Ramaphosa Declares Public Holiday to Celebrate South Africa’s World Cup Rugby Win

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(Bloomberg) -- South African President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a public holiday to celebrate the Springboks’ victory in the Rugby World Cup.

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The Springboks edged out New Zealand’s All Blacks 12-11 in the final of the tournament in Paris on Saturday to claim the title for the fourth time, sparking wild celebrations in their home country.

“In celebration of the Springboks’ momentous achievement and the achievements of all our other sports men and women, and as a tribute to the resolve of our united nation, I am declaring Friday Dec. 15 as a public holiday,” Ramaphosa said in a televised speech on Monday. “We declare this to be a day of hope, a day of celebration and unity.”

The president used his address to highlight his administration’s achievements in tackling an energy crisis, logistics constraints, crime and corruption and high levels of unemployment. He also reiterated his administration’s commitment to stabilizing debt and a sustainable fiscal policy.

“The last three years have been extremely challenging,” he said. “Ultimately, more rapid and inclusive growth is the only solution to unemployment, poverty and inequality.”

Other highlights:

  • “The economy has shown a significant degree of resilience and is now larger than it was before the pandemic”

  • “Over the last two years, the number of people with jobs has increased by two million, bringing the level of employment close to its pre-pandemic level”

  • “To continue with the restoration of our commuter rail corridors, 50 billion rand ($2.7 billion) will be spent over the next three years to modernize our passenger rail network”

  • South Africa’s port, rail and electricity infrastructure are “strategic national assets” and will remain state-owned

  • Welfare grants and public employment programs have played a vital role in supporting the vulnerable

--With assistance from S'thembile Cele and Monique Vanek.

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