Rustenburg - South Africans will have to dig deeper than at any other time since the dawn of democracy to rebuild the nation once the coronavirus crisis has passed, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday.
"Beyond this grave health emergency, we should see this as a time of possibility and opportunity for renewal.
"It is a time for us to work together as South Africans to create a more just, more humane and inclusive country. The pandemic has shown us the generosity of spirit of South Africans and their determination to succeed against seemingly insurmountable odds and difficulties," he said in his Workers' Day message.
"Let us work together to emerge from this pandemic with a more humane society, marked by an economy that is more inclusive, more equitable and in which all South Africans prosper. Labour, business and civil society must join with government in a new social compact for national reconstruction," he said.
"We need to put in place a comprehensive and far-reaching economic recovery programme that does not merely return our economy to where it was before the pandemic. It needs to produce a new, transformed economy, a more inclusive economy and a more people-centred economy that focuses on social outcomes.
"It must be an economy that prioritises worker participation and ownership. It must be a gendered economy that bridges the great material divide between men and women, creating opportunities for women in all parts of the economy."
The president said infrastructure was going to be a key part of the recovery.
"It (infrastructure) will drive investment in local production, local jobs, create demand for SMEs and expand the capacity of our economy."
South African workers celebrated Workers' Day by staying at home during the national lockdown implemented to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 3 million people worldwide and killed more than 234,000.
In South Africa, so far 5,647 people have been infected with the coronavirus, of whom 103 have died and 2,073 have recovered.
On March 15, the government declared a national state of disaster, with a total lockdown beginning at midnight on March 26, restricting movement and allowing only essential-services workers to report for duty.
The lockdown has been eased from level 5 to level 4 as of May 1, allowing greater movement for individuals and allowing more businesses in a number of industries to resume operations, albeit under strict conditions.
The novel coronavirus which causes Covid-19 was first recorded in Wuhan, the capital of China’s Hubei province, in December of 2019 and rapidly spread to the rest of the world.
African News Agency (ANA)
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