Address by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma on the Occasion of the Budget Vote of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Cape Town, 29 May 2006

Madame Speaker
President Thabo Mbeki
Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Members of the Portfolio Committee of Foreign Affairs
Honourable Members
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Madam Speaker,

Before I begin my speech may I express our condolences to the government and people of Indonesia following the tragic loss of lives during the recent earthquake.

On the centenary of both the Bambatha rebellion and the Satyagraha of Mahatma Gandhi- both campaigns of civil resistance against unjust laws, it is worth recalling the words of another fine son of this continent Patrice Lumumba. From a letter to his wife entitled 'History will one day have its say':

"My dear wife, I am writing these words not knowing whether they will reach you, when they will reach you, and whether I shall still be alive when you read them. All through my struggle for the independence of my country, I have never doubted for a single instant the final triumph of the sacred cause to which my companions and I have devoted all our lives.

But what we wished for our country, its right to an honourable life, to unstained dignity, to independence without restrictions, was never desired by the Belgian imperialists and their Western allies who found direct and indirect support, both deliberate and unintentional amongst certain high officials of the United Nations, that organisation in which we placed all our trust when we called on its assistance. They have corrupted some of our compatriots and bribed others. They have helped to distort the truth and bring our independence into dishonour. How could I speak otherwise? Dead or alive, free or in prison by order of the imperialists, it is not I myself who count.


It is the Congo, it is our poor people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage from beyond whose confines the outside world looks on us, sometimes with kindly sympathy but at other times with joy and pleasure. But my faith will remain unshakeable. I know and I feel in my heart that sooner or later my people will rid themselves of all their enemies, both internal and external, and that they will rise as one man to say no to the degradation and shame of colonialism, and regain their dignity in the clear light of the sun...

As to my children whom I leave and whom I may never see again, I should like them to be told that it is for them, as it is for every Congolese, to accomplish the sacred task of reconstructing our independence and our sovereignty: for without dignity there is no liberty, without justice there is no dignity, and without independence there are no free men. Neither brutality, nor cruelty nor torture will ever bring me to ask for mercy, for I prefer to die with my head unbowed, my faith unshakeable and with profound trust in the destiny of my country, rather than live under subjection and disregarding scared principles.

History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that is taught in Brussels, Paris, Washington or in the United Nations, but the history which will be taught in the countries freed from imperialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and to the north and south of the Sahara, it will be a glorious and dignified history.
Do not weep for me, my dear wife. I know that my country, which is suffering so much, will know how to defend its independence and its liberty. Long Live the Congo. Long Live Africa!"

It is such revolutionary patriots that continue to inspire us all, to work with the continent for its renewal. How inspiring and fulfilling it is to all people in the continent and international community that we are at the dawn of that day when history will have its say in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The continent, the UN and the world are supporting the Congo as it prepares for its first democratic election since Patrice Lumumba wrote that letter. The ballot papers are being printed as we speak and I wish to salute our IEC and other Government agencies for their cooperation with their counterparts in the DRC in tackling this task.

A successful election in the DRC will unleash a vast amount of human energy in the struggle against poverty and underdevelopment both in the Congo and in the rest of the continent. Peace and stability in the Congo will consolidate peace and stability in the Great Lakes region.

To assist the Congolese people to meet the challenge of development we shall invest more effort in the Bi-national Commission for the reconstruction of the Congo.

Madame Speaker

Last Friday we were honoured to witness the peaceful transfer of power in the Comoros from President Azali Assaumani to Ahmed Abdallah Mohammed Sambi. We know that more still needs to be done and wish to assure the peoples of Comoros that we will not walk away. Comoros, Liberia and Burundi can now deal with the challenges of development like all of us.

We wish Minister Charles Nqakula strength and wisdom as he continues the last leg of the facilitation effort between the government of Burundi led by President Nkurunziza and the leadership of PALEPHEHUTU-FNL. We are humbled by the confidence shown by the Barundi and the regional leadership in South Africa's facilitation.

The Mano River Basin will require our constant attention.

Honourable members,

The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the establishment of the government of National Unity in Khartoum and the government of Southern Sudan, ushered in a new era for the Sudanese People. However, there were also setbacks:

The people of Sudan, Africa and the World lost that outstanding revolutionary intellectual John Garang; and a humanitarian crisis in Darfur unfolded, compounded by events in Chad.

Thankfully, the SPLM has displayed remarkable maturity in keeping the focus on the essence of what Garang and the people of Southern Sudan stood for. Amid grief, an orderly transition took place allowing Silva Kiir to assume leadership of the SPLM.

The Abuja talks have yielded some outcomes, which though not perfect, constitute an advance. We call on those who have not signed to do so. We express the hope that the UN Force as called for by the Peace and Security Council, will proceed without hindrance.

We are however following, with concern, the developments in Chad.

Our President and government has been working tirelessly to bring to an end the conflict in Cote d' Ivoire. We also work through the mechanism of the International Working Group (IWG).

We are encouraged by the commitments made by President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Banny to work together in recognition of their responsibility to their country.

The implementation of the first phase of the disarmament process between the New Forces and the Armed Forces of Cote d' Ivoire constitutes progress.

We shall continue encouraging forward movement particularly on the key outstanding issues on the DDR and National Identification processes.

We are very concerned about the outbreak of violence in Somalia that has led to the loss of civilian life. We urge the parties to adhere to the principles of the ceasefire agreement.

We welcome the agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia to resume negotiations to settle their border dispute.

Zimbabwe remains a challenge and we will continue within SADC to support efforts by Zimbabweans to solve all their problems.

South Africa continues to contribute to the building of the African Union and its structures.

As hosts we have gone well beyond our legal obligations to assist the Pan African Parliament find its feet. We do so conscious of the enormous contribution that a well-functioning Parliament of the representatives of the continent's people will make to nurture common values.

Honourable members,

We are pleased that the AU has put on our shoulders the responsibility of hosting a Global Diaspora conference early next year.

NEPAD

As we prepare to mark the fifth anniversary of NEPAD in July 2006, it is important to reflect on what we have achieved so far and the great challenges that lie ahead.

NEPAD has been recognised as the major development plan that has the potential to enable Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). However, analysts inform us that Africa is not likely to meet its MDG targets within the specified time frame. This makes it imperative that we redouble our effort to mobilize the necessary resources.

We welcome initiatives such as the conference held in Paris early this year aimed at finding innovative ways of financing development.

Another challenge is the integration of NEPAD programmes into national budgets and development plans.

Whilst it would be true to say that much has been achieved in the first five pioneering years, we are now in the phase where we need to concentrate on the implementation of our plans and programmes.

The African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has completed the reports for Ghana and Rwanda and important progress is being made with regard to other countries including South Africa.

However, we also realize that all our development efforts can seriously be undermined and even destroyed by the current high oil prices.

Some of these issues will be discussed again at the forthcoming G8 Summit in St. Petersburg in July to which we have been invited.

Madam Speaker,

There is much that still remains to be done in respect of gender mainstreaming: we must redouble all our efforts to ensure that our people and government realize that we cannot have real development unless we place women at the centre of all development plans and programmes.

This year we celebrate 50 years of the Women's march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria where the women declared that

"We shall not rest until we have won for our children their fundamental rights of freedom, justice and equality."

Two years before this in 1954, women had come together to draw up the Women's Charter. In this document, they aimed, among other things,

"To cooperate with all other organisations that have similar aims in South Africa as well as throughout the world."

To strive for permanent peace throughout the world."

With this march and this Charter, the women opened the road to a different future and asserted the alternative values of a different order, the values of equality, justice and the emancipation of women, among others.

They recognised that the struggle for women's equality was a part of a broader international struggle for peace and justice in the world.

True to this spirit we are preparing for the Pan African Women Organisation (PAWO). We understand that the women of the continent are keen that we host the conference and that the Secretariat should be permanently hosted here. Those discussions will continue and we shall report on progress in due course.

Madam Speaker,

South Africa recognises that for us to reach our full potential the continent should also reach its full economic potential. At the same time efforts in peacekeeping and in post conflict reconstruction will only be sustainable if there is a conscious effort to improve the economic wellbeing of countries that have come out of conflict. In this regard, we encourage engagement of our private sector on the African continent. Recent international reports register South Africa as the greatest contributor of Foreign Direct Investment to the rest of the continent.

· In an UNCTAD study of prospects for FDI outflows for 2005/6, South Africa featured in the top 15 leading sources of FDI. South Africa also heads the list of expected leading sources of FDI to Africa, followed by China, the UK, India, France, the US, Malaysia, Italy and Germany.

· According to Who Owns Whom and SAIIA, South African companies doing business in Africa have more than doubled since 1994. An analysis of South African investments showed that 232 South African investments employed a total of 71 874 people - of these 69617 are drawn from the local population and 2257 are South African.

· There has been significant trade with the continent.

· The rest of the continent contributes two thirds of foreign tourists to South Africa annually.

It is however important that our engagement with the continent be aimed at forging true partnerships for sustainable development.

Economic investment must be coupled with social and economic development.

Madame Speaker,

When Chief Albert Luthuli, President of the ANC, opened the 42nd Annual Conference of the ANC in 1953, he declared:

"Our interest in freedom is not confined to ourselves only. We are interested in the liberation of all oppressed people in the whole of Africa and in the world as a whole... Our active interest in the extension of freedom to all people denied it makes us ally ourselves with freedom forces in the world."

Guided by these words we shall continue to support the people of Western Sahara and Palestine in their struggle for self- determination.

Recent events in the Middle East are a major cause for concern. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be once again taking a dangerous course. We appeal to the Palestinian and Israeli leadership to exercise restraint and recognize that only through negotiations can there be guarantee for peace and security.

We also note with concern the unabating and unacceptably high levels of violence in Iraq. We were happy to share our experiences with the Iraqi Parliamentarians. We welcome the establishment of the new government and hope that it will contribute towards peace and stability.

IRAN

We wish to re-affirm that we will continue to throw our weight behind the implementation of international treaties and instruments in the fight against international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. In this regard, as committed multilateralists we shall defend the role of multilateral instruments such as the NPT (Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty) and the IAEA.
We appreciate the professional manner in which the IAEA and its Director General, Dr ElBaradei, have discharged their responsibilities, including with regard to the thorny issue of Iran, and congratulate them on being honoured with the well-deserved award of the Nobel Peace Prize.

We recognise the inalienable right of all NPT members, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, to the peaceful uses of nuclear technology and underline the importance of voluntary confidence building and transparency measures by Iran, and full cooperation with the IAEA, in accordance with its obligations, to resolve this issue.

We believe that this matter can be resolved within the IAEA and appeal to all parties to reduce confrontation and resort to dialogue and negotiations instead of aggravating further the tense and explosive situation in the region. Escalating confrontation and war talk is truly a recipe for disaster, which will benefit no one.

The 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) ended in deadlock. Over the 36 years of its existence it has yielded hardly any results in terms of nuclear disarmament by the Nuclear Weapon States. Indeed, we read constantly about the development of new types of nuclear weapons by some, not for deterrence but actual use.

Madam Speaker and Honourable Members,

This is the extent of the increasing threat to world peace and to the NPT itself. In this regard, we must re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of international peace and security and continue to struggle for a world totally free of all weapons of mass destruction. And we must let the Nuclear Weapon States understand that as long as some possess these deadly weapons, there will always be others who aspire to them.

UN REFORM

We remain seized with the issue of the reform of the UN. We advocate for a system of global governance that is representative, fair, based on international law and built around the UN. We favour an approach that is more responsive to the needs of our people and to the good of the collective, namely all the UN countries as a whole. We believe that only such an approach will effectively mobilize the international community to tackle the challenges of underdevelopment, global security and the promotion of human rights.

Important developments have taken place in the reform agenda- The establishment of the Human Rights Council and the Peacebuilding Commission.

The creation of the Human Rights Council is a landmark for the promotion and protection of human rights. South Africa is pleased to take its place in this new Council that meets for the first time in June this year in Geneva.

The Peacebuilding Commission is yet to be operationalised but it will play a pivotal role in the transition from conflict to post conflict reconstruction that is sustainable.

The struggle continues on the issue of expansion of the Security Council. This issue will receive attention at the AU Summit in Gambia in July this year.

We also welcome the initiative of the Secretary General for the management reform of the UN, which is currently work in progress. We believe that an efficient, more focused and more streamlined UN can better discharge its mandate. However, in so doing, we are anxious that the inclusive and intergovernmental character of the UN should be preserved. We must ensure democratic participation of big and small states and resist attempts to cause further alienation of particularly small and developing countries.

We were privileged to host the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan whom we wish to thank sincerely for his enormous contribution to the work of the UN.

This year saw our assumption of the Chair of the G77 and China. We also express our readiness to serve as a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2007/2008 following the endorsement of our country by the New York based permanent representatives of the African continent.

South-South Co-operation

Madam Speaker,

The 3rd Ministerial Trilateral Commission of the IBSA Dialogue Forum took place in March 2006 in Brazil, and will be followed by the IBSA Summit in September this year.

The Summit will focus on Energy, Transport, Climate Change, Science and Technology, ICT as well as Trade and Investment.

We are looking forward to the visit of the Chinese Premier in June. We will also participate in the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation in Beijing in early November 2006.

[Currently South African bilateral trade with China in 2005 was approximately R47 billion, which was about 22% of the trade with Africa.]

Madam Speaker,

Our Deputy Minister Aziz Pahad is currently leading a delegation at a NAM meeting in Malaysia in preparation for the NAM Summit in Havana later this year

We will also have the honour to host Senior Officials from Africa and Asia in South Africa on 1 - 3 September as a follow-up to the New Asia Africa Strategic Partnership established in Bandung last year.

GLOBAL GOVERNANCE: SOCIO-ECONOMIC

While we were disappointed with the lack of progress at the Hong Kong meeting in December last year, we are still pressing for a conclusion to the Doha Round that is favourable to developing countries.

We shall continue to keep up the pressure together with other countries to ensure trade that favours real development.

Madame Speaker,

We shall soon announce the successful bidder for the building of our new Headquarters. This will improve the general operations and reinforce a number of initiatives currently underway in the Department. Deputy Minister Van der Merwe will expand on these during this Debate.

Let me also take this opportunity to extend our best wishes to the five African Teams participating in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Madam Speaker

I would like to thank the President and the Deputy President for their stewardship of our country and their guidance in international affairs.

I acknowledge the cooperation and support of Ministers and Deputy Ministers. I would like to thank Mr Job Sithole, the chair, as well as all the members of the Portfolio Committee.

May I also convey my gratitude to Deputy Minister Pahad and Deputy Minister van der Merwe for their contributions as well as to the Director General, Ayanda Ntsaluba, and his team for their collective efforts in building a better South Africa in a better Africa and for a better world.

In conclusion, as we celebrate the tenth anniversary of our Constitution, we continue to be inspired by the struggle of our youth who, through their own efforts thirty years ago, ensured that the students of today enjoy a better life than yesterday.

We cannot truly celebrate the tenth anniversary of our Constitution without paying tribute to the workers' struggle which paved the way for our freedom, especially since it is the 60th anniversary of the historic African mineworkers strike of 1946.

It is in the spirit of all these heroic struggles - of the Bambatha Rebellion, of Satyagraha, of the workers' struggle, of the women's march, of the student uprising - that today we are part of Africa that is writing its own history - "a glorious and dignified history".

I ask this House to approve the Budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs for this financial year.

I thank you.

 

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