This is a ‘difficult time’ for South Africa as it faces challenges ranging from an ongoing energy crisis to record high unemployment rates, says Cyril Ramaphosa.

Writing in his weekly letter to the public, Ramaphosa said Nelson Mandela Day on Monday (18 July)  is an opportunity to remember these problems are not insurmountable and can be overcome.

Specific issues which were highlighted by the president include:

  • South Africa is in the midst of an energy crisis that is causing great hardship;
  • A spate of violent crimes is heightening fear and insecurity in communities;
  • Even as The economy is recovering from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, poverty and unemployment is taking a heavy toll on millions who are struggling to make ends meet;
  • Corruption ‘has eaten away at our nation’s soul’ and has severely eroded the social compact between the state and citizens.

Time and again, South Africa has been pulled back from the brink by the activism and resilience of its people, he said.

“At times when the state has faltered, it has been civil society that has reminded us of our obligation to advance the ideals for which Madiba and generations of freedom fighters made such sacrifices.

“Building a better South Africa requires each and every one of us to make a contribution in whatever way we can. Defending our democracy begins with individual acts, like joining a community policing forum, volunteering at a charity or a shelter, reporting crime or refusing to pay a bribe.

“Let us evoke Madiba’s ‘new patriotism’, where South Africans are determined to work together and make our country a winning nation. We cannot leave it to others to realise the South Africa of our dreams. The future of our country is indeed in our hands.”

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