Speech by Minster Dlamini Zuma at the
5th South Africa-India Joint Ministerial Commission,
Pretoria 4th July 2003
The Honourable Minister of External Affairs of the
Republic of India, Shri Yaswant Sinha,
Honourable Ministers from South Africa,
I welcome all of you to this, the 5th South Africa-India
Joint Ministerial Commission. We trust that your stay
in South Africa has been, and will continue to be fruitful
This year marks a milestone in the excellent relations
between South Africa and India, as we celebrate 10 years
of diplomatic ties born of a creative partnership through
decades of struggle.
On the eve of celebrating a decade of freedom and democracy
in our country, I take this opportunity on behalf of
all South Africans to once again express our profound
gratitude to the Government and people of India for
their substantial contribution to all that we enjoy
We recall with pride that great son of India and South
Africa, Mahatma Gandhi who forged a special link between
our countries. Having suffered the indignity of colonial
oppression and racism on South African soil, he evolved
the liberation philosophy of Ahimsa and Satyagraha which
became cornerstones in the freedom struggles of both
India and South Africa.
In so doing the Mahatma brought the dream of freedom
and gift of hope to so many millions of the poor, the
colonised and the oppressed. As we look back with pride
to the decades of creative partnership between our peoples
and countries born of struggles, as we celebrate the
past decade of a special relationship born of freedom,
we must commit ourselves to journey together, as the
Mahatma did, along that path that leads to a better
life for all our people.
His philosophy of non-violence and its application to
conflict resolution in Africa and elsewhere in the global
community is still as relevant today as it has been
in the life of Gandhiji one could even say it
is becoming even more relevant today.
The enduring historical linkages between India and
the African continent is witnessed in the deep economic,
social, cultural and sporting ties that exist between
India and African countries. India has been a trusted
and reliable partner of Africa and continues to be so.
It is in this spirit that we welcome Indias commitment
to NEPAD and the aspirations of the African Renaissance,
as demonstrated through the Focus Africa programme of
Indias Ministry of Commerce. We also laud the
creation of the India Africa Fund worth US$ 200
million, to be made available to the NEPAD secretariat
in the form of loans to enhance economic interaction.
The expressed desire by our countries to engage in a
Strategic Partnership, is embodied in the vision of
the Red Fort Declaration. During the past 10 years,
we have witnessed considerable advances between our
countries in political, economic, defence, cultural
and sporting relations.
We must continue to do more to further consolidate and
expand our Strategic Partnership, through regular exchanges
and engagements, in an atmosphere of trust, goodwill
and mutuality of interest and ideals.
To this end, President Mbeki will undertake a State
visit to India in October; an event that is sure to
add further impetus to our expanding and deepening political
and economic relationship.
The rapid expansion of economic relations between ourselves
is most encouraging. In this regard we applaud the active
co-operative between our Governments, as well as the
apex bodies and business interests of our countries.
Both of our Governments are equally resolved to ensure
that the benefits of economic change and prosperity
percolate to all sectors of our societies.
I am confident that the discussions between the member
states of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU),
and India on the subject of a Preferential Trade Agreement
will come to fruition. Further, we welcome the institutionalisation
of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)
India Dialogue Forum.
The grand-design of colonialism to forcefully and oppressively
control the destiny of our peoples has today been harnessed
to work in our favour. The children of Africa were scattered
around the globe, including Brazil as slaves, while
the children of India were equally scattered globally,
including in South Africa, as indentured labourers.
The African and Indian diasporas have today become vibrant
communities that link us together in our global village.
Last month, India, Brazil and South Africa forged a
trilateral linkage in Brasilia. Let me pay tribute to
your sterling and active participation in the trilateral
forum that led to the establishment of the India, Brazil
and South Africa trilateral joint commission - IBSA.
I share your conviction that the combined energy and
resources of our three countries can and must be utilised
in a dynamic and creative manner to make a difference
in the lives of our people, creating a better life for
We have the political will and the necessary resources
to make this trilateral partnership a vibrant force.
It is up to us to rally to the challenge we have set
before us in this regard. Our commitment and responsibility
to South - South co-operation and meaningful interaction
has given birth to the IBSA and we need to nurture this
co-operation to ensure it becomes a full-blown flower
in all its radiance and vibrancy that holds benefit
for all our people.
Such multilateral co-operation naturally reinforces
our relationship at the bilateral level, and vice versa,
and provides added impetus to the way in which South
Africa and India address the social and economic inequalities
and disparities that are common, not only to us, but
to the developing world as a whole.
Honourable Minister, on behalf of the South African
delegation, I convey to you our best wishes for successful
deliberations and a productive and pleasant engagement.
I also note with regret that your short stay in South
Africa did not allow you time to enjoy the scenic beauty
of our country. I hope that during your next visit you
will be able to enjoy some of the beauty and allure
of South Africa at a more leisurely pace.