“Let us safeguard the hard-won freedoms in our bill of rights”- President Cyril Ramaphosa

By Tshegofatso Makola

With Human Rights Month coming to a close, one sees it fit for the words of President Cyril Ramaphosa to be reflected on in this week’s ‘Power of Words’.

“Let us safeguard the hard-won freedoms in our bill of rights”- President Cyril Ramaphosa

Written in one of his weekly Presidential newsletters, the words served as somewhat of a juxtaposition in his and the African National Congress (ANC)’s remarks that have been made to criticise the very civilians striving to fight for their rights over the past few weeks.

For days on end, students across South Africa protested against financial constraints that disadvantaged many, including beneficiaries of NSFAS. 

Following a constant back and forth with authorities and students, students had to make peace with a measly 10% increase on top of the already low NSFAS accommodation cap of R45 000 per year.

As workers took to the streets demanding a double digit wage increase, their demands were met with resistance from government with their views and fight for better pay de-legitimised, with an interdict against their protest action seeing all attempts placed to a halt.

Not so long ago, the Economic Freedom Fighters held a National Shutdown in an attempt to demonstrate against the country’s ongoing energy crisis and President Ramaphosa’s tenure as the head of state.

Following days of threats from the ANC and the Security cluster as well as criticism from other political parties and entities leading up to the Shutdown, the EFF’s protest was portrayed as delegitimate as well.

With Ramaphosa having spent more of the South African taxpayer’s money to fund his delusion, and to prove to South Africans that he is 'the saviour' who will protect the economy from the 'violent EFF'.

Needless to say, apart from the growing rate of poverty, crime, employment, and so many other issues, South Africa has a problem.

We live in a state that will see its head preach the narrative of safeguarding one’s rights, while criticising those who demand them.

We live in a state that prioritises party views and politics over the rights of its people.

Moreover, we live in a state where rights are written on paper, knowing very well that implementation is very poor, where fighting to be taught in a higher institution of learning without having to worry about funds, calls for an insult or two by the very same politicians who are meant to fight for you.

Unfortunately, we have cultivated a culture and environment not far from Apartheid, one that views black people voicing their concerns as a threat an not a tool of progression.

For as long as we continue to attempt to scare and silence the  majority within this country, we have lost the battle at safe-guarding the rights and freedoms that we all ought to be entitled to.

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Power of Words

Cyril Ramaphosa



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