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Ramaphosa: More work to do before SA realises rainbow nation vision

'We must all forge a compact and see ourselves as people who can make a contribution to make this country function and succeed,' President Ramaphosa said at an election campaign event in Sandton.

President Cyril Ramaphosa in Tembisa during an ANC election campaign trail. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa has preached reconciliation and the need to build a social compact with the country’s minorities.

Addressing the African National Congress (ANC)’s public engagement elections campaigning event held in Sandton on Thursday night, the president said that although the party sought to achieve non-racialism in society, this was an ongoing project.

Ramaphosa said that one of the mandates he received after winning the race to become the ANC’s president at the Nasrec conference in 2017, was to renew the party and rebuild the country’s social compact.

After first issuing a media advisory to the event describing the meeting as an engagement between Ramaphosa and his “white compatriots”, the ANC later changed this to a “national groups” dialogue held in a bid to building bridges, national unity and reconciliation.

“We must all forge a compact and see ourselves as people who can make a contribution to make this country function and succeed.”

A social compact is an agreement among members of society to cooperate for the benefit of society as a whole.

This has been Ramaphosa’s key message since he was appointed president last year, which has been cemented through the several summits and conferences such as the jobs and investment gatherings held last year.

The Sandton leg of Ramaphosa’s public engagements had mainly white people in attendance, with a few South Africans of Asian descents and some blacks in attendance.

Ramaphosa said that while former President Nelson Mandela and others had worked hard to bridge racial differences, there was some work the country still needed to do before realising its “rainbow nation” vision.

Members of the public in attendance wanted the president to explain government and his party’s plans to deal with crime, child trafficking, maintenance courts and the difficult state the ANC finds itself in with elections just over a month away.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)