ADDRESS AT THE SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT,
13 June 2001
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am greatly honoured that you have given us the opportunity
to address the Scottish Parliament. I thank you most
sincerely for this privilege.
We meet today to cement a long-standing and special
relationship between Scotland and South Africa, spanning
more than two centuries.
Scattered throughout South Africa are Scottish names
that attest to the relationship between our peoples,
in an earlier epoch. For example, many of the roads
through our world-famous mountain passes were designed
and constructed by a Scot, Andrew Geddes Baines, more
than a century and a half ago.
Yet the impact of Scotland on South Africa goes far
deeper than simply the physical manifestations of a
Scottish presence. When in 1795, the London Missionary
Society started its work in South Africa, no one would
have anticipated that it would contribute indelibly
to a non-racial tradition in South Africa which would
finally come to fruition with our 1993 and 1996 constitutions.
As you know, John Philip, a Scottish missionary, came
to South Africa in 1819, and made a profound contribution
both with regard to exposing thousands of Black people
to literacy, technical, agricultural and commercial
skills, and to the promotion of a society of equal rights
for all, irrespective of colour.
Through his own lobbying and that of his congregations,
he ensured the passage of the Cape Ordinance 50, which
sought to ensure that future legislation in the Cape
does not discriminate on the basis of colour.
When in 1834, through an act of the British Parliament,
slaves were finally freed, again it was Philip's lobbying
that ensured that attempts by the Cape Legislature to
reverse the non-racial principle were overturned.
Together with his son-in-law, James Fairbairn, who
virtually established the freedom of the press in the
Cape Colony, Philip challenged the conventional racist
views of the times and pressed forward with the promotion
of the rights of Africans.
Largely through the efforts of Philip and Fairbairn,
the Cape Colony became, at least legally, the first
of colonies in South Africa to move towards a non-racial
political order, until the qualified non-racial franchise
and common voters' roll in the Cape were finally removed
in the 20th century.
Perhaps as important, it was in the area of education
that the Scottish influence was felt most. When William
Govan became the first Principal of Lovedale College
founded by the Glasgow Missionary Society in 1841, he
started a tradition of equal education, which developed,
into an important educational institution in the Eastern
Lovedale remained a non-racial co-educational school
until the 1890s when legislation made this increasingly
difficult. Generations of Africans were educated at
Lovedale until it was finally closed by the apartheid
regime in the 1960s. I am proud to say that I, too,
am a product of Lovedale.
The impact of Lovedale and its role in promoting a
fundamental belief in the equality of human beings is
incalculable. It is for no small reason that it is said
that Lovedale was Scotland's finest gift to South Africa.
Similarly, Scottish educationalists and missionaries
played a seminal role in the establishment of Fort Hare
College, which was to become the University of Fort
Hare and which produced many leading figures of the
liberation struggles in Southern Africa, including Govan
Mbeki, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela.
For over more than a century, Scottish educational
institutions admitted many South Africans, especially
black South Africans, who went on to become great leaders
in South Africa. I can specifically recall, Reverend
Tigo Soga, a product of Lovedale, who became the first
translator of Milton's Pilgrims Progress, into Xhosa,
who returned to South Africa in 1857 after studying
I also recall the great leader of the African People's
Organisation until his death in the 1940s, Dr Abdullah
Abdurahman who too did his medical studies in Scotland
in the 1880 and 1890s. We remember that life-long stalwart
of our struggle, Dr Kesaveloo Goonam who studied at
the University of Edinburgh in the 1920s and practiced
medicine in South Africa her whole life - except for
13 years of exile - until she passed away in 1998.
I would be amiss if I did not recall two other leaders
of our people, Drs Yusuf Dadoo and Monty Naicker, who
studied at the University of Edinburgh in the 1930s.
In more recent years, the Scottish link was more directly
political, and I want specially to recall the very influential
role of the Scottish Anti-Apartheid Movement, now called
Action for Southern Africa, Scotland (ACTSA, Scotland),
which upheld Scotland's tradition of commitment to our
liberty. We shall not forget the pioneering role played
by Aberdeen when the city imposed sanctions against
apartheid South Africa as early as 1964.
Today those links are being re-forged through a multitude
of efforts, such as the Glasgow Caledonian University's
co-operation with our largest medical university, MEDUNSA
and the University of Transkei.
Thanks, among other things, to the support of the Scottish
people, by 1994 we were able to hold our first democratic
In 1996 a democratically elected Assembly drew up our
final Constitution of which we are justly proud. Our
Bill of Rights entrenches all the freedoms that are
an essential part of any genuine democracy.
The overwhelming majority of MP's who entered Parliament
in 1994 had never voted before.
Our own experience of democracy was restricted to democratic
practices developed and entrenched within the liberation
movement and struggle.
Yet, in the past 7 years we have held two national
and two local government elections which have all been
characterised by robust political engagement, debate
and contestation. Moreover they have all been free and
This is because this is what our struggle was about
- the establishment of a non-racial and non-sexist democracy,
for which many of our people sacrificed their lives
over many decades.
In the last national elections in 1999, the number
of political parties represented in Parliament increased
from 7 to 13, allowing an even greater number of views
to be heard. 79 political parties contested our local
government elections, last December.
We have succeeded to build a constitutional state,
including the establishment of independent constitutional
bodies such as the Independent Electoral Commission,
a Human Rights Commission, a Gender Commission and the
Our society is irrevocably based on the rule of law,
our people having accepted the binding force and legitimacy
of decisions taken by our legislatures and judiciary.
We have virtually eliminated political violence and
conflict, which has enabled us to focus more effectively
on overcoming the legacy of the past and transforming
Despite the best resolve of our people, our achievements
have not been without problems and setbacks. Nevertheless,
we can never forget that these achievements were rendered
possible, to a great degree through the support from
the international community, friendly governments, institutions
and political parties, not least among which has been
the support from people and organisations in Scotland.
As we enter the 21st century, we do so alive to the
fact that there are many challenges. We are well aware
that for Africa, the last 4 decades have been turbulent
We have seen the hopes of many African people dashed
after the celebration of independence as they observed
the frustration of their democratic hopes in waves of
military coups, conflicts, greed and corruption. We
have no doubt that these have contributed to the current
condition of African indebtedness, poverty and underdevelopment.
Yet, we closed the last century on a note of hope,
since we are convinced that we are at the start of a
different stage in the history of the African Continent.
It is and will be a period during which the process
of democratisation will spread relentlessly and inexorably
across the continent.
At this moment, as we meet at the beginning of what
we have designated as the African Century, we look forward
to the future with confidence, knowing that we have
the support of friends and allies who have sustained
us through the darkest days of our history. A new generation
of African leaders has acknowledged the mistakes we
have made as a Continent, noted the obstacles and assessed
We have recognised the need to establish, nurture and
consolidate democracy, to prevent and to resolve conflict,
and to focus our efforts on the true rewards of democracy,
on the eradication of poverty, and the upliftment and
development of Africa.
There is no doubt that Africa's democratic Parliaments
are central to our success, as they are no doubt to
As the elected representatives of our people, Parliaments
are not only the custodians of democracy and the guardians
of a human rights culture, but as important, we are
the vanguard of the forces that must ensure the realisation
of the aspirations of our people.
In an era of globalisation that is characterised by
rapid technological progress, advances in knowledge,
technology and science have the potential to eradicate
human suffering, poverty and inequality from the face
of the earth.
Sadly, though, we have seen within the contemporary
period the exacerbation of and rapid marginalisation
of the poor, resulting in an increase in inequality
both within countries and between the developed and
Today, 80 countries have per capita incomes lower than
a decade ago. The assets of the world's top 3 billionaires
are now more than the combined GDP of all the least
developed countries with their population of 600 million.
The challenges of the developing world do not receive
the required attention from the developed industrial
powers. Yet, it is important for us to recognise that
world prosperity and security is dependent on eradicating
the global sea of poverty.
The world cannot flourish when more than half of its
population lives on less than two dollars a day and
a fifth on less than one dollar a day. It cannot be
business-as-usual when communicable diseases such as
TB, malaria and HIV/AIDS continue to kill and prevent
millions of Africans from functioning at their full
The language of free trade cannot be sustained when
the products of developing countries are denied access
to the markets of the developed countries, when African
producers are denied the ability to compete fairly and
effectively in a playing field that is tilted against
them because of subsidies and other impediments.
Last year, for instance, OECD countries' subsidies
to their farmers amounted to roughly $1 billion dollars
a day, far beyond development assistance extended to
the developing countries.
Yet there is nothing that suggests that the marginalisation
of the poor is fundamental to globalisation. The challenge
that Africa and the developing world face is to intervene
in a way which shapes the outcomes of globalisation
so that it benefits the poor and the marginalised and
places our countries on a path of sustainable growth
Our approach in South Africa is to strengthen regional
and continental co-operation and unity, so that we are
better equipped to engage the broader international
community in the age of globalisation.
Through our contributions to the regional formation
of SADC we have concretely to engage with these new
challenges. Similarly, the OAU, soon to be African Union,
has mandated some of us to lead the process of developing
a revival plan for Africa. This plan will be presented
to the OAU Summit in July this year.
The Millennium Partnership for the African Recovery
Programme (MAP) is a plan of a global partnership in
which Africa takes its own lead in addressing its own
development challenges. The key priority areas of the
programme are peace, security and governance; investing
in Africa's people; diversification of Africa's production
and exports; investing in ICT and other basic infrastructure
and developing financing mechanisms.
>From our perspective, these priority areas must
be implemented simultaneously and in interaction with
one another. It is a plan in which African leaders will
take joint responsibility for a comprehensive programme
of action with the objective of restoring peace and
security: promoting democratic systems of government;
reducing poverty and attaining the international development
targets for health and education.
This initiative by African leaders does pose a challenge
to our international development partners, since clearly
we still need to mobilise both domestic and foreign
resources if we are to end underdevelopment and poverty
on the African Continent.
As we embark on this programme of action, the African
leaders hope to develop a new partnership with developed
countries and multilateral institutions based on the
African leadership and responsibility for the development
of the continent;
Binding commitments by developed countries and multilateral
institutions to an agreed set of obligations with accompanying
milestones and time-frames; and
Agreement on the objectives and programme of action.
Current efforts with regard to debt relief are not sufficient
and need to be speeded up and we would need to look
beyond simply debt sustainability.
We need to look at debt relief as a way of releasing
additional resources for development. Technical assistance
will be need to be provided to build the capacity of
African countries to formulate their own Poverty Reduction
African leaders can and have started to take a leadership
role in the resolution of delivering development on
the African continent. The Millennium Partnership for
the African Recovery Programme forms the basis of this
development agenda. For it to succeed we will need to
strengthen our institutions of governance within our
However, legitimacy is the basis of all institutions
of governance, and so it must be within the international
We recognise the need to democratise decision-making
in the international arena. This includes as a priority,
the restructuring of key multi-lateral organisations
such as the UN, the international financial institutions
and international trade organisations.
So while Parliaments are the custodians and promoters
of democracy, human rights and human development in
their own countries, they have to play a role in promoting
this agenda in the international institutions of governance
as well. The imperatives of globalisation oblige us
to do this.
Our great hope is that the 21st century will be the
African century. We are certain that the Scottish people
and the Scottish Parliament will help us realise this
I thank you.