Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers OR Tambo Memorial Lecture at Fort Hare

OCTOBER 27, 2014

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa cannot claim to be truly free while women continue to be the victims of violence and abuse.

The Deputy President was delivering the OR Tambo Memorial Lecture at the University of Fort Hare on Friday.

“Although we have made great strides in improving the representation of women in almost all spheres of society, there is still much that we need to do to combat gender discrimination, oppression and exploitation.

“We cannot claim that South Africa is free for as long as women are subject to crimes of violence and abuse,” said the Deputy President.

He said the country needed to collectively deal with the matter of girl children being forced to drop out of school and women not enjoying the same opportunities for development and advancement as men.

“We owe it to Oliver Tambo to continue this struggle. He was a unifier,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa of the liberation stalwart.

He said the fight against poverty and inequality was everyone’s business and the divisions in society could only begin to be closed when these two ills were addressed.

“We remain divided along lines of race, gender and class. We find divisions between the urban and the rural, and the employed and unemployed… These divisions militate against the attainment of the truly free, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society for which Oliver Tambo fought,” said the Deputy President.

He said South Africans must be united around a common programme of change that addresses the significant social and economic challenges.

As South Africa celebrates the 20th anniversary of democracy, the country can point to significant strides made in establishing stable and resilient democratic institutions, in turning around its economy and placing it on a path of growth and in addressing many of the basic needs of the poor.

“… [As] outstanding our achievements may be, we are acutely aware that we still have massive challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

“If we fail to meaningfully address these challenges, not only will we be unable to right the economic and social wrongs of apartheid but we may find that the very achievements of the last two decades are gradually eroded,” said Deputy President Ramaphosa. –