Statement by the Minister of Foreign
Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, Dr Nkosazana
Dlamini Zuma at the Opening Plenary of the 2004 SA-UK
Bilateral Forum, Cape Town, 25 - 26 August 2004
Foreign Secretary, Mr Jack Straw,
Distinguished Members of the UK and South African Delegations
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am pleased to welcome you to the city of Cape Town,
a town that first had its origins in the encounter between
European and African more than 350 years ago.
I would like to thank you for travelling an immense
distance to be with us, but of course in our modern
and information age, the distance in time is not as
great as it once was and the trip is not nearly as unpleasant.
A journey to the Cape for the European traveller in
earlier times meant the endurance of a long sea voyage
and the possibility of being swept away in what became
known to sailors as the Cape of Storms. The encounter
between European and African was one of coloniser and
colonised, characterised not by bonds of friendship
or by cultural coalescence, but by clashes between peoples
and colonial imposition.
In his important work, Frontiers, Noel Mostert, the
well-known historian describes this encounter as "the
frontier between white and black", and "the
product of two of the greatest human odysseys and endeavours,
the terrestrial one of Africa and the maritime one of
Europe. It was an encounter moulded by the many interwoven
frontiers which affected Europeans and Africans as they
came to that historical rendezvous."
Today our encounter is no longer as that of coloniser
and colonised. Instead we meet here as free people of
free countries. We are strengthening our relations because
both our history and our present have led us to believe
that we are bound to cross new frontiers together. The
two human odysseys and endeavours that first characterised
our relationship are no longer tied to the conflicts
of the past.
Instead, in these new times it is a shared commitment
to improve the lives of our people and to build a better
reality that bring us together. The crossing of frontiers
common to all now move us to work together and to move
forward in this new world, continuously addressing and
adapting our approaches to the concerns of all our people
and to make progress in a desired direction to reach
a common destination.
This firm friendship that now binds us together first
had its foundations in the Anti-apartheid movement.
We are grateful for the support that ordinary British
people gave to our cause for freedom. Now in this historic
year of the 10th anniversary of our freedom, we can
say that the relationship between our two countries
This will be the 6th sitting of the Forum since its
inception in 1997. I would like to extend a special
welcome to those Departments that have not participated
before, like Arts & Culture and Health. Their participation
will serve to extend our areas of co-operation and to
give more impetus to our relations.
Over the years, our Forum has developed into more than
simply a gathering of Ministers and officials. As both
the High Commissioners here will tell you, contact between
our governments already takes place at these levels
on a regular basis.
However, what is distinctive about the Bilateral Forum
is that it is our chosen instrument for managing and
giving strategic direction to this interaction. The
Forum adds value by affording us an opportunity to take
stock of our cooperation, to resolve problems that might
have arisen in a previous year and to set the agenda
for the coming year. This Forum also serves to coordinate
our work, to tap into new possibilities and both to
maintain and also to intensify the considerable momentum
that has developed in this unique bilateral partnership.
In doing our work, it is also important that we take
account of the priorities and approach of both the UK
and SA Governments.
At the core of all SA policies and programmes is the
fundamental challenge of ending poverty and underdevelopment
and of creating a better life for all our people. Part
of this challenge is to integrate our 'dual' economy,
which as a result of apartheid and colonialism, has
been divided into one which is flourishing and developing
and another one which is poor and underdeveloped.
In pursuit of this, President Mbeki, in his State of
the Nation address earlier this year, committed our
government to the implementation of a list of detailed
delivery targets, most with specific timeframes attached.
All South African government departments derive their
policy objectives from these priorities. Much of this
agenda falls within the scope of this year's bilateral
Forum. I trust that the break-away deliberations will
look at how we might give further impetus to the programme
of action outlined by President Mbeki.
It is also in pursuit of these same objectives that
we are engaged in African development initiatives through
our regional bloc and communities, through the African
Union and through the new partnership for Africa's development.
The dual economy analogy can, of course, also be drawn
at the international level. Next year the international
community will meet to review our progress in achieving
the Millennium Development Goals that we set four years
ago, and to consider what measures we need to take to
get back on track. As Chair of both the G8 and the expanded
EU in 2005, the UK will be in a unique position to drive
forward our combined efforts to address some of these
economic and social challenges. We expect that this
will be an important feature of our various talks on
international issues today and tomorrow.
Looked at very broadly, one might say that a shift
in focus is currently taking place in governance in
SA. While emphasis was in large part placed on building
institutions and policy development during the first
decade of democracy, implementation and delivery have
become the major focus for this second decade.
Consequently, there will be an increasing focus on
provincial and local governments - the primary drivers
of service delivery. This shift in focus needs to be
reflected in co-operation between the UK and SA where
appropriate. I would also like to see South Africa and
the United Kingdom engaging in trilateral co-operation
with other African countries to advance Nepad priorities
and the Millennium Development Goals.
After Foreign Secretary Straw makes his opening remarks,
we will break up, and during the course of the afternoon,
six separate Ministerial bilaterals will take place.
In addition to this, three senior officials level Working
Groups, on Africa, on Development Cooperation and on
Economic Matters will be convened both today and tomorrow
morning. Thereafter at the Closing plenary, Ministers
and the Chairs of the Working Groups will report back
on what they have accomplished during the Forum.
As we meet, we would like the emphasis of our discussions
to move towards problem-solving and to tangible outcomes,
measurable goals set together and to joint projects
agreed upon. Most importantly, we need follow-up actions
that are to be taken between now and when we meet again
Before handing over to Foreign Secretary Straw, I would
like to wish everyone well in these deliberations.
May our discussions here today strengthen our friendship
and be the starting point for new odysseys and endeavours
that we take into the future together.
I thank you.