POLITICS
10/03/2018 13:20 SAST | Updated 10/03/2018 13:21 SAST

Ramaphosa Takes Morning Walk In Soweto, Urges People To Register To Vote

He was joined by young and old, who wanted to get close to the newly-elected president.

RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images
Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has urged all South Africans to go out and register to vote for the "important" 2019 national elections.

"We will be going to door-to-door asking our people to vote, asking our people to go and register because the next elections are going to be very, very important," Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa took his healthy lifestyle campaign to Soweto, leading a 5km walk on Saturday morning, starting at the historic Regina Mundi Church, with hundreds of people which started promptly at 06:00.

He was joined by young and old, who wanted to get close to the newly-elected president.

Ramaphosa defended his decision to fire Fikile Mbalula as police minister and deploying him permanently to Luthuli House to head the ANC's election campaign.

"When we took him out of Parliament and when we said, 'get out of the Cabinet and run elections', some people thought that we are mad, but we are absolutely right because he is the person that is going to win us elections," Ramaphosa said.

The governing party, which has faced a decline at the polls since the 2009 national elections when its former president Jacob Zuma took over, has begun preparations for the upcoming elections.

It held an election workshop last week, and has deployed its senior leaders to all corners of the country to encourage citizens to register.

Ramaphosa was accompanied by Gauteng Premier David Makhura, Mbalula, head of presidency at Luthuli House Zizi Kodwa and disgraced former health MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

Mahlangu resigned in the wake of a report into the deaths of mentally ill patients when the department moved them from Life Esidimeni to several NGOs, some of which were not registered.

Ramaphosa encouraged residents of Soweto to adopt his healthy lifestyle, saying he wanted to be fit so that he could execute his job as president. Job creation and rooting out corruption would be his priorities, he added.

"Day and night, I as president worry about jobs. I want every one of our companies to go on a job creation drive as we are going to grow this economy to make sure that we create jobs.

"And we make sure that our government works for the people and no other family, no other individual, whether their name starts with a G or whatever," he said.

Ramaphosa also decried the dirty streets in the township, urging all South Africans to clean their communities.

He said government would embark on a national campaign to clean places where people live, similar to Rwanda - which is considered one of the cleanest countries on the continent.

In Rwanda, on the last Saturday of the month, residents between the ages of 18 and 65 come to the city to participate in what is called Umuganda, which roughly translated means "coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome".

According to Rwandapedia, residents then take part in various community work initiatives including cleaning the city and helping to build schools and medical centres to name a few.

"The time has come for us as South Africans to live a healthy lifestyle but also to clean the places where we live, because when you have a healthy lifestyle and you clean the places where you live it opens up your mind and your head," Ramaphosa said.

News24