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Ramaphosa: The new dawn isn’t dead, Eskom is our 'collective problem'

The president made the comments live on Talk Radio 702 and CapeTalk on Thursday evening while discussing a wide range of issues after ten months in office.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in conversation with Radio 702's Xolani Gwala on 13 December 2018. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has dismissed critics who have labelled the idea of “a new dawn” which he launched when he became president earlier this year in February as dead.

Ramaphosa made the comments live on Radio 702 and CapeTalk on Thursday evening while discussing a wide range of issues with Xolani Gwala after 10 months in office.

The president says the new dawn he promised is still very much alive despite rising unemployment, the sluggish economy, the crisis at state-owned enterprises and recurring power cuts and corruption plaguing his administration.

“As we look around, we shouldn’t just look at, for instance ‘the price of petrol has gone up and therefore the new dawn is over’. Now the price of petrol has gone down, does it mean that this new concept of a new dawn is dead and finished? No.”

Ramaphosa also spoke about race relations in the country and nation building.

He was asked about Black First Land First leader Andile Mngxitama’s remarks over the weekend in which he urged his supporters in Potchefstroom to kill five white people for every black person who dies due to taxi violence.

“What you need to analyse is what a person like Andile says and ask yourself whether it’s representative of a huge number of people, as a community, that is saying that or whether it’s a lone voice out there in the wilderness. Sometimes we tend to look at these types of things, saying this is a general feeling of everyone.”

With the serious problems facings SOE's like Eskom, the president has announced he will reveal plans on Friday to deal with challenges at the power utility.

Ramaphosa says the debt level at Eskom is “our collective problem as South Africans”.

“We are dealing with this and the debt level at Eskom is closer to R475 billion and therefore it is our collective problem as South Africans. That’s how we need to approach this to say ‘this is our collective problem’ and if it has to be solved, all of us need to be aware that we are doing this and we are getting to this as a nation.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)