Address Delivered by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, The
Honorable Ms Sue van der Merwe, on the Occasion of the Briefing to Members of
the Diplomatic Corps of Missions accredited to South Africa, Burgers Park Hotel,
21 April 2005
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
Commissioners, Ambassadors and Colleagues,
The UN Secretary General's
Panel Report entitled "A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility",
"Development and security are inextricably linked.
A more secure world is only possible if poor countries are given a chance to develop.
Extreme poverty and infectious diseases threaten many people directly, but they
also provide a fertile breeding ground for other threats, including civil conflict.
Even people in rich countries will be more secure if their governments help poor
countries to defeat poverty and diseases by meeting the Millennium Development
The African continent is without doubt the continent most affected
by poverty and underdevelopment and the connection between conflict and underdevelopment
is more visible here than anywhere else. An analysis of countries in conflict
or those that have recently emerged from conflict reveals a consistent pattern
of low per capita income, absolute poverty, low life expectancy, low levels of
FDI and ODA and often high levels of indebtedness. It is also clear that these
countries are often rich in resources and strategically located. Placing Africa
at the centre of the global development discourse is therefore critical.
is why South Africa's foreign policy objectives are firmly anchored in an African
Agenda, an agenda that is aimed at pushing back the frontiers of poverty and underdevelopment.
The effects of conflict such as economic, collapse, destruction of infrastructure,
impoverishment of people, refugee flows and environmental degradation affect not
only the countries and areas in conflict but also its neighbours and the continent
as a whole. It has remained a major pre-occupation for our government to assist
with the resolution of conflict and peace keeping where possible and within our
In this, the season of hope for the African continent, I would
like to brief you today about some of the major developments in our efforts to
bring peace and stability to our continent.
The Democratic Republic of the
South Africa's involvement in this sister SADC country dates back to
the latter half of the nineteen-nineties and the involvement of President Mandela
and, at that time, Deputy President Mbeki in the negotiations on board the SAS
Outeniqua. We have come a long way since then and South Africa has committed itself
to assist within its means with the stabilisation of the DRC.
At this crucial
moment in the transitional process, the Transitional Government of the DRC requires
our encouragement and support as it implements the remaining elements of the Global
and All-Inclusive Agreement, most importandtly with the conducting of free and
Although some progress has been registered regarding the
planning of voter identification and registration, it is crucial that outstanding
legislation be passed expeditiously, and funds both from the DRC Government and
international donors be availed for the conducting of the elections. For its part,
South Africa is assisting the Transitional Government to ensure that the voter
identification and registration is achieved as soon as possible.
the Government of the DRC is operating on the basis of a transitional constitution.
The Constitution for the post-election period has been tabled in Parliament for
promulgation and should be ready before the elections.
Pursuant to South
Africa's commitment to assist the DRC to advance to elections in the second half
of 2005 and with post-conflict reconstruction and development, our government
departments are engaging their DRC counterparts on a series of issues, including
governance and administration and defence and security. The Departments of Home
Affairs; Foreign Affairs; Public Service and Administration; Justice and Constitutional
Development; Defence; the South African Police Services; the National Intelligence
Agency and the Independent Electoral Commission have deployed personnel in the
DRC. This follows the conclusion of a needs-analysis for the holding of successful
elections in the DRC.
Substantial progress has been made with the conducting
the first phase of the census of public servants in Kinshasa. An initial headcount
has been completed, census questionnaires have been completed in respect of public
servants and data is currently being captured on a database. A second headcount
will be done in April, biometric information will be captured and temporary ID
cards will be issued. The Kinshasa census should be completed by the end of June
The second phase of the census, which will take place in the provinces
will begin at the end of May 2005 and will be completed by the end of December
Concerning the DDR process, the United Nations Mission to the Congo
(MONUC) has embarked on a forceful disarmament programme. Nine thousand and twelve
(9 012) fighters had voluntarily laid down arms by the end of March 2005 and a
sizeable number were able to make use of reintegration programmes and jobs promised
to them. More still needs to be done in this area to ensure that all combatants
are disarmed and reintegrated into Congolese society. Within the SADC context,
South Africa is working with the DRC and Belgian governments to create a new Congolese
The latest positive development for peace in the Great Lakes region,
was the announcement by the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR), who
operate from the eastern DRC from which they launch attacks into Rwanda. On 31
March 2005 they announced that they would unconditionally abandon the armed struggle
and return to Rwanda. The Security Council welcomed the FDLR decision and called
United Nations the FDLR to co-operate with MONUC so that the disarmament program
could commence. The FDLR was furthermore urged to assist the International Criminal
Tribunal for Rwanda to fulfil its mandate by handing over any indicted persons
who may still be at large.
This development bodes well for security in
the Great Lakes region, and will contribute towards easing tensions between Rwanda
and the DRC.
I must also mention that beyond our conflict resolution efforts,
we also have bilateral government-to-government relations through the South Africa-DRC
Binational Commission (BNC). Following the signing if the General Co-operation
Agreement in Kinshasa in January 2004, which makes provision for the establishment
of a BNC, the SA-DRC BNC was officially inaugurated by Presidents Mbeki and Kabila
on 31 August 2004 in Kinshasa in the DRC. In accordance with the General Co-operation
Agreement, sectoral commissions, namely Politics and Governance, Defence and Security,
Humanitarian and Social Affairs, and Finance, Economy and Infrastructure were
established with technical committees. The second session of the SA-DRC BNC is
scheduled to take place in Pretoria on 29 April 2005.
peace initiative, initially led by Mwalimu Julius Nyerere and later, after his
passing on, by former President Mandela and now through the tireless efforts of
Deputy President Jacob Zuma has resulted in the adoption of an Interim Constitution
by the Transitional Government and the Burundian political parties.
Summit is scheduled for 22 April 2005 in Kampala to pronounce on the possible
extension of the Transitional Government due to the delayed elections. During
this Summit, Deputy President Zuma, as the Facilitator of the peace initiative
will meet President Museveni of Uganda as Chairperson of the Great Lakes Initiative
in Burundi to discuss the way forward.
The Transitional Government of Burundi
will cease to exist after 22 April 2005 as provided for in the Arusha Agreement.
The regional leaders will consider the possibility of extending the mandate of
the Transitional Government until elections are held. Elections are still to be
held during the course of 2005 and South Africa is committed contributing to their
The second phase in the Burundi peace process will
be the Reconstruction and Development Programme, which will commence after the
South Africa remains committed to the establishment of peace
and security in the Great Lakes region and in playing a role post-conflict reconstruction
programmes. The African Peace Mission in Burundi (AMIB) recapped as United Nations
Operations in Burundi (ONUB) must be credited for the return of stability in 95%
of the country. It is envisaged that a South African Observer Mission will participate
in the monitoring of the elections.
Recent positive developments include:
· progress with the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Reintegration
· The outcome of the referendum held on 28 February
2005 with 91.63% of the registered voters endorsing the new power- sharing constitution.
The approval of the Electoral Code and Communal Law by the Senate that will allow
the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) to finalise the elections'
· And importantly the PALIPEHUTU/FNL which has indicated
its interest in joining the Transitional Government.
Many challenges remain
including the timely announcement of the election timetable and the impact of
returnees, internally displaced persons and fleeing Rwandan Hutus on Burundi's
already fragile infrastructure. The urgent resuscitation of the Burundi economy,
especially the agricultural sector on which 95% of Burundians rely for their livelihood
and the infrastructure in general, remains crucial.
28 March 2005 my colleague, Deputy Minister Pahad, briefed the United Nations
Security Council on the progress being made by the AU mediation in resolving the
crisis in Côte d'Ivoire. In his address, the Deputy Minister outlined the
origins of the present conflict and leading up to the incident that precipitated
South Africa's appointment as AU mediator. He also outlined the progress made
since the mediation began in November 2004, as well as the outstanding issues,
which were still obstructing the full implementation of the Road Map proposed
by the AU mediation. The Deputy Minister confirmed that the three fundamental
propositions of the mediation, namely:
· that the Linas-Marcoussis
and Accra III agreements remained the framework for a solution;
Roadmap developed by the mediation indicated the way forward for the peace process;
· and that all Ivorian parties commit themselves to these.
up on this address, President Mbeki hosted the key leaders of the Côte d'Ivoire,
including President Gbagbo, Prime Minister Diarra, and opposition leaders Mr Ouattara
(RDR leader and former Prime Minister), Mr Konan Bedié (PDCI and a former
Ivorian President ousted in a military coup d'etat in December 1999), and Mr Soro
In the agreement, the parties committed themselves
to an unequivocal and immediate ending of all hostilities in Côte d'Ivoire.
The parties also reaffirmed their commitment to: (a) the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement
as well as Accra II and III; (b) the AU mediation Road Map; (c) UN resolutions
on Côte d'Ivoire; (d) the need for presidential elections in October 2005;
(e) a respect for the sovereignty, independence, integrity and unity of Côte
d'Ivoire and (f) the creating of a climate conducive to lasting peace. In addition,
the Agreement addressed the following elements:
· Steps to immediately
disarm and dismantle militias
· Steps to begin the disarmament process
· Steps to ensure security in areas under New Forces control
Security of the Members of the government from the New Forces
delegated powers of the Prime Minister
· The constitution of the Independent
Electoral Commission and the organisation of elections (which the Mediator will
request the UN to help arrange)
· The Board of Radio Television Ivoire
· The re-tabling of Linas-Marcoussis Agreement (LMA) related-laws
before the National Assembly by the end of April 2005.
· The financing
of political parties
· Eligibility to the Presidency, where the Mediator
undertook to consult with the AU Chair (Nigeria) and the UN Secretary-General,
before making a determination in this regard.
On 13 April 2005, Ivorian
state television read the transcript of a letter from President Mbeki to the respective
Ivorian leaders concerning his determination on the issue of resolving the Section
35 issue, namely that:
The Ivorian Constitutional Council should accept
the eligibility of the candidates that would be presented by the political parties
that were signatories to the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement.
determination, President Gbagbo has undertaken a series consultations with the
Young Patriots, women's groups, traditional chiefs, MPs and the military with
a view to secure buy-in for the Pretoria Agreement and President Mbeki's determination
regarding the issue of eligibility to the Presidency. All other Ivorian signatories
to the Pretoria Agreement are embarking upon similar consultations.
series of meetings on implementing the DDR process, the Chiefs of Staff of FANCI
and the FAFN, together with Prime Minister Diarra met in Boauke on 14 and 16 April
2005. It was agreed that all heavy weapons would be withdrawn from the Zone of
Confidence by 21 April 2005. In addition, the DDR process would commence officially
on 14 May 2005 and extend to 31 July 2005. This process is supported by a team
of DDR experts from the SA National Defence Force.
South Africa, in addition,
has agreed to provide training on close protection for the New Forces.
doubt, the Pretoria Agreement represents a new hope for the Ivorian people, who
have long been yearning for a return to peace and stability in their country.
It has indeed lent renewed impetus to the search for peace in la Côte d'Ivoire.
More than anything it has introduced a new sense of urgency in the implementation
of previous undertakings. South Africa, as mediator, will give a report back to
the United Nations Security Council on 26 April 2005.
of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Government of the Sudan and the
Sudanese People's Liberation Movement (SPLM), marked the dawn of a new era in
the Sudan. It brought to an end one of the oldest conflicts on the African continent.
We salute the Sudanese people for their courage and magnanimity and hope that
the same spirit will soon prevail in the ongoing conflict in the Darfur region.
this regard, as part of our commitment to assist with the resolution of the conflict
in the Darfur region, South Africa has deployed 10 Military Observers to the AU
Mission in Sudan (Darfur), as well as 101 civilian police members and around 350
armed military personnel, to strengthen the work of the AU in Darfur.
Chair the AU Sudan Post-Conflict Reconstruction Committee, South Africa recognises
post-conflict reconstruction as of the utmost importance in peace missions. We
will place a lot more emphasis on post-conflict reconstruction since it is evident
that the continent is moving into a phase where post-conflict reconstruction will
take centre-stage. In this regard, South Africa will also be promoting the role
of NEPAD as a useful tool for reconstruction.
The activities of the Post-Conflict
Committee are continuing. Ministers from member countries of the Committee visited
North and South Sudan 22 - 26 March 2005. Based on the findings of this visit,
a Comprehensive African Strategy for Post Conflict Reconstruction in the Sudan,
with clear and time-bound actions is being finalised, which will also be co-ordinated
with reconstruction efforts funded by donor countries.
The AU recognises
the inevitable need for its Member States, though themselves poor and beset by
challenges almost as daunting as Sudan's, to embrace our duty to fully assist
our Sudanese sisters and brothers in the tasks that lie ahead. South Africa is
committed to making a contribution in areas where it can add value, based on our
comparative advantages and capacities in promoting peace, unity, democracy and
development on our continent.
One of the first challenges in the implementation
of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement is development and institution building in
South Sudan. To this effect, the DFA-SPLM-UNISA Capacity and Institution Building
Project for South Sudan was launched on 5 February 2005 in South Sudan with the
active participation of a large delegation of senior South African government
officials, led by Deputy Minister Pahad, which was also the first orientation
and training session of senior SPLM/A cadres.
A further orientation/capacity
building/training visit by a large SPLM delegation, led by the First and Second
Vice Chairmen, took place in South Africa, 28 March - 8 April, during which the
delegation interacted with a wide range of government and other relevant institutions.
The SPLM group were placed in South African government departments as part of
an experiential work programme. This and other capacity building exercises, which
is aimed at supporting the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, will assist the SPLM
in developing skills that would enable them to play a positive and meaningful
role in a united Sudanese government.
The South African Government
has been in continuous consultation with both the MDC and ZANU-PF in its efforts
of trying to encourage them to stabilise Zimbabwe's economic and political situation.
In this regard South Africa will continue to encourage both the ZANU-PF
and the MDC to agree on a new Constitution that could lead to joint presidential
and parliamentary elections before the end of President Mugabe's current term
in 2008. South Africa has also offered to be of assistance on an economic recovery
programme for Zimbabwe.
President Thabo Mbeki has furthermore advised the
MDC to take up the issue of their dissatisfaction with the election results with
the electoral courts. He also said that South Africa would abide by the decision
of the electoral courts.
The Government of the Republic of South Africa
will continue to place a priority in engaging the Government of the Republic of
Zimbabwe through multilateral fora. However, the South African government maintains
that it is the priority of the Zimbabwean people to try and find home-grown solutions
to the challenges that the country is facing.
challenges remain to be addressed but it is clear that substantive progress has
been achieved in all these areas of conflict. We have progressed towards breaking
the vicious circle of instability and underdevelopment not only through our joint
efforts but also as a result of the willingness of a new generation of African
leaders that are prepared to take responsibility for the destiny of the continent.
Africa is, indeed, currently engaged in profound and fundamental processes
of renewal. This is part of the second wave of democracy to sweep the continent
in recent years beginning with the liberation of South Africa in 1994. The over-arching
objective is to break the vicious cycle of political instability, poverty, and
underdevelopment, as well as to strengthen Africa's capacity to defend and advance
her interests in the global arena. The key building blocks of this strategy are
increased political unity and concerted action through the AU, and accelerated
socio-economic transformation through the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD), which is the AU's programme.
Together we will face the future
I thank you