‘We won at the negotiating table,’ Ramaphosa assures audience

2014-07-18 00:00

DEPUTY President Cyril Ramaphosa has defended the concessions made during the negotiations that led to the dawn of the country’s democracy.

Speaking at the Nelson Mandela memorial lecture in Durban on Wednesday night, Ramaphosa said the liberation movement had achieved more than it had bargained for.

“We won democracy and an opportunity to transform our country,” he told guests at the Nelson Mandela legacy memorial lecture.

“We used the negotiations as a terrain of struggle. Twenty years later, South Africa is a better place than it was 20 years ago.”

Ramaphosa was responding to a question from a member of the audience. Earlier he had asked South Africans to try to emulate Mandela.

Ramaphosa said the liberation movement and the apartheid government entered into negotiations because they had reached a stage where they could not defeat each other.

“Because of that we had to negotiate. Let us not beat ourselves down. We achieved victory through negotiations. We should never say we did not win,” he said.

“Through negotiations we defeated the monster of apartheid,” said the man who was in the forefront of the negotiations for the ANC.

Ramaphosa made the comments as there are some people who believe the ANC made many concessions during the negotiations, especially on economic-related issues like the expropriation of land.

He also told his audience that changes could still be effected on those issues that were not achieved in the negotiations.

Referring to the country’s current political state, Ramaphosa said this “is the time to radically transform society, economy and everything in our country”.

He said much still needed to be done because the apartheid government had devastated the country.

Ramaphosa also said that through the national development plan (NDP) President Jacob Zuma has shown vision and foresight in tackling the challenges facing the country over a period spanning the years up to 2030.

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