Address by Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the Departmental
Year End Function on 15 December 2006
The Programme director
DG is not here
DDG's who are all here
Leadership of the
All members of the Department who are here
Its a pleasure
to be here today, at certain times we are not able to share this end of year day.
A few times I've been away when you were having this function.
Today I am
very happy that we are able to come together, just to celebrate the end of year
because its been a very hard year.
I know that all of you have worked
very hard in your different responsibilities and we can without a fear of contradiction
say we have done well this year. And hopefully we will do better next year.
would really like to thank every single one of you but to also say that the work
you are doing in many ways is a contribution to what we have all committed ourselves
in this country - a better life for all.
A better life for all starts with
you - whatever responsibility you are given you have to do it well. We have to
all go to bed every day and be able to say I have done my best today. In that
way you are contributing to a better life for all.
Of course we have
also as this department the responsibility to contributing towards a better world
and that means in whatever we do; our foreign policy and how we implement it has
to contribute to a better world and we must say this year we have done well.
One of the highlights of our work has been the elections,
the democratic elections in the Congo. The Congo has not had democratic elections
for more than forty years but South Africa has consistently been trying and contributing
to a democratic dispensation in the Congo.
We all recall a time when our
former President Mandela, together with his then Deputy President who is President
now spent time on the Antaniqua, that boat that ship ,where they spent time talking
to Mabuto, talking to Kabila Senior, Laurent Kabila.
It's been the long
time, almost ten years since that time. But we know that this kind of work is
not the kind of work where you plant a seed today and eat the olives tomorrow.
The person who usually plants olive trees in this department, is not necessarily
the one who will have it but the important thing is to keep on planting the olive
So that there are people in future who will be able to reap them.
So our former president started the process. It ended with the democratic elections
and there are a lot of people in this department, who in one way or another have
contributed to that process. We know that we have contributed to a better life
in the Congo just as we contributed to a better life in Burundi.
efforts that we are making are in a small way consistently contributing to a better
life, so we should in that case congratulate ourselves for the contribution in
the Congo and Burundi because South Africa played a very critical role in both
of these countries.
I think the defining moment of the Congolese process
started on the boat Antaniqua so this department has done well there.
there are lots of other things that this department has done in various parts
of the world, all contributing to South Africa being seen as an important player.
Nationally we are seen as a miracle. The truth is, it is not a miracle
its hard work.
Men and women in this country have produced the South Africa
that we live in today and are at the same time fashioning the South Africa that
our children will leave in tomorrow.
year, in January will be serving in the Security Council as a non-permanent member
for the first time and of course that has the implications for all of us, because
that is not just a simple role to be in the Security Council.
Council has the responsibility for our collective security worldwide. So we will
be taking decisions that have direct implications for people's lives worldwide.
A lot of decisions of the Security Council are binding to the governments the
So it's a very responsible position, which means we have to
work hard. We have to understand the agenda and the issues.
I'm glad we
have a very good team.
Just before we came here we were actually discussing
part of our agenda for the Security Council.
As you know the Security Council
works twenty four hours around the clock so we have to be a step ahead in terms
of understanding their agenda, in terms of discussing the issues.
have a good team and all the support from the department and the government. I'm,
therefore, quite sure will manage that responsibility very well.
think the department itself has grown, and has also been rejuvenated. I see a
lot of young blood around which is nice because it means the department has a
future. Young people are the guarantee of the future of this department.
as young people you are very welcome to this department. But being in this department
is a very special honour and privilege. You, therefore, have to conduct yourself
with that in mind - to represent your country internationally.
It's a big
honour that your country has bestowed on all of us that we are the representatives
of South Africa - that comes with huge responsibilities and as young people we
have to learn and understand that you have to work hard. I know a lot of people
who make mistakes whilst working hard and that is acceptable.
I have really
no time for people who are lazy. If you make a mistake working hard, we are all
humans but if you think you are going to protect yourself from making mistakes
by being lazy you don't belong here. Anyone who is lazy does not belong here.
I don't see anybody who is lazy here. As long as you are not lazy, you are welcome
and behave yourself in a befitting manner
Editor's note: The Minister deliberated
at length on the role of women in society, the empowerment of women in critical
positions of influence in business, government and our respective communities.
Although progress has been made in this regard, the Minister emphasised that the
departmental transformation process should significantly spearhead the promotion
of women to be entrusted to positions of influence.
also referred to the Beijing Conference on Women that took place almost twelve
years ago in China and drew on the following examples: " A clause there that
is talking about non-discrimination including sexual orientation - I am talking
about this because is something that is being talked about in the whole of the
country - and the South African delegation was defending this clause, others were
saying no and a few delegation was defending it including the South Africans,
maybe in Africa we were not many.
I remember at some stage one of them,
bolder African delegations came to us and said what's wrong with you South African
women? Why are you defending this clause? So we said to them - we come from a
very difficult history of discrimination and as we were fighting our struggle
against discrimination, we were saying to ourselves that we will be building a
nation where nobody will feel discriminated against.
So it's got nothing
to do with what you think as an individual, its got to do with the principle that
we are not going to discriminate against people - and it's important because the
Deputy Minister (Sue van der Merwe) was telling me, when she was accompanying
a foreign dignitary to one of our townships - this foreign dignitary was approached
by an elderly South African man - who the said, yes you have passed this law,
of course he did not realise that this was a foreign dignitary, he thought he
was a South African - but where are the children going to come from, tell me.
Now it's not for us to ask that question, its personal choices but our
Constitution says we should not discriminate. I think that's what we should be
explaining to our people in case we meet this - we should not be defensive- it's
an anti-discrimination law that the Constitutional Court had said should be passed
and because we believe in non-discrimination, that's what we have done so that
our people understand where we come from, that this is a free country.
said that - please thank you very much for the hard work, I hope most of you will
get time to rest and recharge your batteries.
I hope you will spend some
time with your families because one disadvantage in Foreign Affairs is that most
of the time you spend time away from your families. Some of us at one stage or
another, we'll spend time away from our families and this is the time for those
who will not be working full-time, the skeleton staff that will remain, to spend
your time with your families.
Please to thank them on our behalf for having
been patient with your absence. Thank them for having tolerated the fact that
sometimes you will have to travel, sometimes you have to come back home late and
say to them , we are very grateful for their contribution to your work, government's
work, but it is also their own contribution to a better life for other people.
So look after them and look after yourselves. We want to see all of you next year.
So do come back.
A lot of you will drink I know. Just drink moderately,
don't drink to a point where you will not remember who you are because lots of
things might happen which might have real consequences for your future, the life
of your family. Please don't put your life and others at risk. So use a condom.
If you think you have drunk too much, ask a friend to drive your car.
Please enjoy Christmas, enjoy the New Year and lastly I am very happy to Mxo
(Mxolisi Nkosi) smiling - welcome Mxo - but enjoy yourselves - this is the time
to enjoy yourselves."