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Ramaphosa: Privileged South Africans can no longer close eyes to plight of poor

In a virtual address Sunday afternoon, President Cyril Ramaphosa reflected on the impact the pandemic has had on vulnerable South Africans, saying it’s time the country invests in a new society and economy.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has used his Freedom Day speech to address the high levels of inequality in the country, which have been thrust in the spotlight by the COVID-19 national lockdown.

In a virtual address Sunday afternoon, Ramaphosa reflected on the impact the pandemic has had on vulnerable South Africans, saying it’s time the country invests in a new society and economy.

“Some people have been able to endure the coronavirus lockdown in a comfortable home with a fully stocked fridge, with private medical care and online learning for their children.

“For millions of others, this has been a month of misery for breadwinners not working, for families struggling to survive.”

He said the true lessons of this pandemic will not just be about the necessity good hygiene and social distancing, but also whether we have the ability to turn this crisis into an opportunity to invest in a new society, a new consciousness and a new economy.

The president added privileged South Africans can no longer afford to close their eyes to the plight of the poor and sleep peacefully at night and that it’s time to build a fair and just country.