Remarks by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during the marking of Eid Al-Fitr in Lenasia, Johannesburg

Our Muslim brothers and sisters,
Friends and compatriots,

Assalamu Alaikum.

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

I would like to wish all Muslims in our country a blessed Eid al-Fitr.

I also wish to thank the leadership and community of Lenasia for welcoming us to share this special morning with you. We are deeply honoured to share this celebration with all of you.

Today, you break the Fast of Ramadan and welcome on the horizon the gift of light of the new moon.

Throughout the holy month of Ramadan, you radiated on our nation the value of self-discipline, self- sacrifice and generosity.

By working to purify the heart from wrong-doing, by refraining from avarice and selfish desire, Ramadan cultivates inner spiritual strength.

It builds character and refines inner vision.

The bodily deprivations of Ramadan allow us never to take for granted our own blessings and success.

In strengthening your faith and moral stamina through fasting, you reminded us that for a nation to attain righteousness and the pinnacle of its success, sometimes it has to turn its back on trivial worldly desires.

The Fast became a mirror through which we could reflect and identify with the suffering of others. It amplified that the true value of religion still lies in its capacity to identify with the suffering of others.

As you performed service and acts of goodwill and charity for the poor and needy members of our communities, you reminded us that Islam is a faith founded on compassion, justice and universal brotherhood.

It is about giving, not taking.

It is about generosity, not greed.

It’s about love, peace, truth and tolerance. Not hatred, violence, dishonesty and bigotry.

And these are universal human values upon which we need to anchor our new society.

By embracing and applying these traits consistently, we can root out the high levels of poverty that confront many South Africans.

We can provide quality education and create decent jobs for millions of young people who are out of school and out of work.

We can, as the Quran teaches us, end social strife and bring lasting hope to orphans and widows.

Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s celebration of Eid al-Fitr coincides with the adoption of the Freedom Charter on the 26th of June 1955 at nearby Kliptown.

After listening to all South Africans across the length and breadth of our country, our forebears declared that:

“South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people.”

They said, “Only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birth right without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief.”

We continue to pay tribute to the role South African Muslims - such as the late Ahmed Kathrada - played in our struggle for freedom and to the role you are playing today in securing a better life for all South Africans.

Today, we ask you and all religious communities in our country to offer special prayers for the African National Congress as it deliberates on its policies from Friday this week to 5 July at the Nasrec Exhibition Centre.

The ANC carries an immense responsibility to craft and adopt effective policies that will advance the interest of the poor.

It carries a historic mandate to unite all our people from the ruins of past divisions.

This is a responsibility that demands wise and visionary leadership.

So we ask you to pray for us to elect ANC leaders in December that will move our country forward and restore South Africans’ faith in democracy.

We pray for leaders who will embrace values that you have practiced devoutly during Ramadan.

They must approach political office as a long period of fasting, self-sacrifice, and service to the poor.

And so as we break the fast today, we must enter into a national covenant that we will continue to be on the side of justice, truth and righteousness.

We must be courageous to stand up against those who act against the interest of the poor and marginalised.

Together we must pray and work for the salvation of our nation.

I wish you Eid Mubarak as you begin a day of fellowship, family and reaching out once more to the poor and needy in our communities.

May you have a blessed day!

I thank you.

 

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