Toast proposed at the State Banquet
in Honour of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Pretoria,
10 November 1999
Your Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh,
Your Excellencies Ministers, Deputy Ministers, High
Commissioners and Ambassadors,
Ladies and gentlemen:
It is indeed an honour and a privilege for the South
African Government, for our nation and for Zanele and
I personally to receive Your Majesty on this your second
State Visit to South Africa since the birth of our democracy.
It is also with pleasure that we receive Your Majesty
as the Head of the Commonwealth on the eve of the Commonwealth
Heads of Government Meeting which begins later this
During your visit in 1995, you stated in our Parliament
that it gave Your Majesty great pleasure to see South
Africa regain its rightful place in the Commonwealth
and that South Africa had an essential role to play.
As South Africans we feel humbled that so soon after
you uttered those kind words, we have the honour to
host the last Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
this century and millennium, and that on the occasion
of the 50th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth.
I am certain that the Heads of Government will take
advantage of the happy coincidence of these landmarks
to take decisions that will make the Commonwealth even
more responsive to the new challenges that face all
As Your Majesty is aware, the Heads of Government have
already agreed that they should focus on the issue of
making people-centred development the centre point of
our strategies to deal with the impact of the process
In the context of our experience, this must mean the
sustained pursuit of the goal of a better life for all.
This encompasses eradicating poverty, fulfilling people's
basic needs and protecting and promoting human rights
and fundamental freedoms, including the basic right
Accordingly, the creation of an international climate
and the necessary institutions and processes conducive
to such people-centred development as the central purpose
of social activity has to be an integral part of the
process of reconstructing the system of international
We are very pleased that the Commonwealth can and will
be in the lead in ensuring that we realise these perspectives.
The relationship between South Africa and the United
Kingdom is almost two centuries old. At times, the relationship
has been a tempestuous one.
Our peoples have fought against each other, as they
have also fought together against a common enemy.
A century ago, the uneasy silence that then shrouded
our country was broken by the thunder of the guns of
war. Peace would not return until almost three years
later when the South African War came to an end.
On the other hand, during the first and second World
Wars South Africans fought side by side with their British
comrades against a common enemy.
As South Africans we have approached the Anglo-Boer/
South African War Centenary in a spirit of reconciliation
and nation building. Long divided by racism, we now
have the opportunity and possibility to unite and together
say never again should our country fall victim to war.
We also approach the commemoration in a true spirit
of friendship with the United Kingdom and its people.
I am pleased to take this opportunity sincerely to thank
Your Majesty and your government for sending as high
a personage as HRH the Duke of Kent to help us commemorate
that start of the South African War in an appropriate
and dignified manner.
We will continuously strive further to strengthen our
close and excellent relations with your Government and
the people of the United Kingdom.
Our two countries are joint proprietors of a rich and
complex history, which has led to the establishment
of an intricate system of relations between our peoples.
This has been of great benefit to us as we strive to
build the new South Africa.
This shared history also places on our countries a
common responsibility to work with others in the quest
for a more just and equitable world.
Allow me to conclude, Your Majesty, by thanking you,
your government and the British people for your continued
interest in the well-being of our own nation.
I wish Your Majesty and His Royal Highness a pleasant
stay in our country.
I look forward to receiving Your Majesty at the Commonwealth
Heads of Government Meeting later this week in Durban.
I have no doubt that during your stay in South Africa
you will once again experience the warmth of our people
in whose hearts Your Majesty and the United Kingdom
occupy a special place.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Please rise and raise your glasses to the health of
Her Majesty the Queen, to the success of the people
of the United Kingdom and to the friendship between