Foreign Affairs Budget Vote11 , Address by Minister Dlamini Zuma to the National Assembly, 14 March 2000

Madam Speaker,

Honourable Members,

It is a great pleasure and privilege to stand before this esteemed house to present my first budget vote as Minister of Foreign Affairs. I do so with great humility as someone stepping into the large shoes of that great son of Africa, the veteran of our liberation movement and the architect of our country’s foreign policy as a young democratic nation; the late honourable Alfred Nzo. I pay tribute to his relentless efforts to lay a solid foundation upon which I am challenged to build.

I stand before you at the dawn of the African century for the African Renaissance. A time in our history when we as a people of the continent are resolutely turning our backs to the ugly past of colonialism, apartheid and oppression; to ignorance, hunger, disease and poverty; to war, violence and an absence of peace; to intolerance of each other’s differences, disregard for human rights and an absence of democracy; to socio-economic underdevelopment, economic dependence and poverty.

This is our past about which we intend not to lament, but to convincingly conquer in order to make real the dream of African Renaissance. We are under no illusion that its vestiges and legacy often affronts us as obstacles in our resolute course to a better future.

In doing this we shall build on the foundation laid by our forebears. Those great revolutionaries who conquered colonial and apartheid oppression. Our foresighted leadership of today has declared the year 2000 as the year of peace in Africa.

They have set themselves a daunting challenge of ending all wars in the continent by the year-end. They have unambiguously rejected military unconstitutional regimes. As economic development is central to the African Renaissance, they are implementing the Abuja Treaty whose regional economic blocs will lead to the formation of African Economic Community. They have mandated our own President Mbeki together with the current chairperson of the OAU President Bouteflika to champion the continent’s cause for debt cancellation. Through these and numerous other similar efforts, our leaders and people are showing, not only their impatience with the legacy of the past, but a determination to overcome it.

The agenda of the African century for the African Renaissance will inform the programmes of the Ministry during my term of office. In pursuit of these, our policy and programme will rest on four broad pillars. These are Development, Peace and Security, Governance; and Transformation of the related institutions.

Economic Development

At the centre of our strategy must be the integration of, not only our economy into the world system, but those of other countries in the African continent. Such integration must advance the interests of our continent. For this reason we have played a leadership role, to ensure that the new international trade protocols of the WTO enhance the development agenda of the South.

Establishing co-operation with the various emerging economic blocs is one of the central features of South Africa’s foreign policy. We concluded a Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) with the EU. This agreement must be implemented without further delay. The industrialised world must be able to co-operate with smaller developing economies when they seek to trade fairly.

We also played a leading role in 1999 in the negotiations with the EU for a successor agreement to the Lome Convention. We will continue to fulfil our obligations and make an important contribution as a respected member of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group.

Afro /Arab co-operation and relations between the region and the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) will receive further attention. In this regard we have been a founder and an active member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC).

We will also improve our relations with the states of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). In pursuit of this, a Mission has been opened in Kingston, Jamaica.

Most countries of our region have successful economic reform programmes in place. The process of regional integration has many opportunities for the citizens of our respective countries. The ratification of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Trade Protocol in January 2000 confirmed our common commitment to establish a Free Trade Area. This will make our region an attractive investment destination and a gateway into the larger African market.

We are about to start negotiations for a Trade Agreement with the MERCOSUR. This will strengthen our links with South America. We have just returned from Chile where we were part of a historic event; the Inauguration of a Socialist President Ricardo Lagos, the first Socialist President since the coup against the Allende government.

We intend to use various fora to articulate positions of Africa and the developing world in dialogue with the industrialised world. These will, among others include the Euro/Africa Summit of April 2000 in Cairo, the South African/Nordic Summit in June, the G8 meeting in July 2000 and the China/Africa Co-operation Forum to be held in Beijing in October.

The 13th NAM Ministerial Conference in Cartagena and the South Summit of Heads of State and Government in Havana, both in April 2000, will co-ordinate the efforts of the developing world in preparing positions ahead of the Millennium Summit which will evaluate international agreements and their impact since the beginning of the century.

Our Embassies and High Commissions abroad spend more than 60% of their time on trade and investment related matters such as sustaining our market share, exploring and opening up new markets, facilitating joint ventures, and negotiating bilateral economic co-operation agreements.

We have to strengthen trade and investment relations with Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and the Caribbean in order to diversify. An increasing number of our top twenty trading partners now hail from these regions.

In a few days time, I will be visiting China in order to further strengthen and expand our relations with that country, and to prepare for the first State visit by the Chinese President to South Africa when Mr Jiang Zemin does so in April.

Social Development

An exclusive focus on economic dimensions of development would be extremely limited and unwise. Culturally, we are in a global village. Innovations in communications and information technology make it possible to disseminate ideas, images and symbols at the blink of an eye. Unfortunately much of the developing world, particularly Africa does not have access and cannot share in this wealth of information and knowledge. In an age of increasing global secularism there is, however, also a need to provide space for cultural identity and to accommodate those who feel threatened by this phenomenon.

The impact of HIV/AIDS echoes through every facet of our societies, crippling workforces and leading to unmanageable demands on our health care systems. The African Renaissance remains threatened unless the people of our continent, who should deliver this vision, are free from the scourge of this terrible disease.

South Africa is committed to the promotion of human rights internationally. In light of this South Africa has accepted the request by the UN to host the World Conference on Racism in the second half of 2001. We are uniquely positioned to contribute to the international community’s quest to combat racism in all its manifestations.

The United Nations General Assembly Special Sessions on Women 2000 and on Social Development will enable us to place on the world agenda the concerns we have about the continued marginalisation of women in our society.

Peace and Security

The regional conflicts wreaking havoc across the continent cast a dark shadow over the prospects of success of the vision of the African Renaissance. Nobody should entertain the illusion that we might be compelled to join one or other belligerent in any of these conflicts.

We believe that these wars cause human misery and pain, they reverse whatever little gains we make in socio-economic development, they divert limited and much needed resources to fulfil often unattainable military solutions. The ratio of military to civilian casualties in these wars is thought to have been 8:1 at the start of the century, now it stands at 1:8. It is wrong to think that all conflicts should be solved through the barrel of the gun. Political solutions should be explored at all times.

For this reason, we are committed to participate in peace missions wherever our contribution is required and a legitimate international mandate exists. In the DRC there can be no alternative to a peaceful resolution of that country’s conflict.

We are happy to have played our small part in the development of the Lusaka Peace Agreement, which enjoys the support of all the parties to the conflict in that country. This framework enjoys the support of the OAU and the UN.

In this context we welcome the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force to implement the Cease-fire Agreement and we support the former President of Botswana, HE Sir Ketumile Masire, in his role as Facilitator for the internal process of dialogue in that country. We are committed to stand by the people of the Congo as they make this difficult journey, to support and encourage them wherever we can. For this reason I will be visiting the DRC, Kinshasa at the end of this week.

During my visit to Burundi earlier this month, I was struck by the desperation of that country’s people for peace and the reconstruction of their society. They count on our support to encourage the world not to forget their plight and to urge those involved in the violent conflict to give peace a chance. I therefore wish to assure former President Mandela, the Facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process, of our fullest support in this endeavour.

The twenty six-year conflict in Angola is of great concern as it spreads and affects other countries in the region. Like that of the DRC, it threatens the stability of a number of countries in Southern Africa.

We supports all the UN sanctions against UNITA and shall continue to work closely with the UN for the success of these measures in order to secure a peaceful solution.

We are aware that some of our citizens have been involved in efforts aimed at undermining the UN sanctions. We shall take firm action against all those involved. South Africa will continue to advocate for a political solution to the conflict in Angola as we remain convinced that there can be no lasting military solution. We urge UNITA once again to abandon war and embrace peace.

With regard to the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea progress has been made towards the implementation of the OAU peace plan. We support the ongoing IGAD process in Sudan and hope that both parties namely the Sudanese government and SPLA will reach early settlement.

Human security is a foreign policy idea and a political imperative. It is a responsibility placed on our agenda by the weight of public opinion that is often shocked by live television broadcast of the impact of natural disasters.

Our High Commissioner, Ms Jessie Duarte acted with a sense of urgency and alerted us in a manner, which enabled the Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs to act swiftly resulting in thousands of lives being saved.

It is in this context that we applaud the heroic efforts of our Defence Force who rescued about 13 000 desperate Mozambicans and formed part of the international community in the distribution of humanitarian aid.

The support extended to Mozambique from fellow African countries with meagre resources is a true sign of African solidarity. It is with a sense of pride that Africa was seen to take the lead in this time of crisis. We welcome humanitarian support that has since flowed from other countries. We hope that the international community will assist in the major task of reconstruction and development of Mozambique.

Mozambique was not the only country affected by this disaster, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa as well as Madagascar. The challenge that faces us is to develop early warning capability, generate sufficient resources to prevent such human catastrophe and where we cannot, an ability to minimise threat to the lives of our citizens. We can only do this through co-operation in Africa and support from others.

At this moment twenty-nine South African experts are assisting Ethiopia to put out a fire that has been raging for almost a month.

South Africa has keenly supported the initiative on the Conference on Security, Stability, Development and Co-operation in Africa (CSSDCA), and serves on the steering committee to further this process on the African continent. We believe that this initiative represents a much-needed process in Africa, and constitutes a catalyst which can enhance and speed up the OAU political and African Economic Community (AEC) economic integration processes. South Africa is looking forward to hosting the OAU Summit in 2002.


The past decade has seen a wave of democratisation sweep the continent with freely elected leaders coming to power. Unconstitutional changes in government were unequivocally condemned by Member States at the OAU Summit in Algiers in 1999. African governments are generally embracing the values of good governance and respect for human rights and these are becoming entrenched in their actions.

Our President has been asked to lead the process of setting the unconstitutional cessation of the Anjuan regime and military take over of government in the Comoros. Good progress has been made to put pressure on the Anjuan regime to maintain the integrity of the Comoros as a unified sovereign state. The OAU also endorsed efforts of the committee to return the Comoros to constitutional order and bring an end to the military regime.

As a country, we stand prepared to support these initiatives using the wealth of experience and expertise that our people have in this regard or provide requisite logistical assistance to ensure that the electoral system reaches all those eligible to vote. We provided the logistical support in the form of helicopters for the Mozambican elections.

South Africa has also actively participated in the proceedings of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), a process aimed at prosecuting persons responsible for genocide and other serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the territory of Rwanda in 1994.

In order for us to play our new role meaningfully and effectively within our modest means, I will be tabling the African Renaissance and International Co-operation Bill in the second quarter of this session of parliament. This law will enable us to co-ordinate, plan and direct our efforts in this regard in a better way.

Apart from participation in various international fora, South Africa will this year also be involved in initiatives aimed at improving the security of Africa’s citizens. These include negotiations on an International Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, and the 10th UN Crime Congress that will take place in April 2000, in Vienna.

Institutional Transformation

Creation of a better world is imperative to have supportive organisational and other institutional mechanisms.

Immense trust and confidence is placed on South Africa, particularly by the developing world resulting in our election to leadership roles of various multilateral organisations including NAM and the Commonwealth.

Yesterday, Monday 13 March, was Commonwealth Day. As we reflect on the unique role that it has played in helping to shape South Africa’s peaceful transition to democracy, we are also aware of the special responsibility placed on South Africa, whose President Thabo Mbeki is the first-ever Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth as well as Chair of its High Level Group which will be examining the future role of the Commonwealth.

We continue to advocate the reform and renewal of multilateral institutions, particularly the United Nations, the World Bank and the IMF. The UN Security Council remains the paramount global instrument to safeguard peace and security. Capacity must be built to be able to address new, non-traditional threats to security such as ethnic conflict, mass refugee flows, illicit small arms trafficking, gross human rights abuse, failures of governance and the rule of law and abject human deprivation.

Transformation of Department of Foreign Affairs

Clearly the challenges that confront us in the pursuit of these policy objectives require that the Department of Foreign Affairs should itself undergo a thoroughgoing transformation. In this regard measures are in place to develop a comprehensive departmental strategic plan for transformation. This plan which will span a three to five-year period will be finalised before the end of the year. The plan will cover such issues as programme and policy orientation, fundamental organisational reform and repositioning of missions. The objective would be to ensure that we have efficient and effective capacity to deliver on our mandate. These processes are already underway as we recognise the urgency to enhance our efficiency.

Clearly the breadth and scope of the challenge ahead of us would require the utilisation of a range of resources available to the state including the support of other departments and ministries. We would also consult broadly with the various organs of civil society to ensure their participation in a manner that would not impinge on their independence and autonomy.

Effective communication of our policies and programmes and indeed the agenda of the African Renaissance will form an important part of our strategy. In this regard, a co-ordinated approach that brings the various agencies in our international work such as the various government departments, ISA, SATOUR and other similar organisations will be important. The Cabinet decision to establish a programme "Imaging and Branding South Africa" which will be implemented with the assistance of the Government Communications and Information Services (GCIS) under the guidance of an international committee that will be chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs is a welcome development.

I want to place on record my appreciation for the guidance from the President and the Deputy President, to Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Aziz Pahad for his support and counsel, the DG, the DDG’s and the entire staff in the department for their hard work. I hope that the new year will witness an even greater measure of co-ordination of our efforts to realise common objectives. The newly formed Cabinet Committee and Cluster Committee system on International Relations, Peace and Security will lay a firm basis for this.

We remain on course!!!

I thank you.

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