ADDRESS BY DEPUTY PRESIDENT ZUMA TO
THE SOUTHERN AFRICA TRADE & INVESTMENT SUMMIT, Maputo
1 December 1999
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
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
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
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.
THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
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
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
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
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.