Ramaphosa: More still needed to unite SA

Siya Kolisi, captain of South Africa and South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa lift the Webb Ellis Cup following victory during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final match between England and South Africa.
MOMENT OF TRIUMPH: Siya Kolisi, captain of South Africa and South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa lift the Webb Ellis Cup following victory during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Final match between England and South Africa.
Image: Juan Jose Gasparini/Gallo Images

While winning the Rugby World Cup united SA, more was still needed to be done to foster social cohesion.

This was the message from President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday in his weekly letter to the country.

Reflecting on the Springboks’ 32-12 thumping of England in Yokohama, Japan, Ramaphosa mentioned other sporting heroes like Caster Semenya, Chad le Clos, the Proteas Netball team, saying whenever they represented the country well, the nation cheers them on.

Ramaphosa’s letter comes after EFF national spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and musician, Ntsiki Mazwai, among others, took to social media platforms at the weekend, saying they would not celebrate the win as the Springboks did not represent SA because there were too many white players.

The president admitted that more was still needed to be done to unite the country.

“After generations of division, we have become a people with a great sense of national pride. We are united by the vision of a country where the divisions of the past can be overcome, a nation of equality, dignity and respect for human rights.

“Over the past 25 years, we have been working together to build that nation. And while this is still very much a work in progress, we are firmly on the path to unite, renew and transform our society,” he said.

Ramaphosa said every time racism, tribalism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia reared their ugly head, pushing SA to the “brink of tipping over”, “we have always come back”.

“Saturday was a triumphant day as it confirmed what we are as a nation, firm in its resolve to find unity in its diversity, as exemplified in our national rugby team which is transforming beautifully, being presented to the world with its first black captain.

“We are proud of South Africa and what it has become. But there is much more that we need to do to make this a country where the black child and the white child can attain the heights they always dream of.

“Leaders of faith organisations, traditional bodies, political parties, cultural organisations, sports organisations and business bodies should all work together to foster a more inclusive and cohesive society,” Ramaphosa said.

For years, sports administrators have called for the playing fields to be levelled and called for transformation in SA Rugby.

Ramaphosa agreed.

“Public sports and recreation facilities must be better resourced, especially in rural areas, so that young men and women who cherish dreams of sporting success attain their goals.

“As we held our breath on Saturday and awaited the final whistle, we momentarily forgot our woes. And now, our sails swelled by the wind of victory, our pride must not deflate, our euphoria must not dissipate and our optimism must endure,” Ramaphosa wrote. – DDR

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