South Africa declares public holiday in honour of world champion Springboks

South Africa declares public holiday in honour of world champion Springboks

President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared the 15th of December 2023 a public holiday in South Africa in celebration of the Springboks' momentous victory at the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

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," Ramaphosa said.

The Springboks were set to return home on Tuesday before conducting a victory parade around the country. 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.

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 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 said 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.

Ramaphosa also applauded the cricket team who have been performing well in the Cricket World Cup and wished them all the best for the remainder of the tournament.

READ MORE: All you need to know about the Springboks' victory parade