JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has wished all South Africans a happy and healthy new year.
"There is no corner of the earth, nor any part of our country, that has been unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic. It has devastated lives and destroyed livelihoods, caused great pain, and left many people hungry and destitute."
"Our continent, under the leadership of the African Union, came together to develop a common response to this pandemic, and found an innovative way to ensure all countries have access to essential medical supplies.
"We have gone out to the rest of the world to advocate for debt relief and to mobilise funds for Africa's coronavirus response and for its economic recovery.
"In the face of this unprecedented crisis, South Africans have demonstrated the true meaning of ubuntu'."
The president acknowledged the loss of life, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and gender-based violence, saying, "as this year draws to a close, we mourn the loss of relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours who succumbed to COVID-19.
"As a nation, we mourn the loss of several eminent South Africans and people from all walks of life."
"Even as we were struck by coronavirus, we had to confront another pandemic that has long plagued our nation.
"We mourn the many women and children who lost their lives at the hands of men.
"We think of the many more who have had to endure rape and beatings, abusive relationships and sexual harassment."
"We think of the many children that have been injured and traumatised by adults, the very people who are responsible for their wellbeing and safety.
"And yet, in the face of both these pandemics, South Africans have remained resolute, determined to overcome the coronavirus, and determined to end gender-based violence."
"The past year has shown what we are capable of when we are united and when we work together for the good of all. The year ahead will require our greatest effort and resilience."— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) December 31, 2020
Message by President @CyrilRamaphosa on #NewYearsEve, 31 Dec 2020. https://t.co/wiYUXbdz7D
Ramaphosa thanked the nation, "I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to every South African for the courage and the perseverance with which you have confronted this crisis.
"I want to thank the health and social services workers for taking care of people who are ill, hungry or lonely."
"I also want thank the men and women in our law enforcement agencies and our Defence Force, who are keeping us safe from crime, violence and harm."
"I salute the learners and the students of 2020 for having continued with their studies under such difficult conditions.
"I want to thank the educators, lecturers, administrators and school governing bodies for having worked so hard to save the academic year and to ensure that the young people of our country progress and succeed.
"We are grateful to the country's religious leaders and traditional leaders for having suspended or limited many of their activities during the pandemic.
"We are grateful to our sports people and administrators, to our artists and performers, and to all those who have been unable to continue their trade to prevent the spread of the disease.
"I want to thank all Members of Parliament, Members of Provincial Legislatures, local government councillors and all public servants for having remained at their posts even at the most difficult moments of the pandemic and for having continued throughout to serve the nation."
While the address acknowledged the difficulties of the year, the president remained hopeful for the future.
"The year ahead will therefore require our greatest effort and resilience. The past year has shown what we are capable of when we are united and when we work together for the good of all. It is this spirit that will carry us into the new year, and which will enable us to prevail and to prosper."
"I wish you a happy and healthy 2021," he said.