Vincent Magwenya:

South Africa has faced what appeared to be insurmountable challenges in recent years.

The silent cancer of state capture infiltrated many of our public institutions, stalled our development, and poisoned our country’s public life.

President Cyril Ramaphosa took office with the intention of rebuilding, driving investment, and fostering a greater sense of social cohesion and nation-building. He reached out to our social partners, and together we set about changing our country’s trajectory.

During this time, there was a palpable sense of change and renewal, only to be upended by the devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic. We were forced to reallocate resources and shift our focus to combating the deadliest global pandemic in over a century. For nearly two years, our priority has been to save lives and livelihoods.

Many people expected our country to fail in this unprecedented challenge. Nonetheless, we were successful in slowing the spread of infections, strengthening our health system, assisting the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, undertaking the largest vaccine programme in our history.

At the height of our vaccine campaign, we were administering over 240,000 vaccines per day. It was a massive undertaking that included encouraging eligible people to get vaccinated while also ensuring a steady supply of vaccines, as well as emphasising that vaccines reduce the risk of severe disease, hospitalisation, and death.

Over 37 million vaccine doses have now been administered, thanks to the resilience of our health system and the formation of cross-sector partnerships that have proven critical in saving lives and livelihoods.

As the pandemic threat faded, we faced additional upheaval due to looting and anarchy in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng. This coordinated assault on our democracy failed because good people in our communities stood up to defend our country, freedom, and democratic way of life.

South Africa has always been at its best when it is united and rallies around a common cause. We need to rekindle the spark of hope now more than ever by focusing on greater social cohesion and nation building.

The Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan has put the groundwork for our recovery in place. The plan’s overarching goal is to ensure energy security, mass public employment, and infrastructure development in order to create a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economy.

The social partners are still working to reach an agreement on a social compact for growth and employment. To make this work, every South African should do everything in their power to make a difference. This is our country, and we hold the power to ensure hope for a better tomorrow.

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