President Ramaphosa to Address UN General Assembly

President Ramaphosa to Address UN General Assembly


Attention: Editors

DATE: Tuesday, September 19, 2023

WHEN President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers South Africa’s statement to the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, he will carry the hopes and expectations of the region, not just the country.

President Ramaphosa will join global leaders and experts at the 78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA78), convened under the theme “Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and Its Sustainable Development Towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability for All”.

As the first and only autonomous member of the Oxfam International confederation in Africa, Oxfam South Africa has learnt from its programmatic and advocacy work in South Africa and the region that South Africa is off-track to achieve its 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets.

“Inequality, climate change, and hunger are all inextricably linked,” says Ms. Lebogang Ramafoko, Executive Director of Oxfam South Africa.

“World leaders at UNGA78 must remember that inequality, food insecurity, and increased vulnerability to the effects of climate change are all social justice issues. Women, girls, and other vulnerable groups are especially hard hit. The most vulnerable people, including women and those already facing poverty, are taking the brunt of global inequality.”

“Hunger is not about charity; it is about social justice,” adds Ms. Ramafoko.

Oxfam South Africa fights inequality to end poverty and injustice in South Africa and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), working with partners in South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, the Comoros, and Madagascar. Through our programmatic work in the region, Oxfam South Africa is aware of the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated extreme inequality in SADC countries and has pushed millions of people into abject poverty.

As many as 35.5 million people in SADC countries lost their jobs in 2020 due to the pandemic, and its economic aftershocks have worsened food and nutrition insecurity, resulting in 58 million people in the region facing food insecurity.

Southern Africa is the most unequal region in Africa, with South Africa, Namibia, and Zambia rated as three of the most unequal countries. 58 million people are facing food insecurity or hunger in the SADC region.

In South Africa, while the racial income gap has narrowed since the end of apartheid in 1994, income inequality has grown.

Between 1993 and 2019, the top 10% of earners saw their pre-tax income share increase from 46% to 65%. The pre-tax income of the top 1% grew by 82%, while that of the poorest 50% fell by more than 45%.

Through our work with women small-scale farmers in the Eastern Cape and women farmworkers in the Western Cape, Oxfam South Africa is innately aware of the importance of women’s land rights for achieving SDG 10’s ambitions of equality and key climate goals.

Women’s labour rights are routinely violated on farms; women farmworkers in South Africa are exposed to highly hazardous pesticides many times without adequate protective clothes; and women small-scale farmers and farm workers have still not benefited from the government’s land reform programme.

Women farmworkers right to dignified work, land, food sovereignty are not considered in trade and government policies.

Oxfam South Africa welcomes the UNGA78’s focus on the midpoint review of SDGs, Climate change, UN Reform and access to healthcare.  But, with 7 years left to deliver on the global ambitions of the SDGs, Oxfam South Africa calls on President Ramaphosa to take urgent action to get South Africa’s SDG back on track.

We know what works to address these challenges, and we know there are more than enough resources to do so.

Oxfam calls on President Ramaphosa to commit more resources to addressing the crisis of hunger and climate change in South Africa and the region.


* President Ramaphosa will deliver the South Africa statement to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, 19 September 2023, at 13h00 US Eastern Time, which will be 19h00 in South Africa.

For interviews or more information, please contact:

Mr Philani Ndebele

Marketing Media & Digital Specialist| Oxfam South Africa


Tel: 27 64 045 8191