Chairpersons of the Summit,
Messrs Tokyo Sexwale and Peter Goldmark
Your Excellency, President Joaquim Chissano
Your Excellency, President Festus Mogae
Your Excellency, President Robert Mugabe
Honourable Prime Minister B. Dlamini
Honourable Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi
Ladies and Gentlemen

Today, as people across the globe commemorate World Aids day, I invite all of us present here to remember the thousands of our brothers and sisters who have died of AIDS, those afflicted by the HIV Virus and those who as we speak are suffering from full blown AIDS. HIV/AIDS is a reality that has social and economic implications for all of us.

Ladies and gentlemen I would like to begin my input by addressing three issues that were raised on Tuesday in relation to investor perceptions about South Africa. Those are the scourge of HIV/AIDS, perceived high crime levels and labour issues. I would like to make a few points that will I hope, clarify our standpoint and paint a more correct picture of the state of affairs in our country.


HIV/AIDS is a problem in South Africa as in any other country. Government is however making big strides in the fight against this scourge. We are running a huge awareness campaign that we believe is beginning to bear fruit. Although government driven, the campaign has been taken up by other sectors of our society. Our public broadcaster has undertaken to use every opportunity to highlight HIV/AIDS and be ambassadors against it. Local and Provincial government structures are using every opportunity available to them to take the fight forward.

The private sector has done well in the manner in which it has brought the campaign to the work place. From the government's point of view, we are satisfied that we are doing all that we can, given the limited resources that exist in our society. We are currently engaging the pharmaceutical companies with a view to making drugs not only accessible, but affordable to the people that need them the most, the poorest of the poor. We believe that, as in a ware situation, all spheres of humanity ought to act and speak with one voice in fighting this scourge and appeal to the big multinationals not to view this as a mere profit and loss matter.


Beyond HIV/AIDS, the other matter that is raised most often in relation to the situation in South Africa is the question of crime. A lot has been said on this subject and while acknowledging that crime levels, I would like to point out that this is not a unique or abnormal state of affairs in a society like ours that was for a long time closed to all outside influences.

The opening up of our borders following the end of apartheid created space for international criminals. Like the former Eastern European countries we did not escape the fate of all previously closed countries. International crime syndicates descended on our unsuspecting law enforcement agencies that, as we all know, were grossly unprepared, given the fact that their resources were focused on fighting liberation movements.

I believe that the time has now come for us however, to look beyond the statistics. People ought now to start talking about the steps that are being undertaken in the country to combat crime. I believe that we are amongst those in the forefront in this regard in the developing world as we have in place a blue print for the fight against crime. We have adopted an integrated approach to ensure that our various policing and security agencies are able to speak to one another and work in a coherent manner, thereby closing all the loopholes that allow for the proliferation of criminal activity.

All our best plans will come to nothing in the long run however if we do not succeed in narrowing the unacceptably high gap between the rich and the poor in our country.

Our appeal for investment therefore is aimed at expanding the economic base so that all our people can have access to an acceptable living standard.


This brings me to the issue of organised labour in South Africa, which has been described as inflexible and a barrier to investment in some quarters. Viewed differently, a sophisticated union movement that ensures an acceptable living wage for workers should be regarded as a strength rather than a weakness. Higher wages mean that consumers have a bigger disposable income and purchasing power, which can only contribute to economic growth in the long run. Furthermore unionisation is a normal social development that moves in tandem with economic development levels.

European countries are a classic example of countries that have reached a mature level of development and have strong labour organisations. I have a particular belief that developing countries that entice investors at the expense of their workers are sitting on a time bomb, as sooner or later their consciousness will develop, and those workers will at some point begin to demand to be treated fairly.

We are fortunate in that in our country we have the stage where government and labour movements are no longer on opposite sides and are able to engage more meaningfully on matters of national interest relating to nation building, job creation etc. We all fully understand that our future is inter-linked.


Ladies and gentlemen, in the face of rapid globalisation, it is important that we engage more effectively with all sectors of our societies and our neighbours so that together we may find solutions. Globalisation presents us with opportunities to effectively utilise the advances of information technology in telecommunications to address issues of education, access to health care and information, through tele-medicine and tele-education for our people, particularly those in the rural areas and urban peripheries. It also presents a number of challenges for our small economies, that find that they are increasingly marginalised from the world economies and trading systems.

Globalisation, by its very nature, is a process that mariginalises and excludes the poor and most vulnerable sectors of our society, particularly women, children, the disabled and the elderly. Recognising this inherent characteristic, the countries of the South through organisations such as the Commonwealth and the African, Caribbean and Pacific nations (ACP) have stated very clearly their intention to ensure that the next round of the World Trade Organisation negotiations is a developmental one, and demand the full implementation of the Uruguay Round.

We cannot counteract the negative impacts of globalisation without addressing issues of global governance, that include transparency, accountability and equity amongst nations. It is unacceptable that while poverty is globalising at an alarming pace for the majority of our peoples, wealth is being accumulated into fewer and fewer hands. This does not augur well for sustainable economic development. As the gap between the rich and the poor grows, we need to be aware of, and establish, the extent to which globalisation has the potential to generate instability and suffering amongst our people and undermine the efforts of any single developing nation to reverse this. The question: What are the developing nations doing to narrow this gap? begs and answer.

It is clear to me, that in this global village that we all call home, it is not feasible for any single country sub-region to prosper as an island in a sea of poverty and misery. The economic development of South Africa, of SADC and of Africa will therefore not benefit us alone, but Europe and the world as it will foster social stability, peace and economic growth. It is important at this point in time to stress that what our countries need is foreign direct investment, to create sustainable development, rather than speculative investment that could potentially harm our economies.


They synergy that exists amongst Southern African countries has ensured that there is never a threat of border disputes and such related problems that tend to escalate into armed conflicts. On the contrary, initiatives such as the Lubombo Spatial Development Initiative aim to harmonise our regulatory regimes, allow the free movement of people and goods between Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa to allow for a coherent investment strategy that packages the resources that these three countries have to offer. This is but one example.

The Spatial Development Initiatives are designed to ensure integrated development and economic growth within the region. These will enable equitable flows of investments within the region for the rapid development of economic sectors in which we have a comparative advantage.

South African business is being encouraged to take up business opportunities and investment in SADC countries, and the fact that they are doing so in increasing numbers is a sign of confidence in the regional economic bloc. The Trade Protocol we have signed, and which is to come into effect in January 2000, will ensure the creation of a Free Trade Area in SADC. As trade flows increase within the region and our regulations are harmonised, regional integration and the building of economies of scale will begin to be realised.

There is recognition amongst these countries that the failure of one of them is a failure of all, to the extent that it will affect the more successful countries. Given that we have, in just over five years achieved all this, the question one has to ask is "Why the lack of confidence when South Africa has gone so far as to undertake to act as guarantor of loans for project in SADC countries through the Development Bank of South Africa?"

It is clear to SADC countries what needs to be done - the right environment for investment is there, ready and packaged. What we aim to achieve in this conference therefore is to clear some of the misconceptions and perhaps to better clarify what it is that we are doing as a region. The times of the begging bowl are gone for our countries. What we would like to see take place is for the playing fields to be levelled so that developed nations do close up their own economies while demanding that developing nations open themselves up.

We truly believe that given the chance and the right environment, Africa has the potential and the resources to grow and ultimately to complete globally. What we do need from developed countries is a meaningful partnership.

In closing I would like to briefly outline issues that I believe should be tackled if we are to achieve conditions that are conducive to trade and investment flows within our region and Africa as a whole.

Firstly, we must promote, encourage and nurture the enterprising spirit of our ordinary citizens, the resourcefulness and creativity of our people in villages, townships and cities. They represent hope for the renewal and possibilities that are espoused by the concept of the African Renaissance.

Secondly we must aggressively market the continent in the coming century and eradicate the stereotypical images of famine, disease, conflict and despotism that the world has come to associate with Africa by dealing decisively with all remaining undemocratic systems in our continent.

Thirdly, we must forge new relationships based on partnerships and mutual benefit. If we are all in agreement that huge debt repayments threaten the very fabric of our nations by denying millions of people access to quality education, decent and affordable healthcare then drastic debt relief must be high on our agenda.

Finally, the crucial question we need to ask ourselves is:
How do we make our economies sufficiently robust to withstand unfettered competition amongst each other so that we move away from xenophobic hatred that is caused by poverty amongst our people.

Ladies and gentlemen, I put it to you in forming a partnership for the 21st century, business can and must play a pivotal role by speaking out and demanding honest and good governance and the rule of law in the countries where they do business. Stable and peaceful African states will be more effective partners for business as we seek to take our place among the nations of the world. Good governance is not just a prerequisite for governments, but for business and all social partners if we are to realise the vision of an African Renaissance and a new, just, world order.

I thank you.

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2003 Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of South Africa