Die Stem and old flag are not symbols of Afrikaner identity; they are symbols of discrimination - Ramaphosa

2018-05-24 19:49
Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo)

Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa once again called on South Africans from all parties and walks of life to recognise that correcting imbalances created by the past was the only way to truly unite and build a new South Africa.

Ramaphosa was in the National Assembly on Thursday to reply to members of Parliament who debated his Presidency budget vote the previous day.

The new president set the tone for his reply straight out of the gate, saying that members were bound together by a desire for a South Africa that has confronted the divisions of the past and healed them.

"We are bound together by a set of constitutional values and principles that clearly differentiate our democratic present from our apartheid past.

"Several speakers yesterday spoke of nation-building and the need for reconciliation.

"Die Agbare Groenewald het gesê: 'Ons is almal Suid-Afrikaners, wat hierdie land moet bou,'" he replied in Afrikaans to FFP MP Pieter Groenewald.

"Ek stem saam."

(This translates to: "The Honourable Groenewald said: 'We are all South Africans, who must build this nation.' I agree.")

"That requires that we recognise both the injustices of the past and how the legacy of that injustice endures in the social and economic terrain of the present.

"When we talk about white privilege and black poverty, Honourable Maimane, we are not only talking about the past.

"We are talking about the present."

He said South Africans couldn't build a united nation unless their material reality was fundamentally changed.

"Likewise, reconciliation can't be achieved until the country tears down barriers that still divide us," he said.

"They exist in the minds of people who think that it is acceptable to sing Die Stem and display the old South African flag.

"These are not symbols of Afrikaner identity; they are symbols of discrimination, oppression and misery.

"These barriers exist in the minds of those who would deny that apartheid was a crime against humanity."

Those barriers still existed in people's daily conditions, between those who have jobs and those who are unemployed, between those who have assets and those who do not, he said.

Ramaphosa called for equal opportunities in the workplace for women and people with disabilities.

He said the government had had several meetings with the CEOs of larger companies, where they expect to invest a R420bn into the South African economy.

"This is not an elite project. This is a revolutionary project."

Land reform was fundamental to the eradication of poverty.

"If ownership, tenure and use of this country's land remains restricted to a small minority, we will never realise the contribution it can make to the growth and development of our economy."

ALSO READ: EFF leaves Ramaphosa's budget debate after calling for the occupation of land

Government would also be ramping up projects in the strained health sector.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and National Treasury would be implementing revenue plans for the various municipal crises suffered by almost a third of bleeding municipalities around the country.

It was also addressing crime shortfalls by making several important appointments, most recently a new Divisional Commissioner of Crime Intelligence and a new head of the Hawks.

"It is clear that we have entered a new era," he began wrapping up.

"It is a new era that holds much promise for renewal, growth and transformation.

"But it will only succeed if we all work together to make it a reality."

It would only succeed if narrow interests were put away and pursue the shared future that the people desired.

"Ons is almal Suid-Afrikaners, wat hierdie land saam moet bou," he said again.

"We are all South Africans and we have a common responsibility," he finished.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa

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