President Kgalema Motlanthe appealed to South Africans to treat each other with respect in his New Year’s message late on Wednesday.
”I would like to appeal to all South Africans to treat each other with respect … this includes tolerance towards foreign nationals who, for one reason or the other, have made South Africa their home,” he said.
Motlanthe emphasised the need for a united, democratic, non-sexist, non-racial and prosperous nation that derived strength from the diversity of its people.
On crime, Motlanthe said that the government had intensified its efforts to eradicate the scourge in SA.
”It is also important that we guard against and report crime … we remain committed to rooting out crime, especially high-priority categories. These include violent crimes against women and children, house robberies, organised crime and corruption as well as illegal firearms, which continue to terrorise our people.
Motlanthe said that SA’s infrastructure and systems for hosting the Soccer World Cup were nearing completion.
SA would be hosting the Fifa Confederation Cup in June 2009 and this would be a very important barometer of not only how the national team would perform during the 2010 competition, but also, of how hospitable SA was as a nation.
”I am confident that in the event, we will succeed!”, he said.
Motlanthe also congratulated matriculants.
”The challenges that you and your teachers went through will be instructive for the future, as we seek the best ways to make our education system fully functional and responsive to the national and global challenges,” he said.
On 2009’s elections, Motlanthe said that South Africans should relish the moment of deepening their democracy by freely exercising their choice at the polls.
”Let us respect the right of all to campaign in all the regions of South Africa,” he said.
On international affairs, Motlanthe said SA joined the United Nations Secretary General in calling for the immediate cessation of the attacks between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
”The sheer savagery of the attacks launched by Israel against the residents of Gaza serves to conceal the fact that underlying this conflict is the reasonable demand for both peoples to live together in peace and prosperity within their internationally recognised homelands,” Motlanthe said.
”The current Israeli aggression proves the folly of the notion of ‘waging the war to end all wars’ … War begets war. The UN Security Council must act now to save lives and to create peace.”
”Peace means the right of self determination, it means eradication of hunger and poverty, it means free trade and it means the right to life.” – Sapa