President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africans must ensure that the country’s democracy is protected. Ramaphosa is in Soweto, Johannesburg, for Mandela Day in his capacity as the president of the African National Congress (ANC).

He has encouraged the public to do more to help each other – as he joined a clean-up campaign following the recent looting and vandalism incidents.

“The most important lesson, in the end, is we must tighten up our security forces and also ensure that the defence of our democracy is firmly in the hands of our people and it is you, the people, who will continue to defend that democracy.”

Ramaphosa says despite the recent acts of violence, looting and vandalism, South Africans have united to rebuild and defend the country.

“This incident has really united us, solidified us and we must emerge much stronger and more capable than we were before these incidents happened. We shall never be defeated because a united people will never be defeated.”

He says, “… I would like to thank the religious communities who have come forward to offer advice and suggestion. So, comrades, we can move forward as South Africans as we are more united than we have been in the past.”

President Ramaphosa urges South Africans to use Mandela Day to improve their surroundings:

Meanwhile, South African national taxi association (SANTACO), Airlink and Shoprite are facilitating the donation of essential items to various townships in the KwaZulu-Natal capital – Pietermaritzburg – where people have been affected by looting and unrest for the past week.

The organisations have also united to assist communities in commemoration of Mandela Day. Over the past week, widespread looting and destruction caused racial tensions in many areas.

SANTACO provincial manager, Sifiso Shangase, says they hope to quell the unrest.

“This day means a lot to all of us especially when you look at the value of the old man. He was basically preaching the teaching of helping those that are in need, the values of unifying, of nation-building and so on. So, the intention is to go to the communities who were affected by the unrest which took place here in Pietermaritzburg, we will be going to those needy families and thereafter we will go and clean one of the affected areas in the unrest. We’ve got about 91 volunteers and these guys came all the way from Gauteng.”

Community members who have received food parcels in Northdale and Raisethorpe in Pietermaritzburg say they are grateful for the donations. However, they say they have no place to keep it because their homes were burnt down following days of violent unrest.

Several organisations give food parcels to communities in Pietermaritzburg: