Millions of South Africans have expressed hope for the country in the New Year. Celebrations were held in various parts of the country.

In Johannesburg, about 4 000 people gathered to welcome the year 2020.

South Africans ushered the New Year with music, dance and celebrations. Thousands were gathered at Mary Fitzgerald Square in the Johannesburg CBD to welcome 2020 in true Mzansi fashion. The feeling was the same for all, jovial spirits looking forward to a prosperous New Year.

Acting executive mayor of Tshwane, Abel Tau says the annual Free New Year’s Music Concert has helped a great deal in boosting the city’s economy and tourism at large.

In 2018 the city could not host the annual celebration after the appointed service provider pulled out at the 11th hour. However, Tau says this time around the city set aside a total of R3.5 million for the annual New Year’s Countdown Music Show at the Church Square.

“This works well with our strategy to boost our tourism and informal traders and ensure that there’s an economic activity in the capital. The benefit to the informal traders, the benefit that is there to the taxi industry in making sure that it ferries people to and from and also the feel-good factors that ensure people can go out in the capital, do business and go do work, and go to school. This is what we are about.”

Fatalities in Gauteng

In Gauteng, a few incidents of injuries or fatalities were reported. Police have launched a manhunt following a drive-by shooting in Melville, Johannesburg, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Two people died and six others were wounded when an unknown suspect opened fire on a popular restaurant

Police in Johannesburg braved the night, ready to ensure the safety of all. Provincial Police Commissioner Elias Mawela says police were deployed in the province and operated on a zero-tolerance policy.

“We have called on all the station commanders, all the Generals in Gauteng to be on the streets with the foot soldiers tonight to ensure that we show leadership. We all know what is happening in Hillbrow, everything is possible in Hillbrow. We have sufficient deployment to ensure that we bring stability; we bring safety in that particular space. In Soweto, we are also in numbers there. We will ensure that the people gathered at Orlando Stadium, Vilakazi Street and all the parties are also policed accordingly. In FNB, we know that there is a church gathering there and we will also ensure that, that it is policed accordingly. We are going to apply zero tolerance.”

Meanwhile, MEC for Health in Gauteng, Bandile Masuku rolled up his sleeves and ushered in the New Year working together with the Emergency Services team in Johannesburg.

He says, “I would like to advise our people in Gauteng that they must drink responsibly. We are ready for any instances that might crop up. We are waiting for any eventuality that might happen but everyone is out there. The EMS has got 366 personnel on the ground and 36 ambulances on the ground.”

Optimism for the New Year 

As Free State revellers ushered in the New Year, they are hopeful that 2020 is bringing new opportunities for them. In Bloemfontein, some expressed their optimism for the new year.

“I’m happy that I have made it up to the end of the year. I know many did not make it. I ready for 2020 despite challenges that I passed through. I want employment next year,” said one reveller.

Another one added: “God has been there for me. I’m grateful.  I’m feeling awesome because I’m still the same and I want just a bit of change in my life. Yes, I’ve seen 2020, I’m still alive some lost… happy!!!.”

North West

The North West province – which has had its fair share of social, political and economic challenges – will be better placed for all. These are the sentiments of residents, who welcomed the New Year with flying feet – in a hive of activities.

With fireworks, dances, partying and well-wishes – the provincial capital, Mahikeng became an epicenter of an unraveled excitement and fun activities as citizens were cementing their presence into the New Year – a new decade which by their own expectations would herald a fresh optimism from residents have had a long year to forget.

President Ramaphosa message

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for South Africans to turn the past years’ adversities into opportunities.

In his New Year message to the nation, Ramaphosa says the country will succeed in 2020 by working together. He has sent a message of hope and peace to all citizens.

“Just as the strongest steel is forged in fire, just as diamonds are forged deep inside the earth’s crust under the most extreme pressure, let us turn adversity into opportunity. In doing so, let us each play our part, for upon the conduct of each depends the fate of all. By working together towards the South Africa that we all want, sparing neither strength nor courage, we will progress and we will succeed. I wish you and yours a successful and peaceful 2020.”