CAPE TOWN – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday delivered a message for the virtual Good Friday service, lamenting the untold suffering brought to people across the world by the current coronavirus (Covid-19) scourge as the number global deaths linked to the virus neared 100,000.
“The coronavirus pandemic is a heavy cross being carried on the shoulders of all of humankind. Rich and poor, young and old, black and white, men and women suffer under its weight. But the message of Easter is also one of hope, of recovery, of triumph and of rebirth,” said Ramaphosa.
“We have the utmost confidence that the measures we have taken, of declaring a national state of disaster and of imposing a lockdown, have been correct and absolutely necessary.”
He said since the lockdown began in South Africa, the rate of identified new cases has slowed.
“Together with other measures like closing our borders and putting an end to public gatherings, we are seeing progress. If we continue to observe social distancing and proper hygiene, if we continue to scale up detection and testing to ensure those who need medical care get it, we will be able to turn things around,” said Ramaphosa.
The president said the faith community has played a vital role in supporting the national effort to contain the coronavirus, “and for this we thank each and every one of you”. Ramaphosa said he understood that it has not been easy, as worshiping in congregations is a source of strength and comfort to many.
“It has been hard for those who have lost loved ones to be unable to attend their burials. Couples wishing to marry have had to postpone their plans. But you have endured with patience. In the true spirit of Christian fellowship, you have extended a hand to the poor, the sick and the hungry,” he said.
“The pastoral and charity work by our Christian community has been a lifeline for many of our people in their hour of need and comfort in their time of sorrow. On behalf of all the people of South Africa, I thank you.”
Cyril Ramaphosa @CyrilRamaphosa
Ramaphosa appealed for donations – despite the size – to the Solidarity Fund which was established to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
“I call upon you to continue to help your friends, your neighbours and those whom you do not even know through the acts of kindness and charity you perform each day. This is a time of great trial for our country. We will at times find ourselves and our very faith sorely tested,” said Ramaphosa.
“Yet we know that the harshest of tests pushes us to persevere and to prevail. Working together, side by side, we will weather this storm and we shall overcome. Humanity will rise again. I wish you all good health and spirit during this blessed time. May the Easter message unite us, nourish us and give us strength in the days ahead.”
On Friday, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize announced that the number of coronavirus infections in South Africa has risen to 2,003 with 24 confirmed Covid-19-related deaths.
Ramaphosa announced the extension of the strict lockdown on Thursday night, warning that ending it too soon would see the disease “consume” the country.
The lockdown, which was initially set to end at midnight on April 16, will now continue until the end of the month.
African News Agency (ANA)
By Jonisayi Maromo