President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the 27th National Freedom Day Celebrations under the theme ’The year of Charlotte Maxeke: The meaning of Freedom under Covid-19’, in Botshabelo, Free State. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the 27th National Freedom Day Celebrations under the theme ’The year of Charlotte Maxeke: The meaning of Freedom under Covid-19’, in Botshabelo, Free State. Picture: Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

Ramaphosa turns heat on corrupt officials, telling public to vote them out

By Ntombi Nkosi Time of article published Apr 28, 2021

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Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged South Africans to exercise their right to vote saying that is their weapon to vote out corrupt officials.

Speaking at the country’s main Freedom Day celebration event in Botshabelo, Free State on Tuesday, Ramaphosa urged people to vote out all those that are tasked with service delivery but they instead steal resources and line their pockets.

“I call on all South Africans to exercise their right to vote, your vote will demonstrate intolerance to corruption, theft, mismanagement of funds that are meant to benefit all citizens. If those who claim to serve you are not doing so, vote them out, take them out,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said the elections are an opportunity for citizens’ voices to be heard and reminded people that they have a right to protest. However, he condemned those who burn and damage property saying their actions undermine the Constitution.

Additionally, Ramaphosa said the promise of 1994 was yet to be fulfilled.

“Millions of South Africans still live in conditions of poverty and deprivation, for those who continue to suffer from the lack of basic services like running water, without proper sanitation. Many of our people live under such conditions here in Botshabelo and Windburg. For those living in fear every day of violent crimes, for those with no jobs to support themselves and families, true freedom still remains elusive,” said Ramaphosa.

He promised to visit the community of Winburg, where the celebrations were scheduled to take place but due to violent protests, residents demanded to be addressed by Ramaphosa, the event was moved to Botshabelo.

Before addressing the commemoration, Ramaphosa opened the Charlotte Maxeke treatment centre in Botshabelo.

“I am delighted to be here in Botshabelo, the initial arrangements had been Winburg but because of logistical arrangements, we had to come here. I will visit Winburg in my lifetime this year,” he said.

Despite earlier pointing out that freedom, due to the many challenges they face, remains elusive to some, great progress has made in confronting the legacy of apartheid, “from a provision of water, electricity to millions, the doors of learning to the poor, provision of healthcare and to lifting millions out of poverty”.

“But we cannot celebrate freedom day without acknowledging how much further we still need to go. We cannot deceive ourselves, yes we are free at last without acknowledging that there is still a lot of work to be done to improve lives of our people.

“It cannot be that 27 years of democracy, our people are being deprived of most basic services like water and sanitation because of poor planning and incompetence, mismanagement or corruption by some of us,” he said.

Ramaphosa said it cannot be that access to housing, education, decent healthcare is being undermined because those tasked with service delivery do not care enough.

“Our people expect that those who have been tasked with a job of improving their lives should do just that and not steal the resources that belong to our people and put them in their own pockets.

“A continued practice of stealing and abuse and wastage of resources is against the law, our people deserve better,” said Ramaphosa.

He said as many reflect on this day, those who have been put into key positions must work for the people.

He reminded the people that in six months from today, the country would hold its sixth local government elections.

Ramaphosa said this was a difficult time for the country since Covid-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the public health and economy, many people have lost their jobs and many businesses had to shut down.

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