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‘A President I Can Be Proud of’: South Africans Express Their Hopes

‘A President I Can Be Proud of’: South Africans Express Their Hopes


Tamsin Walker, 28, from Johannesburg. Ms. Walker added that the most pressing matter for South Africans at the moment was unity.

“We trust that his populist promises will remain just that: promises. But to me, he is the hero that may continue the legacy of Mandela. For the first time since Mandela, I have hope for our country, and a president I can be proud of.”

Anne Kruger, 66, a retired journalist who lives in Paarl, in the province of Western Cape.

“I hope he will restore confidence in black leadership.”

Cathy Khutjo Mahloana, 21, a student in Pretoria, in Gauteng Province. She added that even though it was ridiculous to expect one man to change the country single-handedly, Mr. Ramaphosa could set a positive example of an African president.

‘Truly Horrendous Corruption and Incompetence’

“My province is in crisis mode because we’re dangerously close to completely running out of water. The taps are expected to run dry by June 2018. We desperately need to explore ways in which we can beat this drought and supply water to Cape Town and surrounds. South Africa as a whole has a water scarcity problem, which will have to be prioritized sooner rather than later.”

Brandon Gregory, 31, a freelance writer and office assistant who lives in Paarl, near Cape Town. The area has been suffering a severe water crisis.

We live on the Vaal River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, which has been supplying water to this thirsty land for millions of years. The truly horrendous corruption and incompetence has meant that sewage pumping stations are in disrepair and raw sewage is being pumped directly into the water. E. coli counts, which are supposed to be below 400 per 100 milliliters of water, are reaching into the millions. Our beautiful Egoli will soon be known as E. coli.”

Viccy Baker, 67, a website owner who lives in Vanderbijlpark, near Johannesburg, which is sometimes referred to as “Egoli” or “place of gold.”

“Gangsterism. There have been too many shootings and nothing has been done. The police never arrives or reacts. It is unbearable to live there. You are virtually a prisoner in your own home.”

Elmarie Daries, 50, a teacher in Bontheuwel, in Western Cape.

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Hettie Fowlds

“Unemployment is a bitter issue for South Africans and I believe that if affirmative action didn’t exist, we would all have been employed on merit not based on race. Then I would have gotten bursaries to study too. But being the top student in school didn’t help my being white.”

Hettie Fowlds, 26, a client services coordinator who lives in Vereeniging, Gauteng.

“As a white man, I feel like the most pressing issues facing ‘my community’ is a blindness and naïveté as to what the real plight of nonwhite South Africans are. We are tone deaf to the underlying drivers of things like campus protests and expropriation without compensation. We believe that white privilege is a myth because ‘we work very hard for our livelihood.’ ”

Dakin Parker, 41, a writer who lives in Cape Town. He added that he hoped Mr. Ramaphosa would commit to employing competent public servants.

‘For Too Long, Debate Was Stifled’

“The next two years are going to be crucial for Cyril to implement strategies to stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment. I’m hopeful that he will focus on education and local manufacturing.

“The high unemployment rate drives the high crime rate. Crime continues to be a big problem in all communities in South Africa. Thankfully he is the ‘darling’ of the investment world. He is an astute businessman and exceedingly intelligent, so I have every confidence that he is the leader we need to turn the tide.”

Nava Nerine Naidoo, 44, a consultant in Johannesburg.

“I wish he can emphasize the significance of education to young Africans by ensuring that public and private institutions provide employment opportunities to graduates.”

Modise Moseki, 40, a lecturer from Kuruman, in Northern Cape Province.

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Malusi Dlamini

“As a 25-year-old, black South African, I don’t think much will change in the country beyond business confidence. Our country is plagued not just by corruption, but by an inept and partisan public service that is too bloated.

“South Africa is being crippled by high income inequality that sows discontent and is dehumanizing. Ramaphosa will not change that as a billionaire who flashes his wealth. When he was in business, he did nothing to bridge the gap between the executives and the broader labor force within his companies.”

Malusi Prince Dlamini, a student and part-time bookseller who lives in Durban, in the eastern province of KwaZulu-Natal.

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Emile Myburgh

“The race card must be banned. For too long, debate was stifled because whoever differed from the A.N.C. or Zuma was branded a racist or agent of Western nations. There was no rational discourse.”

Emile Myburgh, 45, a lawyer in Johannesburg. Mr. Myburgh said he was hoping that renewed respect for the rule of law would protect democratic institutions.

“Nothing will really change. The rich will get richer while the poor get poorer. Tribalism and racism are the cancer of South Africa.”

Malusi Gabriel Khumalo, 35, a media analyst in Durban.

Continue reading the main story


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