President Cyril Ramaphosa says Africa is in need of “strong democracies, accountable institutions, capable leaders, peace and stability” if the continent is to take advantage of the potential of its vast human capital and mineral resources.
He was speaking during the commemoration ceremony of the 35th anniversary of the death of Mozambique’s first post-independence President, Samora Machel.
The commemoration ceremony was held at the site of Machel’s death, in conjunction with the Mozambican government and attended by that country’s President Filipe Nyusi.
“We have enough sun, wind and minerals to become a global leader in the green economy. We are a continent of young people, [possessing] the energy, initiative and skills to establish Africa as a new frontier of production and innovation.
“We need societies that strive for the empowerment of women and the achievement of gender equality in every area of life. We need leaders who follow in the footsteps of Samora Machel, who are selfless, who are committed, who are dedicated to serve and who are prepared to sacrifice. We need leaders who put the needs and the aspirations of the people above all else,” President Ramaphosa said.
President Machel died when the airplane that he and at least 42 others – including crew members – were flying in, crashed into the Lebombo mountains at Mbuzini in Mpumalanga in 1986.
It is alleged that the plane crash was caused by the apartheid government because of Machel’s support for South Africa’s liberation from apartheid at the time.
President Ramaphosa said the commemoration of the deaths of Machel and those he was travelling with helps to keep alive the memories of the lives that were lost in the fight for the liberation of Southern Africa.
“[T]his site is a reminder of the dreadful past from which we come and the sacrifices many people made to achieve a better world in which all can enjoy peace, freedom, dignity and equality.
“As South Africans, we will never forget the contribution made by President Machel and the people of Mozambique in ensuring that freedom reigns in country,” President Ramaphosa said.
Africa’s contemporary challenges
Turning to present day challenges, President Ramaphosa emphasised that although much has been done for the prosperity of African people, much is still to be done to overcome the struggle to which Machel “dedicated his life”.
“The people of Southern Africa – and indeed of our continent – have yet to know the dignity, prosperity and security that they seek and deserve. They have yet to recover from the ravages of colonialism and iniquities of apartheid. They still face major challenges of poverty, unemployment, inequality and violent conflict. We must decisively deal with these challenges and work towards lasting peace in our region and continent,” President Ramaphosa said.
He highlighted that global crises like the COVID-19 pandemic have amplified the need for African countries to work together “to overcome this disease and ensure an inclusive and sustained social and economic recovery”.
“We must continue to encourage our fellow countrymen and women to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to continue observing critical prevention measures like washing hands with soap and water, wearing masks and social distancing.
“We must intensify the struggle for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, ensuring that as many people as possible are vaccinated as rapidly as possible. No country, no community and no person must be left behind,” he said.
President Ramaphosa vowed that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will continue to do all it can to drive the alleged insurgent and terrorist group that has caused conflict, violence and insecurity to erupt in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province.
“President Machel and his compatriots laid down their lives to ensure…that Southern Africa realises their dream of freedom from hunger, inequality, injustice and conflict. When it comes to conflict…the Southern African people, acting through their governments, have all decided to act in solidarity to help the people of Mozambique to push out and to fight the insurgents.
“I have one message for those insurgents: We will come after you. We will make sure that Mozambique becomes a country where you will not spread violence. Southern Africa will act together. This is what Samora Machel will have committed himself to and we are following in his footsteps”.
Source: South African Government News Agency