South Africans on Tuesday marked the 3rd anniversary of former president Nelson Mandela’s death, vowing to honour his legacy by upholding his values and principles.
South African Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa took the opportunity to call on South Africans to strengthen unity.
“It is only through unity, that we become effective agents of social change. It is only through unity, that we can improve people’s lives,” Mr Ramaphosa said at the Nelson Mandela Memorial Dialogue, taking place in Johannesburg.
Mr Mandela, founder of new South Africa, died on December 5, 2013 at the age of 95.
Three years after Mandela’s death, South Africa has been gripped by discord within the state and in some of its public institutions.
This can be demonstrated by declining support for the ANC and growing factionalism within the party.
“While we should be cautious not to exaggerate reports of discord within the state and in some of our public institutions, we cannot ignore the fault lines that appear to have emerged in our body politic,” Mr Ramaphosa said.
He stressed the importance of unity, saying that without unity, South Africa cannot collectively counter the effects of patronage, corruption and the unrestrained scramble for positions and resources, Mr Ramaphosa noted.
“It is only through unity that we can defeat the virus of consumerism, individualism and greed,” said Mr Ramaphosa.
The unity that South Africans must work with great urgency to build should be underpinned by the discipline and principles that leaders such as Mandela subscribed to as well as the values contained in the Constitution and the vision of a free, just and united nation that it describes, Ramaphosa said.
“For unless we have leaders who are united, who are credible, who are honest, who listen, who are inspirational, we will not be able to unite our movement or unite our nation,” he said.
Despite the progress of the last two decades, it must be acknowledged that South Africans have not transformed their economy to serve the interests of the majority, according to Mr Ramaphosa.
“Although we have experienced periods of economic growth, we have not built up an industrial base of the scale and diversity required to extract optimal value from the natural resources we possess in abundance,” he said.
At the centre of the historical mission of the ANC is the task of uniting all South Africans for the complete liberation of the people from all forms of discrimination and oppression, said Ramaphosa.
“As we confront the manifold challenges of the present, we need to place this imperative at the centre of our efforts. For this is a moment that calls for the unity of the movement and the unity of the people. It calls for unity in action,” he stressed.