Remarks by Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe on the occasion
of Canada Day and Farewell to the Canadian High Commissioner, HE Ms Sandelle Scrimshaw,
Marimba Restaurant, International Convention Centre, Cape Town, 01 July 2006
Excellency High Commissioner Scrimshaw
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
of the Diplomatic Corps
I am delighted to be here
this afternoon to represent the South African government in congratulating Canada
and her distinguished representatives in South Africa at the celebration of Canada
Your country is 139 years old and ours as a democracy is only 12. Despite
this age difference we have much in common as the High Commissioner has said.
We are both proud of our democracies and of our people - of our respective cultures
and heritage. We are also proud of our friendship.
Canada has been a good
friend to South Africa, through the struggle years and in our new democracy. We
have received support from Canada's CIDA in a number of ways particularly in skills
development programmes and in building capacity in many areas, including in our
We cooperate as countries in international forums and in
many other areas such as cultural exchanges and in our people to people contacts.
are grateful for our friendship with your country and look forward to developing
this friendship and deepening it.
But today is not only a celebration of
this friendship but the friendship we have developed with Sandelle. It is sad
that we must say farewell to her after three short years here.
was one of the first Heads of Mission that I met when I was appointed in this
post and I can scarcely believe it is time for her to leave. We have become friends
and I am very sad to see her leave.
I understand that she will be taking
on a very challenging new position in the Canadian Diplomatic corps and we wish
her well in this new job. You have served Canada here in South Africa with distinction
and you will be a loss to the diplomatic corps here.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Sandelle is one of what appears to be a diminishing corps of women Heads of Mission
in South Africa. I would like to give notice that I will shortly be issuing a
decree that from now on only women will be accepted to replace women in positions
of Ambassador and High Commissioner in South Africa!! This decree will of course
I have not doubt be sanctioned by our President and Deputy President.
think it is fair to say that the women who represent their countries here in South
Africa have shown exceptional ability and professionalism. Graca Machel, in an
"If we have intelligence, imagination
and the ability
to dream, things can happen."
With the intelligence,
the imagination and the ability to dream, I think things have happened. Sandelle
has shown this in her work here.
High Commissioner, we regard you as a friend
of South Africa and know that you will represent us too in your new posting.
look forward to welcoming you back here to South Africa soon.
for your friendship and the charm and grace that you have brought to the Diplomatic
Corps in South Africa.
To the government and people of
Canada and the friendship between our two countries. Bon faite du Canada.
the High Commissioner, farewell and best wishes for your future.