29 September 2008
New South African president Kgalema Motlanthe has assured the country that he will carry out his duties as president with “dignity, commitment and humility”.
“I will do everything in my power, during the time that I occupy this position, to serve the nation with dignity, commitment and humility,” he said in a televised address on Sunday evening.
Motlanthe highlighted that South Africa, which was a fairly young democracy, was emerging from one of the most difficult weeks in its history. The past week had been one of uncertainty and doubt, hurt and anger, he said, adding it was at moments like these that the country had to show its true character.
“It is when we are tested, that we demonstrate our resilience and determination. We have shown in the past that though we may at times experience difficulty, we have both the will and the means to rise above the challenges of the moment,” he said. “Over the course of the last few days, we have proven the durability of our constitutional order and the vibrancy of our democracy.”
“We have no choice now other than to move forward, to forge ahead undaunted with the tasks we have set ourselves.”
Duties and responsibilities
Motlanthe, who was sworn in as president by Chief Justice Pius Langa on Thursday, said he entered office knowing full well the duties and responsibilities that were attached to that high office, and the expectations of the people of South Africa.
“In everything that this task demands, I have the good fortune to be able to draw on the example set by my immediate predecessor, President Thabo Mbeki,” he said.
He said much was owed to Mbeki for his contributions to the advancement of South Africa, and his leadership and vision for the country.
“For all that he has done for South Africa, for our continent and for the advancement of the global community, we remain forever indebted,” Motlanthe said. “We express our appreciation also to the ministers and deputy ministers who served under President Mbeki, for the service they have rendered the nation.”
“As government, we have moved quickly to bring stability to the country’s national executive, confirming the positions of ministers and deputy ministers, and filling any vacancies that have arisen.”