Address by Minster Dlamini Zuma to the National Assembly on the Occassion of the Budget Vote, Cape Town 25 March 2003

Madame Speaker

President Thabo Mbeki,

Deputy President Jacob Zuma,

Honourable Members of the National Assembly

Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I extend my appreciation and gratitude to Dr Pallo Jordan, Chair of the Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Members of the Committee for their co-operation and assistance. I appreciate the understanding shown by Members of Parliament for my absence. I would like to assure the honourable Boy Geldenhuys that this is not because absence makes the heart grow fonder.

My gratitude to President Thabo Mbeki, and Deputy President Jacob Zuma for their guidance and assistance. I also thank my Cabinet Colleagues for their co-operation and support.

A special word of appreciation to Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad, to the Acting Director General Abdul Minty and to the officials of the Department for their hard work and efforts. I also take this opportunity to thank my family for their love and unconditional support.

We are all relieved that the issue of taxation for our representatives abroad has been resolved. I am pleased to inform the House that the Department shall be building a single headquarters in Pretoria.

Madam Speaker,

President Thabo Mbeki in addressing the opening of the ANC National Policy Conference in September 2002, said:

" we can state without any fear of contradiction, that in less than one decade, we have transformed our country from being an international pariah, a negative force in favour of racism globally, reaction, destabilisation, aggression and war, to an important international player, for democracy, social progress, national independence and equality, and peace."

I am sure that all of us here, would acknowledge these truths.

We made a conscious choice, as a people and as a nation, at a particular crossroad in our own history.

We chose peace and sustainable development instead of war, reconciliation instead of revenge, dialogue instead of confrontation. We embraced non-racialism, non-sexism and democracy and chartered our path to be a humble and tolerant nation.

As a consequence of these choices we have come to learn to be at one with our geography and our history and to be at home in the world.

Thus, President Mbeki spoke on behalf of all of us when he said: "Today all South Africans, both black and white, can travel anywhere in the world with pride. There is no need any longer for any of our people to deny their nationality because of the indefensible shame of apartheid."

Madam Speaker,

Whilst indeed the tide has turned here at home the world is at a crucial crossroad.

Some would want us to choose a path where the world is premised on the law of survival of the fittest, which departs from the very essence and founding principles of the United Nations.

"We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

"To reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

"To establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and

"To promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,


"To practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and

"To unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and

To ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed forces shall not be used, save in the common interest, and

To employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples".

"This is the world that the founders of the UN wanted - a world of peace and security, solidarity, dignity, equality of all human persons.

A world of tolerance and good neighbours.

The Charter of the United Nations clearly defines the world that we should be building. The United Nations, imperfect as it may be, is the only instrument that governs the international political system and gives legality and legitimacy to our actions.

They wanted us to build a world based on the centrality of Multilateralism respected by all. It makes international governance predictable.

Those who want us to depart from the Principles of the Charter want us to believe that the powerful, the rich and the technologically advanced should rule the world using their economic and military might. They want us to build a world where the rich and powerful can impose their will on the poor and weak. They want us to build a world where the powerful and the rich can change regimes at will. A world where the lives of the innocent and weak are not protected. A world of the survival of the fittest. This will lead to a new world order outside the framework of the UN .

The multilateral system of global governance must remain our only response to all challenges facing humanity today. We must have common rules shared and applied equally by all, without fear or favour.

Ben Okri, in his work, "Way of Being Free", writes, "They tell me that nature is the survival of the fittest. And yet look at how many wondrous gold and yellow fishes prosper amongst silent stones of the ocean beds, while sharks eternally prowl the waters in their impossible dreams of oceanic domination and while whales become extinct; many butterflies and iguanas thrive, while elephants turn into endangered species, and while even lions growl in their dwindling solitude.

"There is no such thing as a powerless people. There are only those who have not seen and have not used their power and will. It would seem a miraculous feat, but it is possible for the undervalued ones to help create a beautiful new era in human history. New vision should come from those who suffer most and who love life the most".

As a country, which voluntarily disarmed itself of weapons of mass destruction, South Africa strongly believes in a world free of all weapons of mass destruction. Ideally no state should possess such weapons. We therefore made every effort to ensure the full implementation of all relevant UN Resolutions including 1441. It is for this reason that we made every effort to ensure the peaceful disarmament of Iraq and agreed with the inspectors, when they needed more time.

We must be encouraged and part by the peoples of the world who have expressed their opposition to war and in solidarity with the ordinary people of Iraq, not because of their support for the regime but for their love for peace and their understanding of the pain, suffering and destruction that war brings. The international community through the UN should do something to minimise the humanitarian crisis in Iraq.

Madam Speaker,

We must reassert the centrality of the United Nations as the only legal and legitimate authority for our collective peace and security in the world. As South Africa, we shall continue to make a humble contribution towards peace and stability in the world in general and on our continent in particular.

It is for this reason that we are involved in Burundi, DRC, Comoros, and Cote D’Ivoire and are about to participate in the Sudan peace process.

We denounce the unconstitutional transfer of power in Central African Republic and will not recognise that regime until there has been a democratic election in line with the AU Constitutive Act.

We saw the worst form of terrorism in Kenya, Tanzania, on 11 September and Bali. Again we have to continue to work together, through the United Nations to rid the world of terrorism. We can only succeed if we do this collectively and comprehensively.

Racism is growing in the world, sometimes assuming more insidious forms. In trying to build a better world we have to fight the scourge of racism.

A Bahai scholar wrote: (Baha’u’llah)

"Consider the flowers of a garden, it would be said that though different in kind, colour, form and shape, yet, inasmuch as they are refreshed by the waters of one spring, revived by the breath of one wind, invigorated by the rays of one sun, this diversity increaseth their charm and addeth unto their beauty.

How unpleasing to the eye if all flowers and plants, the leaves and blossoms, the fruits, the branches and the trees of that garden were all the same shape and colour. Diversity of hues, form and shape enricheth and adorneth the garden and heighten the effect thereof".

Madam Speaker,

The implementation of the Durban Declaration and Plan of Action from the World Conference on Racism and Xenophobia and related intolerance is all the more urgent.

Seeking a better world for all must mean the rescue of the poor of our world and the globally marginalised from despair, misery and impoverishment and the restoration of hope.

Lasting peace cannot be consolidated without addressing the growing global inequities of our time. We have sufficient resources globally to create a better life for the world’s people.

The people of the South need to reinforce their own ability and capacity for initiative, representation and negotiation in the multilateral fora of the world. We have started the revitalisation of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and President Thabo Mbeki and other leaders of the South have collectively evolved a coherent Agenda for NAM and G77 and China.

As Africans we have recognised that the moment is upon us when the marginalisation of this continent must come to an end; and although we call upon the rest of the world to work with us as partners in achieving this goal, we know that none but ourselves can make a difference to the lives of ordinary Africans on the ground.

Madame Speaker,

As sons and daughters of Africa, we reject Afro-pessimism that condemns us to poverty and to the perpetual denial of our dignity, intellect and strength.

In coming together to determine the correct route for our own development, we have launched the African Union, and we have given concrete meaning to the dream of the peoples of Africa, that Africa must unite! Africa must take her rightful place as an equal in the affairs of the world!

The Launch and the Inaugural meeting of the African Union reaffirmed the decision that the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) constitutes its programme for the socio-economic regeneration of Africa. This enabled us to tell the world that we, the Africans, have taken ownership of our own development as the architects of the NEPAD renewal plan. We can make bold as to say that NEPAD is premised on African control of its projects and programmes with African leaders accepting openly and unequivocally that they will play their part in ending poverty and bringing about sustainable development.

We are forging a genuine partnership amongst ourselves and amongst countries of the South for the realisation of the African Renaissance and the African century. We are also engaging countries of the North and multilateral organisations as partners in our development.

The socio-economic upliftment of the lives of African people, especially African women, will ensure a better life for all of us who are part of this great African family. We must recognise the critical role that women must play in our development. They need to be integrated in be part of decision-making strata of society. Even in matters of security women play a central role.

As the Honourable Members would recall, in its endeavour to make a meaningful contribution to Africa, this House has offered to host the Pan African Parliament. Consequently, we will encourage the Pan African Parliament to address itself to the issues of African peace, African solidarity and Africa’s sustained development. We express the hope that this House will speedup the ratification of the Protocol on Peace and Security.

As you are all aware, South Africa will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) on Africa Day, 25th May this year. This will enable us to thank the continent and its people for their long solidarity with our own liberation struggle and focus on the continued need for unity, development and solidarity.

Honourable Members,

South Africa will be hosting an AU Ministerial meeting that will discuss among others Co-operation between Africa and the African diaspora and a Common Defence Policy for the African continent.

In this context, the Bicentennial Celebration of the proclamation of the independence of the Republic of Haiti in January next year takes on special significance; the South African government and indeed the AU has decided to link the 10th year of democracy in South Africa to the 200th Haitian celebrations. These celebrations will bring together the oldest independent country in the African Diaspora and the youngest democratic country on the African continent in a great statement of solidarity and strength.

As part of building a better world, a world of solidarity, peace and stability we have a responsibility towards the peoples of Southern Africa who are gripped by a devastating drought resulting in famine. We have contributed maize and other humanitarian assistance to Angola and other countries of the region. It is also in the same spirit that we help the people of Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, in the light of recent developments, we express our hope that the Zimbabwean people will choose the path of peaceful dialogue rather than take the route of violent confrontation. We shall continue to work with the people of Zimbabwe to find a solution to these challenges. In this regard, SADC Foreign Ministers will be visiting Zimbabwe soon.

The Millennium Goals together with the Johannesburg Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) have provided humanity with concrete ways of advancing the Development Agenda. We shall ensure a follow-up and implementation programme is in place.

The days that lie ahead are going to be very trying for the international community. We have to re-establish the unity of the international community and the centrality of the UN in dealing with the aftermath.

The unity in diversity of the people of the world, the desire to bring peace, security, justice and predictability in the world must be what motivates us. The world should use its power, its economic right and its technological advancement to fight poverty.

Let the children of Iraq and the world play as children and dream about the future. Save them the nightmare of war.

I thank you.

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