Speech Given by Deputy Minister Pahad in Parliament on Tuesday, 13 June 2000

Madam Speaker, Kofi Annan recently noted: "The time is long past when anyone could claim ignorance about what was happening in Africa, or what was needed to achieve progress. The time is also past when the responsibilities for producing change could be shifted onto other shoulders. It is a responsibility we must also face"

Today we are acutely conscious of the fact that the technological revolution and information highway ensures that we are constantly bombarded with reports of African conflicts, brutality and famine. The Afro-sceptics and Afro-pessimists have been reinforced in their conviction that nothing good can come out of Africa.

A recent editorial in the Washington Post noted:

"Africa’s apparent hopelessness is now so widely accepted that it is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy".

Sadly elements on the left side are the Judases in our country who are the purveyors of not only Afro-pessimism but also of South African pessimism. The interventions made by Hon Leon and his party reflects muddled and distorted thinking of right-wing neo-liberalism and infantile disorder.

Like Groebels and Fuehrer Adolph they also believe that if they continuously repeat lies and distortions it will become the truth.

Like former President PW Botha, who Hon Leon is emulating, he also seems to have made up his mind and therefore refuses to be confused by facts.

They refuse to acknowledge that the South African government has principally and consistently championed the cause of democracy, human rights, peace and stability.

Unlike Hon Leon we do not do so selectively.

We have been actively involved in Angola, the DRC, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Burundi, the Middle East [an issue on which the Hon Leon is very silent], Western Sahara, East Timor to mention but a few.

It is in this context that I want to deal with the hysterical outbursts by elements of the media and members on the left on the issue of Zimbabwe.

This is a single issue that has been so heatedly raised by the opposition and sectors of the media. It is not surprising because conciously or unconciously evokes memories of the Mau-Mau, rampaging blacks and deep feelings of kit and kin.

Hon Leon asked whether the ANC would have agreed to participate in the elections in 1994 if there was intimidation and violence. I don’t know what planet he was living in.

Is he not aware of Chris Hani’s assassination, the massacres in Boipatong, the killing fields of KwaZulu Natal and the Rand, and the bombs that were exploding in many areas.

Does he not follow the proceedings of the TRC which exposes the horrific actions of 3rd force elements, right until the eve of the elections? Obviously not.

Hon Leon, Van Schalkwyk and Bible thumping Reverand must have been too busy fabricating bad speeches that they failed to read todays newspapers which reported that President Mbeki yesterday said that "we want free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. We are against stolen elections" and South African would not accept rigged elections in Zimbabwe.

The President has been attacked for our quiet diplomacy in Zimbabwe.

According to the Oxford Dictionary quiet is "calm, unobstrusive not showy". Diplomacy is "management of, and skills in managing international relations and tact".

If this is our critics understanding of quiet diplomacy not only are we willing to defend it, but we will persue it in Zimbabwe and elsewhere.

In his State of the Nationl address president Mbeki said "we have resisted the temptation to assure a counter-productive holier than thou attitude. He went on to say that this has also contributed to the fight against the mischieviuos effort to create a psychosis of fear in our country."

Our primary objective is to ensure long lasting stability and prosperity in Zimbabwe. This is vital for our own stability and prosperity.

What have we done?

We have consistantly said that that –

violence must end

conditions must be created so that the veterans leave the farms

the land issue must be dealt with in terms of the 1998 conference agreements

The President has repeated this on several occasions including in Zimbabwe.

The ANC in Parliament has passed several motions on Zimbabwe .

We have played an important role in ensuring that thousands of independent observers are in Zimbabwe, including many South Africans.

We have sought to mobilise funds to help implement the 1998 Agreement to deal with the land issue.

We have been in contact with all political parties in Zimbabwe as well as the farmers and the private sector.

We have been in constant contact with the UNSG, with the Commonwealth, with our partners in SADC, with our leaders in Africa and Europe to ensure that we achieve peace and stability in Zimbabwe.

What move do the windbags on the left want us to do. Are they secretly harbouring the notion that like in the past we should send in the boys in uniform to sort out the situation.

Or is it simply an opportunist ploy to get votes in the local government elections. The DPs election campaign is trying to use "swart-gevaar" tactics to stampede minorities to vote for them.

Let me remind them that such tactics were used by fascism in the 40s and is once again rearing its ugly head in Europe. This is a dangerous game for the DP to play in South Africa.

Secondly the DP fails to recognise that progress has been made in SA.

In his first year as President, all Thabo Mbeki needed to do to save the Rand was to crush the unions, slash the civil service, host a fire sale of State assets and strongarm Mugabe to line.

This is the potted wisdom of a significant past of SA’s population, the part which, 6 years wto the new South Africa, still controls much of the economy. But a more sober assessment by some of the countries most influencial economist in international players tell a more complex and encouraging story .. how the top politicians and officials have not done a bad job at all. (Cape Argus 13/6/00)

Thirdly they continue to refuse to accept that after years of being a pariah state, SA has joined the community of nations as a most respected and important player.

The Skagen Declaration

"We the participants of the Nordic-South Africa Summit, note with appreciation the ever strengthening ties between South Africa and the Nordic countries, as evidenced by the unique quantity of the Nordic-south Africa Summit."

The Nordic Prime Ministers expressed their support to President Mbeki’s African Initiative for rapid economic growth and sustainable development on the African Continent.

(Prime Minister blair) "We congratulate President Mbeki and his government on their sound management of the economy, and the principles they are working towards and we pledge our support for South Africa’s drive towards encouraging the rebirth of the continent.

Clearly the President has been acknowledged as a world Statesman, who is making a profound impact on the world’s response to Kofi Annan’s challenge. "The central challenge we face today is to ensure that globalisation becomes a positive force for all the world’s people, instead of leaving billions of them behind in squalor … Market forces alone will not achieve it. It requires a broader effort to create a shared future, based on our common humanity in all its diversity". He went on to say "we must put people at the centre of everything we do". (Kofi Annan).


It is therefore difficult to understand Hon Leon’s ridiculous statement that "the President has taken on the mantle of responsibility of poorer nations on the world stage … but he deserves condemnation [because] the poorest people here at home have seen little of their President this year. They have even heard less from him".

How do we develop a people centred modern, prosperous economy in splendid isolation. How do we tackle the gross legacies of undevelopment of the past in splendid isolation.

How do we ensure that the globalised world economy works in the interest of all, rich and poor, big and small.

The Managing Director of the IMF, Michael Camdessus, called for "a new kind of civilisation to be created … by making global solidarity more than just and adjunct of national policies". He went on to say that "the global solidarity required, does not simply mean offering something superfluous. It means dealing with vested interests, certain lifestyles and models of consumption, and entrenched power structures in countries."

This demands that we challenge the developed countries to show the political will to inter alia address key issues such as:

The cancellation of the Debt-burden of the Highly Indebted Poor Countries;

The taking of extraordinary measures to ensure substantial increase in foreign direct investments in Africa, eg the Marshall Aid Plan in Europe after the Second World War;

How to increase the ODA to meet the UN target;

How to give Africa greater market access for its exports, including agricultural products;

How to ensure the transfer of affordable technology to Africa.

This is precisely what the President and his government have been doing. We will ignore the stupid logic of Hon Leon and continue to do what we have correctly been doing. We can’t do otherwise because the reality is that the majority of Africans live in countries where economic progress performed badly or declined. According to latest UN statistics, of the 5 sub-regions in Africa, only 2 accounting for only 25% of the continent’s population enjoyed a positive growth performance. Growth decelerated in the remaining 3 sub-regions negatively impacting on 75% of Africa’s population.

Many of our countries are saddled with severe debt problems. In 1980 the total debt stock of the highly indebted countries, the overwhelming majority of whom are African stood at about $59 billion by 1997 it had increased to $201 billion. Outstanding external debts in many African countries exceed entire GNP and debt service requirements exceed 25 per cent of their total export earnings. In the same period, the debt service paid had increased from $5.9 billion to about $8.7 billion.

Official development assistance declined by almost a 1/5th in real terms since 1992. It is estimated that in the period between 1992 and 1997 assistance to the highly indebted poor countries declined from about $13 billion annually to $11 billion.

Africa has failed to attract substantive foreign direct investment. Many African countries have taken measures to create a climate conducive to Foreign Direct Investment, which includes trade liberalisation, the strengthening of the rule of law, improvements in legal and other instruments as well as greater investment in infrastructure development, privatisation, greater accountability and transparency, greater degree of financial and budgetary discipline and the creation and consolidation of multi-party democracies.

Since 1990 the profit levels of foreign companies in Africa has averaged 29%, higher than any other region in the world. Sadly this has not led to sufficient Foreign Direct Investment. Africa, which has the highest number of least developed countries, continues to grapple with the fact that its share of FDI flowing to developing countries, declined from more than 11% in the period 1976-1980 to 4% in 1996-1997.

The dire consequences of this is that the largest percentage of people in the world living on less than one dollar a day are to be found in sub-Saharan Africa; growth per capita income which averaged 1,3 per cent in the sixties, was reduced to 0,8 per cent in the seventies and further reduced to minus 1.2 per cent in the eighties; today per capita income is as low as $500 per annum; electrical power consumption per person is the lowest in the world; Africa has 14 telephone lines per 1,00 and less than half of 1 percent of all Africans have used the internet.

Chairperson,

Today, it is generally accepted that economic, social and cultural rights, i.e. the right to sustainable development that benefits the people, the right to life, the right to work, education and health is as important as political and civil rights.

The Vienna Conference on Human Rights also affirmed that the existence of widespread extreme poverty prevents the full and effective enjoyment of human rights.

Despots and dictators flourish in an environment of abject poverty, a sad reality for the vast majority of Africans. We have to therefore tackle the issue of poverty if we want to ensure that democracy, good governance and the rule of law is not only achieved but sustained.

We are not windbags who can indulge in the luxury of scepticism and despondency, but we must constructively and critically examine the challenges facing Africa and the developing countries.

Let me inform the dinossaurs of politics in the Democratic Party that today a fresh wind of confidence and optimism is blowing in our continent. South African President, Thabo Mbeki recently said that "there exists within our continent a generation which has been victim to all things which created the negative past, this generation remains African and carries with it a historic pride which compels it to seek a place for Africans equal to all other peoples of our common universe. I believe that the new African generations have learned and are learning from the experiences of the past. I further believe that they are unwilling to continue to repeat the wrongs that have occurred".

These leaders are leading the campaign for an African Renaissance, which has as its objectives:

the establishment of democratic political systems to ensure the accomplishment of the goal that "the people shall govern";

ensuring that these systems take into account African specifics so that, while being truly democratic and protecting human rights, they are nevertheless designed in ways which really ensure that political and therefore, peaceful means can be used to address the competing interests of different social groups in each country;

establishing the institutions and procedures which would enable the continent collectively to deal with questions of democracy, peace and stability;

achieving sustainable economic development that results in the continuous improvement of the standards of living and the quality of life of the masses of the people;

qualitatively changing Africa’s place in the world economy so that it is free of the yoke of the international debt burden and no longer supplier of raw materials and an importer of manufactured goods;

ensuring the emancipation of women of Africa;

successfully confronting the scourge of HIV/AIDS;

the rediscovery of Africa’s creative past to recapture the peoples’ cultures, encourage artistic creativity and restore popular involvement in both accessing and advancing science and technology;

strengthening the genuine independence of African countries and continent in their relations with major powers and enhancing their role in the determination of the global system of governance in all fields, including politics, the economy, security, information and intellectual property, the environment and science and technology. (President Thabo Mbeki)

We know that these objectives will not be achieved overnight, it is a process that will take decades. We have no illusions about the difficult path we have to traverse. We know that, while we make progress, we will also have many setbacks. However, we are moved by a commitment and determination to make this the African Century.

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