S. African president vows to foster true reconciliation
MTHATHA, South Africa, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) -- President Cyril Ramaphosa vowed on Sunday to foster true reconciliation in South Africa by decisively bringing an end to the era of arrogance, entitlement and privilege.
Ramaphosa made the remarks in Mthatha, Eastern Cape Province at an event marking the Reconciliation Day, which has been celebrated on December 16 since 1994 after the end of apartheid, with the intention of fostering reconciliation and national unity for the country.
This year's Reconciliation Day came amid a new spate of racial tension in the country, where Andile Mngxitama, president of radical group Black First Land First (BLF),last week urged followers to "kill whites."
"For every one black person (killed), we will kill five white people," he said.
Mngxitama was responding to comments recently made by white billionaire Johann Rupert about the taxi industry. Rupert, a supporter of the taxi industry, said in a recent interview that he would use private militia to quell members of the Economic Freedom Fighers (EFF) if they made trouble for the taxi industry that has been marred by violence linked to rivalry among different taxi associations.
The EFF is another far-left party comprising blacks.
In apparent reference to rising racial tension, Ramaphosa said that while most South Africans are working together to build a united, non-racial and non-sexist country, "there are a few people who want to take us backwards."
South Africans should stand as one in condemning those who use all manner of vile names to describe black South Africans or who threaten to kill whites, or who insult others because of the faith, culture or language, Ramaphosa said.
He urged South Africans to unite so as to bridge the divides that still exist between them.
"Let us unite to build a society founded on justice, on equality and on prosperity for all," he said.
It was unity that prevented South Africa from descending into war and chaos as apartheid crumbled, the president said.
"It was unity that enabled us to adopt a democratic and progressive Constitution," he added.
Ramaphosa also said true reconciliation would not be achieved without fundamental economic transformation.
Reconciliation means that all young South Africans need to have equal opportunities to pursue their chosen course of study, to live where they please, to find meaningful employment and to live in conditions of comfort and safety, the president said.
"We need to pursue with greater effort an inclusive economy by improving the skills of our young people. We are working to improve the quality of education in our schools. We have massively expanding early childhood development," Ramaphosa said.
The government, he said, is investing significantly in vocational training and is working to ensure that students from poor families can access higher education.
If South Africans are to build a new nation, they cannot go down the dark and destructive path of vengeance and retribution, Ramaphosa said.