holidays land on a Sunday, the day is moved to the following Monday. If it falls on a Saturday, it is not given a replacement day.
In the case of the extra public holiday on the 15th, it would be a case of South Africans getting the “missed” day off on the 16th.
Following the praise of the country’s sports teams, the president focused on updating the nation on the progress being made in the country’s economic recovery.
This includes developments in tackling load shedding, fighting crime and wider economic reform.
More pertinently, the president said that National Treasury is committed to bringing stability to the country’s debt and balancing the budget. Its strategy will be fully explored at the mid-term budget on Wednesday (1 November).
Ramaphosa closed off his address by listing many features of South Africa’s economy, political and social sphere that run counter to narratives that the country is heading for a failed state.
“I am confident that through the actions we are taking now, we will overcome the challenges that we face,” he said.