Ramaphosa celebrates investments of R290bn during walk down historic Vilakazi Street

2018-10-27 15:56
President Cyril Ramaphosa in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, on Saturday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in Vilakazi Street, Soweto, on Saturday. (Supplied, Twitter)

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President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday morning took to Vilakazi Street in Soweto to show off the township and its successful businesses following a successful investors' summit.

The president led his trademark "Thuma Mina" walk in the neighbourhood, which was once home to late former president Nelson Mandela, 87-year-old Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and struggle icon Albertina Sisulu.

Read: Ramaphosa takes morning walk in Soweto, urges people to register to vote

Ramaphosa was joined by numerous ministers, their deputies, ambassadors, councillors and some of the investors who participated in his summit the previous day.

"To have got announcements for R290bn in one day is phenomenal, it has never happened in the history of our country and we applaud the companies and everyone who participated," said Ramaphosa of a day he earlier described as "most fantastic" and "successful".

He announced at the end of the investment conference that, in addition to the R290bn made, pledges amounting to R400bn had been made.

"Those who participated and those who watched on television are testifying that the new mood that has been prevailing in the country is rising," said Ramaphosa.

His rise to the seat of power earlier this year, was characterised as a new dawn as South Africans attempted to move on from his embattled predecessor Jacob Zuma's almost 10 years in power.

South Africa is currently going through an economic recession and an ever-increasing unemployment rate, which rose from 26.7% to 27.2% in the first quarter of the year.

This translates to 9.6m unemployed South Africans, the highest it's been over the past 10 years.

Ramaphosa said he hoped the "new mood" would in time lift employment levels and ultimately the country's economy.

Reflecting on Alibaba founder and business magnate Jack Ma's address at the investment summit, the president applauded the many entrepreneurs who established businesses around the historic strip of the township, which features prominently in the country's history and struggle against apartheid.

Vilakazi Street is also where apartheid-era police opened fire on students demonstrating against Afrikaans being used as a medium of instruction in black township schools.

Photographs of a dying Hector Pieterson being rushed away from the scene became a symbol of the oppression of the apartheid regime.

Also read: Ramaphoria hits Soweto as the President spends the day in the township

Ramaphosa's morning walk also included a stop at the historic museum, which was built where the 12-year-old Pieterson died.

The president, who described it as "an important place", said the area remained a window into the famous township.

"We just came from Hector Pieterson, a centre that reflects the pain that this township has gone through… the pain is still there but we are healing this pain as we are developing our economy and developing this area as well," said Ramaphosa.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  johannesburg  |  economy

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