Africa | LIVE: Ramaphosa pledges to ‘build the South Africa we all want and deserve’ during address at #SAInauguration19


25 MAY 2019


Your Majesties, Kings and Queens,

Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,

Chairperson of SADC and President of Namibia, Dr Hage

Former President Thabo Mbeki and Mrs Mbeki,

Former President Kgalema Motlanthe and Mrs Motlanthe,

Former President FW de Klerk and Mrs De Klerk,

All former Heads of State and Government,

Chairpersons of the African Union and African Union

Distinguished representatives of respective countries and of
international organisations,

Speaker of the National Assembly, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces,

The Chief Justice of the Republic, Members of the newly elected Parliament Premiers, MECs and Mayors,

Members of Parliament,

Leaders of political parties,

Religious and traditional leaders,

Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

Veterans of our struggle,

Distinguished Guests,

Fellow South Africans,  

I stand before you having just taken the oath to be
President of our beautiful country South Africa.  

I am humbled by the trust you have bestowed upon me, aware
of the challenges our country faces, but also alive to the fact that our people
are filled with hope for a better tomorrow.  

We gather here on the day that the people of our continent
celebrate the unity of Africa.   It is a day of friendship, solidarity and cooperation.  

It is a day on which we reaffirm our common commitment to an
Africa that is at peace, that is prosperous and that promises a better
existence for its people.  

As South Africa, we are honoured and deeply humbled by the
presence here of leaders from across the African continent.  

Your Excellencies,  

We are profoundly grateful to you for choosing to celebrate
Africa Day among us, giving further poignancy to South Africa’s transformation
from a pariah state to a full and valued member of the family of African

We also recognise with appreciation those countries from
other continents who have joined us today.   We remain eternally grateful to all nations represented here
for the sacrifices and tireless contributions by your people and governments to
the liberation of our land.  

Today, we reaffirm our determination to work with our
sisters and brothers across the continent to realise the African Union’s vision
of Agenda 2063.  

To build the Africa that we all Africans want.  

To forge a free trade area that stretches from Cape Town to
Cairo, bringing growth and opportunity all African countries.  

To silence the guns and let peace and harmony reign.  

Today, we declare that our progress as South Africa depends
on – and cannot be separated from – the onward march of our beloved continent

Esteemed Guests, Fellow South Africans,  

Twenty-five years have passed since that glorious morning on
which Nelson Rolihahla Mandela was sworn in as the first President of a
democratic South Africa.  

In the passage of that time, our land has known both seasons
of plenty and times of scarcity.  

Our people have felt the warm embrace of liberty.  

They have rejoiced at the affirmation of their essential and
equal humanity.  

They have found shelter and sustenance.  

They have found opportunity and purpose.  

As the shackles of oppression have fallen away, they have
felt their horizons widen and their lives improve in a myriad ways.  

But they have also known moments of doubt.  

They have felt the cold shadow of a past so cruel and
iniquitous that it has at times threatened to eclipse the very achievement of
their hard-won freedom.  

Despite our most earnest efforts, many South Africans still
go to bed hungry, many succumb to diseases that can be treated, many live lives
of intolerable deprivation. Too many of our people do not work especially the

In recent times, our people have watched as some of those in
whom they had invested their trust have surrendered to the temptation of power
and riches.  

They have seen some of the very institutions of our
democracy eroded and resources squandered.   The challenges that we face are real.  

But they are not insurmountable.  

They can be solved. And we are going to solve them.  

In the face of all these challenges our people have remained
resolute, resilient, unwavering in their desire for a better South Africa.  

Through the irrefutable power of the ballot on 8 May, South
Africans declared the dawn of a new era.  

They have chosen hope over hopelessness, they have opted for
unity over conflict and divisions.  

As we give effect to their mandate, we draw comfort from the
knowledge that that which unites us is far, far more powerful and enduring than
that which divides us.  

Despite our differences, despite a past of conflict and
division and bitterness, despite the fierce political contestation among 48
political parties in recent months, we share the same hopes and fears, the same
anxieties and aspirations.   We all want our children to have lives that are better than
our own, to have work that is dignified and rewarding.  

We are bound together by our determination that never again
shall the adversities of our past be visited on the people of this land.  

This is a defining moment for our young nation.  

Today is the choice of history.  

It is a time for us to make the future we yearn for.  

It is through our actions now that we will determine our

South Africans want action and not just words and promises.  

And there will be action.  

It is through our actions now that we will give form to the
society for which so many have fought and sacrificed and for which all of us

All South Africans yearn for a society defined by equality,
by solidarity, by a shared humanity.  

They yearn for a society in which our worth is determined by
how we value others.  

It is a society guided by the fundamental human principle
that says: Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu. Motho ke motho ka batho.  

Muthu ndi muthu nga vhangwe vhathu.  

Munhu yi munhu yi vanhu.  

Our Constitution – the basic law of our land – continues to
guide our way even at the darkest hour.  

As a nation we therefore can no longer abide the grave
disparities of wealth and opportunity that have defined our past and which
threaten to imperil our future.  

It is our shared will – and our shared responsibility – to
build a society that knows neither privilege nor disadvantage. 

It is a society where those who have much are willing to
share with those who have little.  

It is a society where every person, regardless of race or
sex or circumstance, may experience the fundamental necessities of a decent,
dignified life.  

Today, let us declare before the esteemed witnesses gathered
here that such a South Africa is possible.  

Let us declare our shared determination that we shall end
poverty in South Africa within a generation.  

Let us declare that when we gather to celebrate the 50th
year of our freedom there shall no longer be any person in this land who is
unable to meet their basic needs.  

That there should be no child who goes hungry.  

Every school child will be able to read, and every person
who wants to work will have a reasonable opportunity to find employment.  

As we make this bold declaration, we are aware of the depth
of the challenges we must confront.  

We are aware of the debilitating legacy of our past, nor the
many difficulties of the present.  

To achieve the South Africa we want will demand an
extraordinary feat of human endeavour.  

The road ahead will be difficult.  

We will have to use our courage, wisdom and perseverance to
achieve the South Africa we want.  

It will require an ambition that is rare.  

Like our forebears who gathered so many years ago on a piece
of veld in Kliptown to declare that the people shall govern, let us aspire to a
future beyond the probable.  

Let our reach extend beyond our grasp.  

Let our gaze stretch beyond the horizon.  

Let us – as we embark on this new era – mobilise our every
resource and summon our every capability to realise the vision of our founding
mothers and fathers.  

Let us forge a compact – not merely as business and labour,
not as those who govern and those who are governed – but as citizens and
patriots of this great nation, free and equal and resolute.  

Let us forge a compact for growth and economic opportunity,
for productive lands and viable communities, for knowledge, for innovation, and
for services that are affordable, accessible and sustainable.  

Let us forge a compact for an efficient, capable and ethical
state, a state that is free from corruption, for companies that generate social
value and propel human development, for elected officials and public servants
who faithfully serve no other cause than that of the public.  

We must be a society that values excellence, rewards effort
and hard work and rejects mediocrity.  

We must be a society that values its young people by
creating a conducive environment for them to gain skills and be productively
employed to develop our country.  

Let us celebrate the great strides we have made –
demonstrated so clearly in the incoming Parliament – to raise the prominence
and contribution of women in public life.  

Let us work together to fundamentally, and forever, change
the relations of power between men and women.  

Let us end the dominion that men claim over women, the
denial of opportunity, the abuse and the violence, the neglect, and the
disregard of each person’s equal rights.  

Let us build a truly non-racial society, one that belongs to
all South Africans, and in which all South Africans belong.  

Let us build a society that protects and values those who
are vulnerable and who for too long have been rendered marginal.  

A society where disability is no impediment, where there is
tolerance, and where no person is judged on their sexual orientation, where no
person suffers prejudice because of the colour of their skin, the language of
their birth or their country of origin.  

Let us preserve our natural resources for future
generations, as we work with greater purpose to end the human destruction of
our world.  

On this Africa Day, on the day that our nation enters a new
era of hope and renewal, we recall and celebrate that Africa is the birthplace
of humanity.  

We recall that it was around 100,000 years ago that a small
group of some of the first humans set foot beyond the continent.  

With them they took a sense of perseverance and a talent for
innovation which enabled them to progressively occupy every corner of the

Humanity has achieved a great deal over the intervening
millennia and all by virtue of talents which evolved in Africa. 

Africa is poised once again to rise, to assume its place
among the free and equal nations of the world. We must use that innovative
talent that originated in Africa to embrace and use the fourth Industrial
Revolution to develop Africa and create jobs for the youth and empower the
women of our continent.  

Africa is poised to realise the vision of Pixley ka Isaka
Seme more than a century ago, when he said:  

“The brighter day is rising upon Africa.  

“Already I seem to see her chains dissolved, her desert
plains red with harvest, her Abyssinia and her Zululand the seats of science
and religion, reflecting the glory of the rising sun from the spires of their
churches and universities.  

“Her Congo and her Gambia whitened with commerce, her
crowded cities sending forth the hum of business, and all her sons [and
daughters] employed in advancing the victories of peace – greater and more
abiding than the spoils of war.”  

It is to this brighter day that we now turn our eyes, to a
vista rich with the hues of hope and promise.   

It is you, the people of South Africa, who have spoken.  

With your votes you have placed your confidence and your
trust in the men and women who now sit in our sixth democratic Parliament.  

These 490 men and women whom you have sent to Parliament
seem to have heard the same call that the Lord made to Isaiah when He said:
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”  

They have now said, send us. They have said Thuma Thina.  

You have chosen them to safeguard your rights, to improve
your lives and to build a country that is united, strong and truly free.  

You, the people of South Africa, have sent them, and you
have sent me, as your President.  

Having taken the oath of office I am saying yes, South
Africa Thuma Mina.  

And I pledge here today that I will serve you, I will work
with you, side by side, to build the South Africa that we all want and deserve.  

A new era has dawned in our country.  

A brighter day is rising upon South Africa and upon our
beloved continent, Africa.  

Nkosi Sikelel’ Afrika.  

I thank you. 

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