His message came as the Coronavirus death toll in the country passed the 1,000 mark on Monday, reaching 1,080.
In a statement, Ramaphosa said each death was a tragedy.
“Each one represents a unique life: a parent, a child, a sibling or a friend. Each one leaves behind a family and a community in mourning,” said Ramaphosa.
“We should take this moment to remind ourselves that the coronavirus presents a real danger to all of us. While it may be an invisible enemy, it is nevertheless deadly.”
Ramaphosa said the government had used the lockdown period to build the capacity of the health system, adding thousands of hospital and quarantine beds, securing adequate medical supplies and personal protective equipment, and putting training and protocols in place at all health-care facilities to prepare for an increase in infections.
“These measures will prove invaluable as the number of cases continues to increase. Indeed, this is the moment we have prepared for. We have been advised by experts that the pandemic will become worse before it gets better,” he said.
The president acknowledged there were “some who tried to downplay the threat posed” by the coronavirus.
However, “the majority of South Africans have understood its danger and have acted accordingly. Indeed, the patience and solidarity demonstrated by so many South Africans has saved many thousands of lives”, he said.
More than 400,000 deaths have now been recorded across the world, making Covid-19 one of the most devastating pandemics in the last century.