Media release

Government Communications calls on citizens to honour Mandela Day by preventing spread of Coronavirus COVID-19

17 July 2020

17 July 2020

On the eve of the annual Nelson Mandela International Day held on 18 July, government encourages all South Africans to uphold the ideals of the father of our nation, former President Nelson Mandela. This year, Mandela Day comes at a time when the world is faced with the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

COVID-19 has brought to the fore the ideals of Tata Madiba, who embodied the spirit of care, selflessness, sacrifice and resilience as a nation. The resilience of South Africans has enabled the nation to overcome a number of challenges and it continues to draw strength in its ability to rally for action to defeat COVID-19. This battle requires citizens to honour Mandela Day by dedicating themselves to helping fellow citizens in beating COVID-19.

GCIS Director-General, Phumla Williams, said, “Let us all harness the South African spirit of Ubuntu (Humanity) and emulate the values that Madiba taught us. The triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality require collaborative efforts between government and social partners to drive a long-term socio-economic change. It is critical for all people to become caring citizens in their communities, as the change we all want to see is in our hands.”

As part of the Nelson Mandela International Day, citizens can all play their part in small ways and provide assistance to the needy in various neighbourhoods by donating food, masks and sanitisers. There should support for initiatives that aim to help the less privileged such as the Each1Feed1 campaign, which ensures that all contributions reach the intended recipients. More information on the Nelson Mandela Foundation campaign can be accessed from

“The South Africa we have all come to love is a product of social solidarity and we must come together again and assist our fellow brothers and sisters. Government also extends its heartfelt thanks to individuals, non-governmental organisations, business and other formations who selflessly make sacrifices to improve the lives of others. Let us all heed the call to action, make a positive mark and change our communities for the better”, added Williams.

Government reiterates its call to all people in South Africa to stay safe and minimise the spread of the virus by making preventative measures part of their cultural and religious practices. These include maintaining a physical distance of 1.5 metres, regularly washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitiser, and wearing a mask when in public.

Stay safe, Protect South Africa, Together we can beat Coronavirus.

Ms Phumla Williams
GCIS Director-General
Cell: 083 501 0139

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