Johannesburg - South Africa will need to take some extraordinary measures and make difficult decisions to tackle the challenges that lie ahead in 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said.
In a New Year message posted on the Presidency's Twitter account on Monday, Ramaphosa singled out weak economic growth, crime and gender-based violence among some of the problems facing the country.
Ramaphosa, who was sworn in as president in February after Jacob Zuma was forced to step down in the face of corruption allegations, said 2018 had been a year of renewal and "a year in which we worked together to restore confidence in our public institutions and to confront the devastating effects of state capture and corruption both in government and the business world".
"In 2019 we will be called upon to work with greater focus and determination to confront our problems and create new opportunities for all South Africans," he said.
"Having welcomed the new dawn at the beginning of this year we can be certain that the sun is indeed rising even higher in the South African sky. It is our shared responsibility to ensure that all our people bask in its warmth."
"We will need a huge national effort to build on the progress made this year in restoring our country to a path of growth and progress. We will need to take some extraordinary measures and work together to take some difficult decisions given the challenges that lie ahead.
He signalled a continued focus on creating jobs in a country with unemployment at more than 27 percent of the labour force, adding that he was encouraged by the response to his investment drive.
Ramaphosa said millions of South African workers would in the new year benefit from the introduction of the country’s first national minimum wage, set at R20 per hour.
"This … is a powerful demonstration of the shared resolve of all social partners to tackle poverty and inequality," he said.
Ramaphosa urged young South Africans to register to vote ahead of the country's sixth democratic general elections in 2019.
"It will be an opportunity for a new generation of young South Africans to exercise the right to vote and determine their own future," he said.
African News Agency (ANA)