South Africa will create its own consensus on the land issue as it did in 1994, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the country’s envoys.
Briefing diplomats ahead of the SA Heads of Mission Conference in Pretoria yesterday, Ramaphosa briefly went off script to address land in the context of South Africa’s history and economic growth.
“The land reform process will take place in an orderly manner; in a way that advances the interests of all our people and not just a few,” he said.
South Africa would “build our own consensus” as the nation did at the dawn of democracy, under the leadership of Nelson Mandela.
“It will be a South African-made solution.”
Ramaphosa also admitted the government was partially to blame for some of the socioeconomic issues. The country has come a long way since 1994, but faced a particularly dark time over the past 10 years.
The effects of the past were still evident in the widespread poverty and inequality, he said.
“We are becoming more alive to what we have done in terms of our own mistakes and missteps. And the task is now to correct everything that has been done wrong.”
Against the backdrop of calls for South Africa to distance itself from Saudi Arabia after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, Ramaphosa said South Africa was “not immune to tremors in the global economy or to shifts in geopolitics”.
“In the midst of global uncertainty, we are fortunate to have at the helm of our diplomatic service an experienced and capable corps of people who can be relied upon to steadfastly promote our progressive international agenda.”
On corruption and South Africa’s tainted international image, Ramaphosa said it was also up to diplomats to address negative perceptions of the country.
“The governance and management of key state-owned enterprises is being overhauled to ensure they are held accountable to fulfil their economic and developmental mandates,” Ramaphosa said.
“Our ability to generate foreign investment depends in large measure on the image of SA abroad, which is one of the core responsibilities of our diplomats.”