PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has conceded that his presidency and the ANC have failed to govern the country saying they could have done better after the economy had taken a downturn.
He also said that the country could have done better under his watch, but further said that there was time for the ruling party to come back if they were not voted out.
Ramaphosa was delivering the State of the Nation Address (Sona) at the Cape Town Community Hall on Thursday.
Speaking in isiZulu, Ramaphosa said “Sizobuya”, meaning “we’ll be back”. He said they would be able to get the ANC back to what it once was.
Ramaphosa gave an example of a young woman named “Tintswalo” who went through the ranks and was able to take care of her family under his administration.
“We have made a lot of mistakes as a country. We need to do more,” Ramaphosa said.
The Tintswalo story was, however, reported to be one of a fictional child of democracy whose life has been improved by 30 years of ANC governance.
Hailing the government, he said Tintswalo, and many others born in democracy, were beneficiaries of the first policies of the democratic state to provide free healthcare for pregnant women, and children under the age of six.
According to the president, this was the story of millions of people who have been born since the dawn of democracy. But South Africans were not having it, taking to X (formerly Twitter) to express their grievances.
Ramaphosa, during the speech, acknowledged the date of the national elections expected to take place this year.
“These efforts to undo the hard-won gains of our freedom failed because the people of South Africa stood firm, together, in defence of our Constitution and its promise of a better life for all … It was the same determination that enabled the country to endure the devastation of Covid-19, the worst global pandemic in over a century.
“More than 100 000 South Africans lost their lives to the disease and two million people lost their jobs. Yet it would have been far worse if we had not acted together as one to stop the spread of the virus, to support our health workers, to protect the most vulnerable, and to roll out an unprecedented vaccination programme.
“We were able to unite society around a common effort to save lives and livelihoods.
“I want to pay tribute to the many thousands of South Africans who made financial contributions to the Solidarity Fund, to the workers who produced medical supplies, and to the nurses, doctors and other health workers who risked their lives to care for those who were ill. Another major challenge we had to address is gender-based violence and femicide which we characterised as the second pandemic,” he said.
Opposition parties have taken the opportunity to speak in unison, saying Ramaphosa’s Sona was all the same.
Ramaphosa again promised the unemployed youth of South Africa jobs and opportunities that would alleviate their poverty, hunger, and suffering. “As a government, we have taken steps to address the youth unemployment challenge.”
Independent Media previously reported that millions of young people aged 15 to 24 years across the country are currently not in employment, education or training.
While economic growth was essential to reduce unemployment, Ramaphosa said they could not wait to provide the work that many of democracy’s children needed.
Praising his government’s efforts, the president said they launched the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES) three years ago to boost employment for the youth.
“Through this programme, we have created more than 1.7 million work and livelihood opportunities.
“Through the stimulus, we have placed more than 1 million school assistants in 23,000 schools, providing participants with valuable work experience while improving learning outcomes,” he said.