SA's survival as a constitutional democracy 'under threat': Ramaphosa
'Our young democracy and our movement are going through, at the moment, a very difficult time. Our survival as a constitutional democracy, committed to the rule of law, is under threat,' Ramaphosa said on Sunday night.
SA's “survival” as a constitutional democracy is under severe threat.
This is according to President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking at an ANC event to mark former president Nelson Mandela's birthday - known as “Mandela Day” - on Sunday.
Repeating his statement from Friday that recent incidents of violent and looting was part of an “insurrection”, Ramaphosa said the threat of well coordinated follow-up violence could not be discounted.
Earlier on Sunday he was in Soweto, where a number of people were doing clean-up operations following the violence which rocked KZN and Gauteng over the past week. He described the violence as “unprecedented in the history of democratic South Africa”.
To date, more than 200 people are confirmed dead and more than 3,000 arrested for their role in the violence.
“It is clear now the events of the past week were a deliberate, coordinated and well-planned attack on our democracy, on our economy and our people’s livelihoods.
“Faced with such events, president Mandela would remind us that despite the challenging times we find ourselves in, that we should keep our heads pointed towards the sun, and keep our feet moving forward.
“He would encourage us never to give up, or even to despair. And it's important that we should have that message from Madiba to guide us along the path of some of the challenges that we are facing.
“We owe it to the legacy of president Mandela and all our brave forebears who sacrificed so much for our freedom to remain steadfast in the face of this well-planned and coordinated attack on our nation,” he said.
The two solutions, according to Ramaphosa, are strengthening the state and uniting the ANC.
“We need to strengthen the capacity of the state, so that the state is able to address, not only the security challenges that face our country, but also how the state is able to lead our country in ensuring there is inclusive growth.
“Apart from strengthening the state is, yes, to renew, to strengthen and to unite the governing party. Because it is the governing party that, in many ways, directs the fortunes of our country.
“Our young democracy and our movement are going through, at the moment, a very difficult time. Our survival as a constitutional democracy, committed to the rule of law, is under threat. Very serious attempts were - and continue to be - made to instigate unrest, insurrection against the government led by the governing party.
“We cannot say that similar attacks will not be attempted in future, nor can we say that those who seek to divide us will stop in their efforts,” the president said.
However, what he was sure of, was South Africans had the strength to push through and overcome.
“But we can say right now... South Africans have shown their mettle. The response of people gives us reason for optimism, and to once again marvel at their spirit and their courage in ensuring they defend their democracy.
“The overwhelming majority of our people and structures and members have stood up, stood together, and said even as we face this crisis we will not allow this to rob us of the gains we've made in our democracy. Millions of our people have refused to be part of destroying people's livelihoods, people's lives, property, and our collective infrastructure.
“And I must say we are grateful for this type of reaction because the events of the past few days should not distract us from continuing to speed up the process of renewal of our movement.
“It is important for all of us to have a common understanding of what needs to be done to unite and to renew this movement so it can withstand this assault on our democracy, but also be able to execute the tasks of improving the lives of our people,” he said.