'Your country needs you', Ramaphosa tells SA's youth at June 16 commemoration

President Cyril Ramaphosa's speech was delivered virtually, hours after he announced the implementation of level three of the national lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at 2021 Youth day commemorations in Pietermaritzburg on 16 June 2021. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on young people to rise and play a part in taking South Africa forward.

He delivered an address at the 2021 Youth Day event in KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday.

Ramaphosa's speech was delivered virtually, hours after he announced the implementation of level three of the national lockdown.

The country has seen a spike in the number of COVID-19 infections as the third wave spreads from province to province. Therefore, a limited number of guests - mainly youth - physically attended the celebrations.

Youth Day is this year being commemorated under the theme: “The Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: Growing youth employment for an inclusive and transformed society.”

Ramaphosa focussed on youth employment during his address.

"Young men and women - your country needs you. As you have correctly asked 'what will government do for us?', today I want to ask; what will you do for this country? We need you to rise and demonstrate that a better life for all is indeed within our reach."

FIGHT COVID-19

Ramaphosa also called on young people to play an active role in the nation's struggle to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We call on you to continue to comply with the public health regulations. Continue to wear your mask in public, let's avoid crowded spaces, parties and social gatherings."

He urged the youth to adhere to tighter lockdown regulations announced on Monday night and to encourage their loved ones to do the same.

Ramaphosa said the youth should take responsibility for their future, just as the generation of 1976 did.

WATCH: President Cyril Ramaphosa gives a virtual address at the Youth Day celebrations being held at Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal.

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