President Cyril Ramaphosa says he hopes that monkeypox will spare South Africa in view of the fact that the country is still smarting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa said this to reporters on Thursday in Pretoria after meeting The Elders, a group of independent global leaders founded by former president Nelson Mandela in 2007.
Reporters had asked him about the risk of the disease – which has been reported in Europe and North America – coming to South Africa.
Ramaphosa replied: “We pray that it does not come our way. And we wish those countries well that are having to deal with monkeypox.”
He added: “We wish them strength. And if we are called upon to give assistance, we will be ready and willing to do so,” he said.
Chairperson of The Elders and first woman president of Ireland, Mary Robinson bemoaned what Africa had to go through during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Robinson said there had been a shocking lack of equitable access to coronavirus vaccines – and placed the blamed squarely on the West.
The meeting also discussed at length the war in Ukraine, which is having a devastating impact on global food security and fuel prices.
Deputy chair of The Elders and former South African and Mozambican first lady, Graça Machel said just as Africa was able to become self-reliant during the pandemic, it should do so in the face of soaring food prices.
“As Mary would say, we have the land and, in some parts, water. What would impede us (in Africa) now from producing food for ourselves?” Machel said.