President Cyril Ramaphosa has apologised to South Africans for the high poverty and unemployment rates in the country.
He made the apology while delivering a memorial lecture for the late Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Durban on Friday.
Ramaphosa was referring to the recent spate of anti-migrant unrest in parts of Gauteng.
He subsequently apologised to the rest of Africa during the funeral service of Mugabe in Harare last weekend.
‘Poverty fuels unrest’
In his address on Friday, he acknowledged that the unrest was fuelled by poverty and unemployment.
Our own people face poverty, they face unemployment… and comrades, when we say we must not be intolerant, it does not mean that we care less about what our own citizens, South Africans, are going through.President Cyril Ramaphosa
The president cited an article in which a commentator urged him to also apologise to South Africans following his recent apology to African countries.
I am prepared to apologise to our own people and say over the past 25 years – much as we have brought about changes – there are quite a number of people in our own county who are still poor, who are still unemployed, and for that I regret and I apologise.
We are going to work very hard to make sure we address the needs of our people because, comrades, in the end, we have to balance everything.President Cyril Ramaphosa
Herman Mashaba’s no apology
Although Ramaphosa’s apology to Africans was widely welcomed, some felt that such an apology was not necessary.
City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba is among them.
Speaking to CNBC Africa earlier this week, he said he has no apologies to make for the recent unrest.
What would you expect me to apologise for? It is unfortunate what has happened, but it has happened. For me, I don’t regard this as an accident – it was something bound to happen.
When you let a country operate without laws, this is ultimately what you get, and I don’t see the reason why one has to apologise.Herman Mashaba