Budget Vote 3: Speech Delivered by Minster Dlamini Zuma, 8 May 2001

Madam Speaker

Honourable Members

Ladies and Gentleman

First and foremost I would like to thank the chair and all members of the portfolio committee for their co-operation and understanding that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has to wage the struggles outside our borders.

Co-operation of my cabinet colleagues is appreciated. I wish to thank the Director-General and his team who are working very hard to carry out the mandate of the government.

Let me also thank my mother and my children for their understanding.

John Reader in his book on Africa a Biography of the Continent says:

"South Africa preserves a flickering hope of transforming dreams into reality". He further says "Nelson Mandela and the shift in political power that he represents affirm the value of integrity and ideals in an era when economic pragmatism is the dominant theme of world affairs. He and South Africa offer hope for all humanity - yes hope from a continent that for too long has seemed to generate nothing but despair."

Our foreign policy therefore is not only anchored on our domestic policy but on this very fact and responsibility that John Reader is talking about that South Africa offers hope for all humanity so we cannot only strive for a better life for South Africa but we have to contribute to the ongoing struggle for a better world. That is what gives us the degree of moral authority in the world.

Our words and deeds individually and collectively have to make sure that this flickering hope of transforming dreams to reality is not dashed.

This has to start with transforming South Africa into a non-sexist, non-racial, democratic, stable, peaceful, just and equitable society and a nation united in its diversity. Internationally, we continue to struggle for a world with these values amongst others.

Democracy,
Good Governance.
People centred development.
Peace, stability and security.
Promote co-operation and partnerships.
Good neighbourliness.
As Africans, we know charity begins at home. Our major efforts are on the African continent and amongst the developing countries.

DEMOCRACY

South Africa actively supports the establishment of democratic governments not only in the continent but the world over. The resolve of the African leaders to isolate and banish any leader who takes power through a coup is a very revolutionary step. The majority of countries in our continent are now run by democratic governments. The major challenge is to strengthen democratic institutions to defend and sustain democracy. South Africa is prepared not only to support but to defend democracy as we did in Lesotho.

We are working closely with Rwanda which is struggling very hard to turn the nightmare of the genocide into a dream of hope where there will be peace, democracy, justice and prosperity for all Rwandese.

Internationally there has been a resurgence of right-wing parties, especially in developed countries. In the recently held Conference of the Community of Democracies we exchanged information and examined the working of democracies with developed countries. It emerged that developed countries too have problems with the working of democracies and need the assistance of the developing countries.

PEACE, STABILITY AND SECURITY

South Africa is committed to making a contribution towards a peaceful Continent and peaceful world. Peace and stability are the prerequisites for democracy, development and co-operation.

The United Nations Security Council in particular remains the agent for our collective security. In discharging our responsibilities as a member of the UN we are actively participating in the United Nations peacekeeping missions in Ethiopia/Eritrea and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where we have sent a continent of specialized unit.

We are participating in an effort to restore peace in Burundi with former President Mandela as facilitator.

Judge Langa is involved in the efforts to resolve problems in Fiji through the Commonwealth.

Peace in Angola and Sudan is still elusive and therefore presents a challenge to all of us.

ECOWAS and the UN are doing commendable work in Sierra Leone.

As South Africa we are very concerned with the situation in the Middle East, in Palestine, It is the most serious crisis facing the world at present. If not resolved it has the potential of not only destabilising the region but the whole world. It might unleash the worst form of terrorism.

The Palestinians have a right to self-determination and therefore the realisation of a Palestinian sovereign state remains the goal. Israel has a right to exist and to be secure. But, the security of Israel is also linked to the security of the Palestinians and the region as a whole. It is important to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to go back to the negotiations. We also endorse the call by President Arafat to use the Egypt and Jordanian plan as the basis for the resumption of negotiations.

It is in that spirit that as Chair of the Non Aligned Movement we convened the Committee on Palestine here in South Africa last week.

STABILITY

Stability is very important in our region. South Africa welcomes President Chiluba's decision not to seek a third term. This will strengthen democracy and encourage stability in Zambia and we hope everyone will follow that example.

Zimbabwe remains of great concern to us. We have to continue to engage the Zimbabwe government whilst pointing out firmly and frankly where we disagree with them. We have a responsibility to avoid a complete collapse and not to make things worse for ordinary Zimbabweans. All of us can help to a point but it is the Zimbabweans that must surely take final decisions. The future destiny of Zimbabwe is in their hands.

The land issue still needs to be resolved because it will not go away but it has to be resolved lawfully and peacefully.

South Africa must continue to act in a way that maintains that flickering hope of transforming dreams into reality rather than to get short term praise that does not solve the problem. In the same way that the Lockerbie impasse was unlocked by engaging the Lybians and not condemning them. We were condemned at the time but we persevered until a solution was found.

DISARMAMENT

Global disarmament is high on our agenda for peace and stability of the world. Today is the 56th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. This must remind the world of the important International treaties and agreements which should be implemented and strengthened in order to finally eliminate all weapons of mass destruction. The agreements and arrangements inevitably involve compromises on all sides and unilateral action destabilises fragile global security arrangements and it should be avoided.

South Africa has placed a high priority on the elimination of anti-personnel landmines and the illicit trafficking in and proliferation of small arms and light weapons. These weapons are contributing to the conflicts. We have collectively expressed our views through the OAU Bamako Declaration of December 2000 and the SADC declaration on Fire-arms of March 2001. We shall actively participate in the UN first international conference on this topic and we shall seek to promote international co-operation on illicit trade in small arms and light weapons.

CULTURE OF HUMAN RIGHTS

The United Nations Universal Declaration on Human Rights recognises, inter alia, that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They have inherent dignity, equality and inalienable rights of all members of the human family, which are a foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. It also proclaims the enjoyment of freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and wants as the highest aspiration of ordinary people; and, reaffirms faith in fundamental human rights, the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of all people.

South Africa is in the forefront of this struggle having introduced this culture for the first time through the ANC Government in our own country. Human rights have to include the right to education, health, shelter and food.

Human rights include children's rights and have to work for elimination of child soldiers, child labour, child abuse and trafficking in children. Children must be allowed to develop their full human potential in a peaceful, stable and secure environment.
Women's rights are human rights. South Africa is in the forefront of the struggle for a non-sexist world. We hope that the international community will continue to support struggles for the emancipation of women in all countries.
TOLERANCE
The world is becoming increasingly intolerant. Racism, xenophobia, and religious intolerance, including islamophobia, is on the increase. We have to be relentless in this struggle given our own tragic history. Our contribution to the World Conference against Racism is going to be very important, not only in hosting but also in the actual debates and influencing the outcome of the conference. They chose South Africa precisely because of this flickering hope of transforming the non-racial and non-sexist dream into reality that South Africa holds for all humanity. These are the challenges of our time and we have to rise to them.

PEOPLE CENTRED DEVELOPMENT

There is now consensus the world over that the biggest challenge of the 21st century is Africa's under-development. South Africa is expected to play a leading role together with other countries to tackle this challenge. It was agreed in Cairo last year that we need a Marshall Plan for the recovery of Africa. President Mbeki together with the Presidents of Algeria and Nigeria were then mandated to develop the Plan.

THE MILLENIUM AFRICA RECOVERY PROGRAMME

This is a plan inspired by Africa's architectural artistic and cultural heritage, and Africa's ancient civilisation. It is informed by the challenges facing us especially Africa's underdevelopment and identifies priorities that must receive immediate attention. These include:

Peace, Security and governance
Investing in Africa's people : education, health, food and security
Diversification of Africa's production and exports.
Investing in Information Communication Technology and other basic infrastructures.
Developing financing mechanism.
For the successful implementation of the plan we need partnerships at various levels with Governments, Business and Civil society as well as with Multilateral organisations - such as the World Bank, IMF and other institutions. Co-operation with the G8, EU, Nordic countries, China, Japan, Brazil, India, the Arab countries as well as the countries of the South.

In pursuance of these objectives later this month we shall be participating in the 3rd United Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC's) in Brussels which will decide on measures to improve the plight of the LDC's. Next year the UN Conference on Financing for Development will take place in Mexico further to find means and ways to extricate developing countries from conditions of under-development. The Conference on Sustainable development in Johannesburg next year is very important in this regard of people centred development.

South Africa will have to contribute to this not only by attending conferences and developing plans but also by making its own institutions and resources available for the implementation of this Africa Recovery plan.

INSTITUTIONAL MECHANISM

Africa needs institutions to carry out this agenda at the national, regional continental and international level.

THE RESTRUCTURING OF SADC

The restructuring should result in raising the effectiveness of this organisation. The recent extra-ordinary SADC Summit held on the 9th of March 2001, in Windhoek, Summit approved the Report on the Review of the Operations of SADC Institutions presented to it by the Council of Ministers.

The major recommendations of the Report include a more streamlined and centralised structure for the organisation, which moves away from the sectoral approach of the past, in favour of an integrated and co-ordinated programme of activities for the region. The Organ on Politics, Defence and Security which has been in existence since 1986 under the Chair of Zimbabwe will henceforth be chaired on a rotational basis with the period of Chairpersonship of 1 year. The Chair of the Organ shall not simultaneously hold the Chairpersonship of SADC and will be accountable to the chair of SADC and Summit. Like SADC, the Organ will also function on a Troika basis.

The successful conclusion of the restructuring exercise is certain to impact positively in the SADC region's quest to position the region favourably to collectively address the myriad challenges ahead.

AFRICAN UNION

Two-thirds of the countries have ratified the Constitutive Act. In this regard I commend the swift action taken by this House to enable Government to ratify this act, and as a result we are amongst the 36 founder members of the African Union. The African Union is going to deal with political and stability issues as well as developmental and economic matters. There will be Technical Committees, which will deal with:

Rural Economy and Agriculture;
Monetary and Financial Affairs;
Trade, Customs and Immigration;
Industry, Science and Technology, Energy, Natural Resources and Environment;
Transport, Communication and Tourism;
Health, Labour and Social Affairs.
The Constitutive Act makes provision for a defined transitional period to ensure a smooth and gradual transition of the OAU and AEC into the Union.

The Pan African Parliament has a critical role in evolving common values of democracy, Human rights, governance, on-sexism, and tolerance in the continent.

Democracy is not only important for countries but international institutions must also be democratic. In order to achieve a just world order the reform of international institutions is a must.

South Africa is committed to the reform and fundamental renewal of multilateral institutions to bring about a system of global governance that is more just, representative and sensitive to the needs of Africa and the South. The United Nations Security Council, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, to name but three, are of particular importance in this regard.


The UN Security Council is the premier global instrument to safeguard international peace and security, but because of its unrepresentative nature, is facing major challenges to its credibility. It is therefore not in an ideal position to effectively fulfil the fundamental responsibilities entrusted to it by the international community at the time of the adoption of the UN Charter. This issue is of particular importance for Africa and the developing world.


It should be noted that over half of the Council’s day to day business revolves around developments on the Continent. Yet Africa is neither adequately nor equitably represented on the Council. In order to more effectively address today’s security requirements the Council must be reformed to fully reflect the principles of the sovereign equality of all Member States and of equitable geographic representation. In this regard South Africa will continue to strongly support the African common position in calling for two permanent seats to be allocated to the Continent in a reformed Council.

As a government and a department do we have the institutional capacity to carry out this formidable task before us? My simple answer is that we are short staffed both at Head Office and abroad. The Deputy Minister will deal with what we are doing to restructure our own department in order to meet all these challenges.

GLOBAL HEALTH CHALLENGES

In a few months the United Nations will focus on the most serious health challenge of our time, HIV/AIDS. Two weeks ago the leaders of the continent were also grappling with HIV/AIDS, TB, Malaria and other communicable diseases. The struggle for health care as a right must continue.

For all these challenges and struggles we need to mobilize the most important and dependable partner - the masses of our people in South Africa on the Continent and in the world.

It has been shown that with their support the struggle for justice, peace and development can be won. The small but significant victory against the pharmaceutical companies is a good example. The struggle for affordable drugs is a just struggle to save lives and humanity. We must continue to offer hope to all humanity. In the same vein, let me express my deep gratitude to the international community for its solidarity with South Africa.

I do hope that the opposition parties particularly the NNP/DP and others which voted against that bill and launched a scathing and vitriolic attacks against the Government will be big enough to admit that they were wrong and join the ANC in the struggle for a just and equitable world rather than be informed by narrowed sectarian economic interests and the protection of the rich.

The struggle for a better world continues.

I thank you.


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