Address to the Assembly of the Republic
of Mozambique, 2 May 2002
Honourable President of the Assembly,
Your Excellency President Joaquim Chissano,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity
to address this august gathering of the representatives
of the people of Mozambique.
I bring you greetings from your brothers and sisters
in South Africa. In a real sense, we can say without
any fear of contradiction that we are, in many ways,
one people. Long before the colonial borders were arbitrarily
imposed on us, we shared common history, traditions,
cultures and languages.
As we know, the first recorded contact between whites
and blacks in southern Africa happened on the 11th January
1498 when Vasco da Gama anchored his ships up the coast
off a small river identified as Inharrime, south of
This was after Vasco da Gama and his crew had attempted
to sail further north and their ships battled against
the strong Agulhas current until they found themselves,
on Christmas Day, at the point at which they had passed
before. They named the green, hilly shoreline, Natal.
With further attempts they anchored at Inharrime and
found such friendly people that they named the place
Terra da Boa Gente, the Land of Good People.
Today we are happy to be amongst boa gente. In fact,
we will all agree that there are very few Africans,
across the entire continent, who are themselves not
I am recalling this story of the boa gente, to indicate
that these good people of Africa, who comprise many
nations, speak many related languages, displayed to
the strangers who appeared at their shores the spirit
of ubuntu, which is the spirit of kindness, selflessness,
solidarity, service to the people and innate humanism.
This ubuntu was again demonstrated when in 1647, the
Haerlem, the ship that belonged to the Dutch East Indian
Company, was forced ashore by some sudden gale force
winds near Table Bay.
Having been treated with the same kindness displayed
by the people of Inharrime towards Vasco da Gama almost
two centuries earlier, the sailors of Haerlem, whose
stay was the longest in the Cape, upon their return
to Holland, presented a memorandum suggesting that the
company should establish a permanent settlement in the
The historian Noel Mostert, in his book the Frontiers
says that the sailors of Haerlem advised their superiors
that when establishing the settlement, the settlers
should reciprocate the ubuntu of the Khoi and the San
However, the commander appointed by the Dutch East
India Company to establish the settlement, Jan van Riebeeck,
disagreed with the advice given to the company.
Jan van Riebeeck expressed an opinion that was to inform
the attitude of many of the settlers towards the black
Van Riebeeck held a racist view that the Khoi and the
San people, who populated the southern tip of the Cape,
"were not to be trusted, (they) being a brutal
gang, living without any conscience".(Frontiers,
The Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, the Belgian
and the British settlers who colonized most of our countries
on the continent, shared van Riebeeck prejudice of black
people, and proceeded from a gross and intemperate collective
judgment that led to centuries of racial oppression,
repression and abuse that is amongst the worst in the
history of our world.
The San and the Khoi people were subjected to such
systematic and horrendous brutality that they were almost
The people of Mozambique and South Africa, together
with our brothers and sisters in the rest of the continent
have been victims of many brutalities, including a slave
trade that uprooted millions of our people and dumped
them into foreign lands. In that process, millions more
perished before they could arrive at their forced destination.
Another historian John Reader writes in his book A
Companion to Africa that:
" Demographers have estimated that by the end
of the 15th century, about 47 million people were living
in Africa. The population was growing very slowly but
should have reached 100 million by 1850. In fact, it
was half that - about 50 million. What happened? The
other 50 million were lost to foreign exploitation.
"Eighteen million slaves left Africa between 1500
and 1850. Researchers estimate that for every 9 slaves
that crossed the Atlantic another 12 died. These were
people Africa could not afford to lose. Their absence
denied the continent both labour and children."
(A Companion to Africa, p9)
There is no doubt that the effects of this far-reaching
annihilation of half of the African population are still
being felt even today.
Even when slavery was abolished, our continent became
the treasure trove of the European countries that divided
the continent amongst themselves and treated our countries
as their foreign provinces.
Accordingly, as we are gathered here today, we are
bonded not just by the fact that we share the same landmass,
have identical traditions, cultures and languages, important
as these are; but we are also unified by a painful experience
that has robbed us of our ability to nurture our talents
and exploit to the fullest our technological advances
that propelled the ancient Kingdoms of Mapungubwe in
the northern part of South Africa, Mwene Mutapa corrupted
by the Europeans to Monomotapa, the Great Zimbabwe and
Yet, despite the brutal and brutish interruption by
the settlers, the fact that today we meet at this Assembly
of an independent and free Republic of Mozambique, chosen
by the people of this country, means that we are ready
and prepared to reclaim for ourselves and the generations
to come, Terra da Boa Gente - the Land of Good People.
This is possible in large measure, because the people
of Mozambique and other African patriots have long arrived
at a common determination that, Mozambique and the rest
of the continent cannot enjoy freedom while their brothers
and sisters live under the joke of apartheid. Hence,
the enormous sacrifices made by the heroic people of
this country to ensure that we, in South Africa, also
Once more, on behalf of the South African people, I
would like to pass our sincere gratitude to the people
of Mozambique for having stood shoulder to shoulder
with us until we attained our freedom.
Again, precisely because of this common determination
that our destinies are bound together, since we attained
our freedom, South Africa and Mozambique have entered
into numerous agreements to promote the economic development
of our peoples.
These agreements are the foundation for joint action
so that together we work for the reconstruction and
development of our countries and give our people the
opportunity and possibility to embark on individual
and collective advancement and development.
Our close bilateral relations are characterized by
on-going interactions at the Presidential, Ministerial,
Parliamentary and official levels. The Joint Permanent
Commission for Co-operation (JPCC), which was established
in 1994, held its second successful meeting last year
December in Pretoria and there are more than 20 Bilateral
Agreements that have either been entered into or are
currently been negotiated.
Some of these agreements cover such important areas
as Fisheries, Agricultural Development, Maputo Harbour,
Natural Gas Trade, Demining, the Maputo Development
Corridor and Joint Water Commission.
I know that the cry of a sick child in South Africa
touches the hearts of the people of Mozambique just
as the hunger pangs of a Mozambiquan child affect the
people of South Africa.
We therefore face a common challenge of ensuring that
we attain, as speedily as possible and within the constrains
of our resources, the development and prosperity not
only of our two countries but also of many of our sister
countries on the continent.
With regard to our bilateral relations, our joint efforts
to attract investment to Mozambique has seen South Africa
becoming the largest foreign investor in this country,
with R25 billion invested by the South African businesses
We are proud that through the leadership of President
Chissano and his government, we have managed to attract
mega projects like Mozal and Sasol as well as about
220 large, medium and small enterprises.
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and
the Industrial Development Corporation, (IDC), have
made the largest investments on the continent here in
We are happy that South Africa's leading black businessmen
and women have engaged their counterparts in Mozambique
through the Black Economic Empowerment Circle.
Indeed, we have to ensure that as we revive and develop
our economies, bringing them into the age of information
and communication technology, we also build strong and
viable indigenous businessmen and women, who will inspire
our people and demonstrate that as Africans, we are
capable of meeting each and every challenge posed by
the demands of the modern world.
We are proud that our close working relations have
made it possible to complete a major project such as
the Maputo Corridor. Through the Maputo Corridor, we
have learned valuable lessons that will help us as we
continue with our common task of development of our
countries and in our assessment of the implementation
of the Bilateral Agreement on Road Transport for Goods
Further, as part of our efforts to manage more efficiently
and effectively the transport of goods and people between
our countries, the Caminhos de Ferro de Mozambique (CFM),
is about to enter into an agreement with their South
African counterpart, Spoornet, to co-manage the railway
line between Witbank in South Africa and Resano Garcia
here in Mozambique.
One of the critical areas of our co-operation is in
the energy sector. We will continue our engagements
on the best possible options for the full utilization
of Cahora Bassa and hopefully ensure that we arrive
at an agreement that benefits mainly the people of Mozambique.
Tomorrow we will, with President Chissano, launch the
Sasol Gas pipeline in Temane. This is a very important
development for both our countries, as this pipeline,
which will be more than 900 kilometers long, will create
much-needed jobs in Mozambique and supply markets in
We should also move with the necessary speed to conclude
the agreement on some of the important Tourism Corridors,
especially the Transfrontier Parks of Gaza/Kruger/Gonarezhou
which will create one of the largest game parks in the
Undoubtedly, the economic benefits to Mozambique, Zimbabwe
and South Africa, out of the envisaged unified park,
Honourable Members, I think we will all agree that
it is fitting to use the hallowed halls of this Assembly
to thank the men and women in the police services of
our two countries, for the sterling work they have and
continue to do, to search, confiscate and destroy illegal
Through Operation Rachel, our joint police services
have since 1995, destroyed more than 1000 tons of small
arms as well as landmines and other unexploded devices.
More effort and assistance from our governments, the
business people, our people and communities will ensure
that together we defeat these crime syndicates that
engage in illicit arms smuggling, money laundering and
motor vehicle theft and in the process killing and injuring
many innocent and law-abiding citizens. Some of our
brave policemen and women have also fallen victim to
the cowardly acts of these criminals.
As part of this war against crime, we should increase
the capacity at our border posts and ensure that corrupt
officials who take bribes so that criminals can have
a safe passage through our borders, are identified and
dealt with accordingly.
Our two countries have established an important precedent
in the process of ensuring that erstwhile antagonists
are able to negotiate a settlement that put the interests
of ordinary people first.
I am sure that we will agree that this path that we
have chosen, is a correct one and should never be forsaken.
As we rebuilt our countries and forever seeking the
best possible ways of bringing about an enduring stability
and peace, we will occasionally encounter problems that
may momentarily upset our balance in our march to a
better and prosperous future.
In such circumstances, as the descendents of the ancestors
whose innate humanism earned our shores the Land of
Good People, we should not lose our focus and our collective
vision of ensuring that our people are given the opportunity
to live in peace, stability and harmony.
Further, although our democracies are still young,
given our divided and violent past, we have managed
to overcome what some considered insurmountable obstacles.
We therefore have a heavy responsibility to ensure
that our democratic processes are not derailed, that
the normal political contestations do not loom larger
than our common quest for a strong democracy, lasting
peace, durable process of development and an enduring
It is in this context that President Chissano is amongst
the leading lights on our continent to ensure that through
the programme that we, Africans, have produced, we radically
change our continent from a place characterized by conflicts,
poverty and underdevelopment, to a home of stability,
prosperity and development.
Through the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(Nepad), we are charting a new path for the regeneration
of our continent and ensure that we harness our skills,
expertise, talents, resources and natural riches to
bring a better life to all Africans.
As you are aware, in July we will launch the African
Union (AU), which will replace the Organisation of the
African Unity (OAU). The African Union has been structured
in a manner that will be better suited for the challenges
that we face, of bringing about peace and stability
on the continent, ensuring a culture of human rights
and giving the necessary impetus to the development
programmes of Nepad.
We therefore need the active participation and solid
support of this important Assembly on both the Nepad
process and the work within the African Union, so that
the leadership represented here is able to give all
of us the required advice and guidance.
As part of this work, you may also be aware that we
are engaged in important processes of assisting and
supporting efforts towards stability and peace in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi as well as
giving support to reconciliation programmes of the people
In all these and many other challenges, we will not
succeed if we don't have the solid backing of this leadership
as well as the entire mass of the people of Mozambique.
I am however confident that when we engage in these
important efforts, of bringing about peace, stability,
democracy and development to our continent, we will
do so with the knowledge that we have unqualified support
from the Assembly of the Republic of Mozambique and
the good people of this land.
I thank you.