President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS

People sometimes forget that politicians are normal people. Our president is a husband and father, he is a farmer who loves the land, he is a trade unionist and a businessman. He is a patriotic South African, but also with a loyalty and strong sense of responsibility towards our continent — the history of our country paved his way to activism and politics.

On Sunday evening, Cyril Ramaphosa the politician spoke to us, but he also spoke in all the above capacities. As politician he must steer the good ship SA through troubled waters, faced by political infighting and instigation, division, poverty, inequality and high levels of crime — a sensitive balancing act. The pandemic had an aggravating effect on all these factors, making his statement all the more important. He addressed the impact of Covid-19 as well as the recent violence and looting head-on and expressed his determination to deal with both.

The government is still seriously concerned about the levels of infection, but in view of the decrease in daily new cases it has been decided to move back to adjusted level 3 with immediate effect. Curfew hours are from 10pm to 4am and interprovincial travel is allowed again. Alcohol sales are allowed from Monday to Thursday. Schools reopened this week. Vaccination is proceeding well and steps have been taken to increase capacity, with rules relaxed with respect to where people can be vaccinated.

The increased focus on vaccination is to be applauded. Countries with high levels of vaccination are the most successful in the fight against the pandemic. The fact that vaccines are now manufactured in SA is a big step forward. We are on the right track.

The president spoke with sadness and empathy on the effect of the recent violence and looting on citizens. He announced that measures to identify the instigators and bring them to justice have been introduced. Social relief for the vulnerable will be introduced given the impact of Covid-19 and the violence and looting, as will measures to help affected businesses rebuild.

The focus on rebuilding and assisting the vulnerable is on the mark. Poverty and inequality made it easier for instigators to succeed in certain regions. Not helping the vulnerable will play into their hands. The government, and in effect all South Africans, face a huge challenge to rebuild and keep narrowing the poverty gap and inequality.

I agree with the president that our strength lies in our constitution and the quality of our people.

Dawie Jacobs

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: REUTERS/ROGAN WARD

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