Toast by Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on the Occasion of the Official Lunch in Honour of Indonesian Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla and Delegation, Tuynhuys, Cape Town: 28 September 2005

Your Excellency, Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers from both Governments
Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Community
Senior Officials from both Governments
Business Community Representatives
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Please allow me, on behalf of the South African Government, to warmly welcome Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla and his delegation to the beautiful city of Cape Town!

As South Africans, we are very honoured by the presence of our Indonesian friends and we trust that our guests are having a memorable, fruitful and enjoyable visit to our country.

Given the historical links between South Africa and Indonesia, it is appropriate that this visit comes to an end here in Cape Town, where the spiritual leader Sheikh Yusuf, who was honoured earlier this week for his struggle against colonial oppression, spent his final years before he died on 23 May 1699.

Ladies and gentlemen

In the seventeenth century, trade with the so-called "Spice Islands" or "East Indies" was regarded as of such importance to European colonial powers that fierce battles were fought to secure control over trade
> routes that provided access to what is known today as Indonesia.

During those times, the Dutch dominated inter-continental trade with the "East" and colonialism and slavery advanced the economic interests of the traders. South Africa was assigned the role of halfway refreshment station between Europe and the "East" to service this lucrative trade route by providing fresh produce and water to passing merchant ships. "The Cape" was colonised and European farmers settled here to supply the halfway station's fresh produce.

Slaves and labourers from Indonesia were brought to the Cape Colony and, together with labourers and slaves from here and other parts of Africa, they formed the backbone of the labour force that facilitated this East-West trade route.

Ladies and gentlemen

Today South Africa and Indonesia are no longer colonies whose fate and strategic importance are determined by others.

Just as Indonesia's role in the global economy has changed from source of spices to Europe to major producer of oil and manufactured goods, so has the refreshment station on a colonial trade route become one of the strongest economies in Africa.

After long and difficult political struggles for independence and freedom, our nations have won the sovereign right to determine our own futures and to work together to create a better world for all, free from the injustices of the past such as colonialism and racial oppression.

As strategic partners - by own choice - and as emerging economies representing different parts of the "South", South Africa and Indonesia have played leading roles in bringing our regions together to enhance mutual benefit.

We have consistently pursued a shared commitment to increase awareness of the importance of inter-regional co-operation. Following the successful co-hosting of the Africa-Asia Summit in Jakarta during April this year, South Africa and our regional partners from the African Union are now keen to take the partnership with our compatriots from Asia forward. The New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) adopted at the summit provides a perfect joint vision towards improved inter-regional ties and lies at the core of Africa's interaction with Asia.

It is therefore in our hands and no longer in the hands of colonisers, to create links, opportunities and sustainable trade routes that would benefit the people of our regions. All that is needed is follow-up action to implement the joint goals and commitments that were agreed upon and envisaged at the summit.

During this visit to South Africa by Vice President Kalla and his delegation, we have confirmed the convergence of views between our countries regarding issues of global political and economic importance.

We agree for example on issues such as the imperatives for fair and equitable participation by all in the benefits of globalisation. We agree on the importance of making an impact on the lives of millions of people internationally who continue to live in conditions of under-development and poverty.

As members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), we both realise the responsibilities we have to work together closely in promoting the ideals of South-South co-operation, as well as to promote North-South Dialogue.

As the world experienced recently in preparation for the 60th United Nations General Assembly, there is an urgent need for improved multilateral mechanisms to drive the reform of global governance institutions so that they better reflect and represent the international community in all its diversity.

In all these ways, South Africa and Indonesia have a common appreciation of the importance of inter-regional co-operation to promote international development and progress that will benefit our children.

Ladies and gentlemen

South Africa and Indonesia have excellent bilateral relations built on solid foundations, dating back to the Bandung Africa-Asia Conference of 1955, exactly fifty years ago.

The support that South Africa's liberation movements received from the people of Indonesia during the difficult years of Apartheid, will always be remembered and appreciated. Indonesians who suffered similarly to obtain their freedom understood what we were going through.

Since we established diplomatic relations in 1994, bilateral ties and trade between our countries have expanded fast. The Joint Commission Agreement signed in March 2004 will ensure a more co-ordinated approach in pursuit of common bilateral interests and we welcome the fact that the Joint Commission will soon hold its first meeting.

There are many opportunities to further expand our relations, especially as far as foreign direct investment is concerned. Areas that offer potential include amongst others banking, minerals and energy affairs, the airline industry, tourism, education and arts and culture.

From a regional perspective, the main challenge remains that of finding synergies between the opportunities of the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) and the areas of co-operation that the New Asian-African Strategic Partnership (NAASP) envisages.

As Africans we are convinced that "the sky is the limit" as far as possibilities between Africa and Asia are concerned.

Co-operation between sub-regions should also be promoted, such as between the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), as long as our joint goal remains to promote the interests of all Asia and Africa.

With our vast joint resources and technological innovation of the kind we have seen in our Asian Tiger compatriots, trade routes between our regions will no doubt in time become more important than the spice trade route around the "Cape Colony" of the seventeenth century!

On behalf of President Thabo re-iterate South Africa's condolences to the government and people of Indonesia on the Tsunami disaster that hit the Sumatra Islands on 26 December 2004. He also congratulate Vice-President Kale, his government and the Indonesian people on successfully managing and co-ordination of relief efforts during those difficult times.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to sincerely thank Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla and his delegation for visiting South Africa and for attending the National Orders Awards Ceremony in Pretoria in recognition of the contributions and sacrifices made by Sheikh Yusuf.

May the special friendship between our countries and the goodwill between our people continue to strengthen, as we draw benefit from one another in developing our countries and as work towards achieving our shared vision of a better world for all.

Ladies and gentlemen

Please allow me, on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa to propose a toast on the excellent relations between South Africa and Indonesia, as well as on the good health of Vice President Muhammad Jusuf Kalla and his delegation.

I thank you!

The Presidency: Republic of South Africa

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