Ramaphosa: SA will not shy away from tackling discrimination

The acting president says SA will draw on the lessons learnt from Nelson Mandela to plot a way forward.

FILE: The Nelson Mandela Statue on Naval Hill, Mangaung, pictured in December 2012. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

PRETORIA - Acting president Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will not shy away from tackling discrimination.

He says the country will draw on the lessons learnt from Nelson Mandela to plot a way forward.

Ramaphosa was addressing traditional and government leaders, the diplomatic core and guests at the one year commemoration of the stateman's death at Freedom Park yesterday.

He said the country continues to look at Mandela in the fight against discrimination.

"There are many who would entirely abandon efforts to build a new nation as we were called upon to do by Madiba, but not South Africa, for we are the children of Nelson Mandela."

He said this is a fight for this generation.

"His long walk is over and he can continue to rest. Our long walk is on-going as he passed the baton to us."

Ramaphosa said Madiba represents the nation's idea for a better future.


The acting president says Mandela identified the humanity in every South African and relied upon it to inspire his dream of reconciliation.

Ramaphosa said at the country's most difficult time, Mandela identified the nation's weaknesses and failures.

He said Madiba guided the country.

Ramaphosa said Madiba's long walk is now over and it is time for the country to continue.

He said Mandela taught the country that great victories were the products of hard work.

"As we reflect on the challenges on poverty, unemployment and inequality, it is only through united action that we can succeed in defeating these evil ills."

He said Madiba believed in equality for all.

"Nelson Mandela taught us that people come first. Not just some people but all the people."

The acting president said Madiba represents the nation's desire for a better future and will continue to be a guiding light for South Africans but the nation must work at remaining united.


Mandela's widow Graca Machel has urged the country to carry on his legacy.

She spoke during a wreathe-laying ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday morning.

Machel said Mandela gave South Africans the gift of acceptance of one another.

"We have a common history and we have a common destiny. We are bound to live together. We have to learn to accept one another as part of the big body which is the nation."

She said South Africans have a long way to go to overcome prejudice but it is up to us to change this.

"It is in the hands of each one of us to take what is your stake to close the divisions which are still within us."

Machel said she's confident that wherever Madiba is now, he is happy and has a smile on his face.

"I can imagine him, tall and proud, walking, and all of them raising to receive him and him beaming in his contagious smile, embracing each one of them."