President Cyril Ramaphosa says as countries around the globe battled the coronavirus pandemic, South Africa faced two pandemics – both COVID-19 and the scourge of Gender-based Violence.
South Africa records the highest number of infections and COVID19-related deaths on the African continent.
In his New Year message to the nation, Ramaphosa says the solidarity and strength of South Africans shone a light on a very dark time.
He also thanked all healthcare and essential workers, as well as those who endeavoured on various charity initiatives, for their service of duty to the nation.
“In the face of both these pandemics, South Africans have remained resolute, determined to overcome the virus and determined to end Gender-based Violence., 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.”
The President has warned that the year ahead will be very challenging and difficult. South Africa has recorded over 17 700 new Coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, the highest number in one day since the outbreak of the virus. At least over 28 000 South Africans have succumbed to the pandemic.
Ramaphosa says when united the nation will win against the virus.
Meanwhile, the government says no date has yet been confirmed for the delivery of vaccines to combat COVID-19.
Earlier this week President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that a vaccine was only expected in South Africa in the second quarter of 2021.
Civil society has demanded that the government come up with an urgent plan to ensure that a COVID-19 vaccine is made available to the most vulnerable groups sooner than has been announced.
As the country experiences a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, fuelled by a new variant of the virus, questions are being asked on when healthcare workers and those with underlying medical conditions will be inoculated to ensure their protection.