President Ramaphosa declares 15 December a public holiday

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared the 15th of December 2023 as a public holiday in celebration of the Springboks’ momentous achievement at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in Paris, France. 

On Saturday night, South Africans watched with pride and joy as the national rugby team became the world champions for the fourth time since the advent of democracy in the country.

Addressing the nation on Monday evening, the President explained that as much as many want a holiday now, most can agree that matriculants must be given time to focus on their exams, after which the celebrations will continue.

“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 the 15th of December 2023 as a public holiday.

“We declare this to be a day of hope, a day of celebration and unity. Our sports men and women have shown us what is possible. We will succeed and we will ensure that we leave no one behind,” President Ramaphosa said.

The Springboks will return home on Tuesday and the country will welcome them with great joy and jubilation. They will conduct a victory tour around the country and President Ramaphosa will receive them at the Union Buildings later this week.

The President urged the country to now rally behind the Proteas in the same way as they have given their support to the Springboks.

“I want us all to embark on a period of celebration culminating in a celebratory holiday after our matriculants have finished their exams and the Proteas have done the country proud at the Cricket World Cup,” he said.

Today marks the start of the 2023 National Senior Certificate exams for close on one million learners.

“Over the next weeks, our learners will prove the value of hard work, dedication and the investment that we have made as a nation in the education of our young people.

“We wish them the very best, confident that they will make the country proud,” President Ramaphosa said.

Stronger Together

President Ramaphosa took the opportunity to urge the nation to draw hope and encouragement from the determination and the performance the Springboks and the Proteas have displayed.

The victory by the Springboks and the performance of the Proteas follows the victory of Banyana Banyana in the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and their progress to the knockout stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The country’s spirits were similarly lifted by the achievements of the national squad at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin in June.

“The determination and resilience of our teams have given credence to Madiba’s words that sports unites the nation. In their achievements, they have revealed much about the unity of the people of the country they represent.

“As a people, we have shown before what is possible when we are united, when we are determined, when we try hard and when we refuse to give up. Together, we overcame apartheid, ended centuries of conflict and gave birth to a thriving democracy. Together, we confronted and overcame the deadliest global pandemic in over a century. We are indeed stronger together,” he said.

President Ramaphosa emphasised that the Springboks’ victory rightfully calls for a moment of national recognition and celebration.

“As we all watched their progress towards the championship, we marvelled at their resilience and determination to overcome some of the best teams in the rugby world. At moments when their cause seemed lost, they fought back and they emerged victorious,” he said.

The President further applauded the cricket team who have been performing well in the Cricket World Cup.


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