Address by Minister Dlamini Zuma at
the Opening Session of the Joint Commission Between
South Africa - Brazil, Pretoria 7 May 2003
Honourable Minister Dr Amorim
Your Excellencies Ambassadors
Ladies and Gentlemen
Mr Minister, it gives me pleasure, and it is a privilege
and an honour to extend a warm welcome to you and your
entire delegation to South Africa, on the occasion of
the Second Meeting of the Joint Commission between Brazil
and South Africa.
I recall with warmth the inauguration of President Lula
on the 1st of January this year. In his dispassionate
and strong "lets get to work" message, he
was unambiguous and yet bold about the urgency of establishing
a hard-work ethic and a culture of focus and dedication
in approaching government tasks. It therefore comes
as no surprise that even on the occasion of your visit
to our country, Minister, your program is fully occupied.
Every minute is taken up and your visit also extends
to a number of African countries. This once again is
reflective of President Lulas unwavering commitment
to re-energising relations between Brazil and Africa.
Your visit, signals the desire not to be grand standing
about an African commitment, but to rather ensure a
qualitative and symbiotic relationship of common vision
and trust in our bilateral and multilateral relationship.
We are inspired by your urgency in dealing with issues
of commonality between us.
Mr Minister, our meeting of the 2nd of January this
year and subsequent discussions identified several important
dimensions of our relationship. Amongst others, we thought
it prudent that the bi-national commission be provided
with a unifying and common vision. We noted the wisdom
and natural consequent outcome which would lead to the
deepening of the level of our engagement. To this end,
Mr Minister, the issue was that both our Presidents
share a passion for ridding our communities, and indeed
the world, of hunger, ignorance, poverty and disease.
Our principals both seek to order a society in which
there would be unhindered development of our citizenry
towards the attainment of higher levels of human achievement
and where they would be free of prejudice. This ideal,
is not only noble, but joins us in an array of commitments
and outlooks that are common to us. Our transitional
societies, both young democracies, seek to empower all
persons in our communities.
In the limited space of time since President Lula assumed
the leadership of Brazil, we have watched, and observed
with admiration, the progress that is being made, including
in the empowerment of that society, in areas of co-operative
governance, such as the launch of the Social and Economic
Council, a structure akin to our Nedlac. We have witnessed
the birth of the Commission against Racial Discrimination
and Promotion of Equality; the establishment of the
Special Secretariat of Politics for Women, with a view
to redressing the marginalisation of women. It has therefore
been a particular pleasure to have arranged a program
for Madam Maria Pinheiro and Ms Magali Naves to meet
with the Gender Commission and other institutions. We
trust that this is the beginning of a long-term relationship
as an element of our strategic partnership.
Our common vision is that we will build a mutually reinforcing
relationship that is based on exchanges of views and
experiences. Most of the challenges you face in your
country are issues that we also have to do battle with.
Your "Projecto Moradia", intended to drive
down prices for the provision of houses, encourage municipalities
to formulate an integrated policy towards community
housing needs and the Action Plan, mirrors our own challenges
in providing for decent yet affordable housing.
On the trade side our leaders and principals have committed
themselves to the principle of evolving a new and vibrant
view of global trade. They have identified that it will
be necessary for us to revisit the vertical NorthSouth
colonially inspired trade routes. A horizontal axis
of South-South commercial trade routes is indispensable
for the balance of trade flows. In your meeting last
night, with our colleague, Minister Erwin of Trade and
Industry, our bilateral trade flows would obviously
have featured. Whilst acknowledging that the past nine
years have seen a steady growth of trade, which now
stands at $700 million, the challenge, which needs imagination
to deal with, is how to exploit the obvious potential
for growth in trade. We have to seek solutions on how
we can diversify our trade and seek high value exports
to exchange. We also have to identify investment opportunities
of strategic benefit to our business people. The automobile
sector as the shining example of commercial trade, has
scope for even further growth and we are encouraged
by the buoyant activity we have noted in this area.
We must, however, see to it that we triple the Marcopolos
and the Anglo Golds, and seek more opportunities between
We are of course encouraged by the fact that tourism
continues to be on the rise. In a period of four years
frequencies between our countries will increase from
one to five by the middle of June. Further negotiations
towards a daily service are also underway.
It is my belief Minister, that the ongoing negotiations
between SACU and MERCOSUR, will soon be concluded, providing
better market access to our economies, thus extending
trade flows and increasing goods traffic between ourselves.
Honourable Minister, our common vision of how better
we can empower our communities must be held high for
all to see. We must seek solutions on how to ensure
meaningful participation of women in the reconstruction
of our nascent democratic societies. We must evolve
measures on how to establish anti-racist societies and
give meaning to the Durban Declaration, which Brazil
helped formulate back in 2001. We desire a relationship
that shall have regard for one another. It should transcend
the technocratic approaches of simply producing agreements,
but also develop systems that will inspire policy development
and the sharing of conceptual frameworks in addressing
the challenges of our communities.
To this end therefore we shall continue to encourage
co-operation between our legislators. We are desirous
to see members of parliament promote dialogue and exchange,
be it in a South Africa/Brazil parliamentary forum,
or through visits to one another, or a combination of
such arrangements they may deem fit. We think that these
exchanges have immeasurable value and benefit to one
Our vision is to create a forum parallel to this Commission
to allow for the participation of members of civil society.
This would enable continuous exchanges of academics
and promotion of intellectual debate about our societies
and the world. We must ensure that institutions of higher
learning and research engage with one another on a continuous
and ongoing basis.
We must tell the Focal Point, which started meeting
yesterday, that theirs was not simply an obligatory
assignment, but rather that they have the burden of
thinking outside the box and being imaginative. They
should understand that their challenge is to establish
mechanisms on how we can pool our resources and deal
with our common problems, whether these problems are
in the area of science and technology, health, defence,
minerals and energy, the combating of drugs and narcotics
trafficking or, for that matter, how to ensure higher
literacy rates and transformation of our skills base.
The Officials charged with the negotiations must understand
that this common vision we seek to foster, is not a
short-term measure, but rather a long-term marriage
we are committing to. Building on a number of existing
agreements amongst others. These are on:
Technical Co-operation Agreement
Bilateral Co-operation Agreement on Mutual assistance
in the field of combating Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics
and Psychotropic Substances and Related Maters
Bilateral Air Services Agreement
Exchange of Notes for the reciprocal lifting of visas
for ordinary passport holders for holiday and business
visits for a period not exceeding 90 days and transits
Exchange on Notes on Double Taxation of Profits derived
form Shipping and Aviation
Dear Colleague, this common vision is also a legacy
of long term co-operation in the multilateral forums.
We have acted in unison on many issues of international
and multilateral interest. In the WTO we have together
defended the integrity of a balanced, rules-based multilateral
Of course, little progress has been recorded in this
area, which points to the challenge of seeking innovative
measures to provide for these mandates to be realised.
There is a plethora of issues that require further attention.
Our challenge is formidable. The task is huge. The areas
are vast and diverse; they include the reform of the
UNSC and the defence of the integrity of a multilateral
system. We must strengthen our common vision as evidenced
in the recent global challenges to global peace and
security. Our unwavering position on Iraq inspires hope
of a high level co-operation in being active participants
in securing world peace and sustainable security. Our
desire for peace is what justifies and promotes our
interest in Angola, Venezuela, DRC, the Middle East
and other hotspots. We deserve a safer and more stable
world and therefore I am certain that we will evolve
perspectives as well as actively work towards achieving
such a world.
Mr Minister, as we charge our officials with their various
tasks, we look forward at the end of this Commission
to seeing the results of their work which will take
forward the implementation of our joint vision and the
strengthening of the strategic partnership between our
two countries of the South.
Honourable Colleague, let me concluded by taking this
opportunity to express South Africas heartfelt
gratitude for the enthusiasm that Brazil and President
Lula in particular has shown to the NEPAD program of
action. We applaud your stance on seeking to build relations
as equal partners with Africa. We are delighted that
the two-year partnership between the African Group of
Ambassadors based in Brasilia and the Itamarati, Africa
and Middle East Department, has finally resulted in
this upcoming historic Africa-Brazil Forum to be held
in Fortaleza Ccara in June this year. We trust that
the Forum will produce quality discussions that shall
inform sustainable foreign policy perspectives for all
of us. I trust we shall see you again soon.
I take this opportunity to officially declare the 2nd
Joint Commission open and trust that we shall look back
on the outcome of our consultations as a source of inspiration
in defining our relationship now and in the future.
Mr Minister welcome, enjoy South Africa, and I now invite
you to address the meeting.