Notes for the Address to the outgoing Heads of Mission, Monday,
18 September 2006, Foreign Service Institute
Ladies and gentlemen
I am happy to be here to
share some of my thoughts with you regarding our foreign policy agenda and have
this opportunity to engage with each other on these matters.
I think it
is important that we are provided with this opportunity, because in spite of our
different backgrounds, we are all committed to serving a common cause, which is
to create a better South Africa in a better Africa for a better world.
national liberation has been about a move from our apartheid past towards non-racialism,
equity and unity in diversity. We have often expressed this in terms of creating
a better life for all.
- Of course we have always determined that
political freedom alone will not be sustained if not underpinned by tangible socio-economic
transformation. Seen in this way, creating a better life for all entails the adoption
and implementation of a value based set of policies and programmes aimed at, amongst
others, to create:
- a competitive fast growing economy which creates
sufficient jobs for all jobseekers;
- a redistribution of income and opportunities
in favour of the poor;
- a society capable of ensuring that sound health,
education and other services are available to all; and
- an environment
in which homes are safe and places of work are productive.
State of the Nation
In his State of the Nation this year, President
Mbeki gave a detailed picture of where we are this year and how far we still have
to go. You will of course agree that before we can even think about embarking
on an ambitious foreign policy agenda, we need to thoroughly understand our domestic
Our Foreign Policy is informed by our domestic policy and the two
are mutually reinforcing. Informed by our domestic policy, South Africa's foreign
policy is guided by the vision of a better South Africa in a better Africa and
a better world.
As we pursue our foreign policy, we are guided by the following
- The Consolidation of the African Agenda
- North-South Dialogue
- Global Governance (Political,
Economic and Security)
- Strengthening bilateral and multilateral relations
are our strategic priorities and they are enduring, principled and consistent.
marching orders: Key messages from the President's State of the Nation Address
Mbeki's address highlighted a set of key messages, which should be infused in
your work as Heads of Mission all over the world.
- This year opened
with the good news that our people were highly optimistic about their future and
the future of our country, ranking 8th in the world on the optimism index. Gallup
International, which issued this report, said we have three times more optimists
than pessimists, and that the optimism figure had doubled even since 2002.
results obtained by Gallup International have been confirmed by a recent domestic
poll conducted by Markinor. According to this poll, 65% of our people believe
that the country is going in the right direction. 84% think that our country holds
out a happy future for all racial groups. 71% believe that government is performing
- With regard to the economy, in January the Grant Thornton
International Business Owners Survey reported that 84% of South Africa's business
owners are optimistic about the year ahead, making them the third most optimistic
internationally. Again last month, the First National Bank and the Bureau for
Economic Research reported that the consumer confidence index is at its highest
in 25 years.
- What these figures signify is that our people are
firmly convinced that our country has entered its Age of Hope. They are convinced
that we have created the conditions to achieve more rapid progress towards the
realisation of their dreams. They are certain that we are indeed a winning nation.
is also a new national pride. You will also be pleased to know that a survey conducted
by the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) shows that 90% of
our population is proud of our country, our flag and National Anthem, while 60%
consider Freedom Day, April 27th, as the most important national day.
outcomes of these surveys communicate the unequivocal message that our people
- we should move faster to address the challenges of
poverty, underdevelopment and marginalisation confronting those caught within
the Second Economy, to ensure that the poor in our country share in our growing
- we should make the necessary interventions with regard to
the First Economy to accelerate progress towards the achievement of higher levels
of economic growth and development of at least 6% a year;
- we must sustain
and improve the effectiveness of our social development programmes targeted at
providing a cushion of support to those most exposed to the threat of abject poverty;
- we must act more aggressively with regard to our criminal justice system
to improve the safety and security of our people, especially by improving the
functioning of our courts and increasing our conviction rates to strengthen the
message that crime does not pay;
- we must ensure that the machinery of
government, especially the local government sphere, discharges its responsibilities
effectively and efficiently, honouring the precepts of Batho Pele; and,
must harness the Proudly South African spirit that is abroad among the people
to build the strongest possible partnership between all sections of our population
to accelerate our advance towards the realisation of the important goal of a better
life for all.
- Under the leadership
of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the three spheres of government have
been working together for some months to elaborate the specific interventions
that will ensure that ASGISA, the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of
South Africa, succeeds in its purposes, which include the reduction of the unemployment
- ASGISA is not intended to cover all elements of a comprehensive
development plan. Rather it consists of a limited set of interventions that are
intended to serve as catalysts to accelerated and shared growth and development.
- ASGISA has also identified particular sectors of our economy
for accelerated growth, building on the work already done within the context of
our existing Micro-Economic Reform Programme. These include:
- Metals and metallurgy;
- Wood, pulp and paper;
- The creative industries; and
- Clothing and textiles.
of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Missions in ASGISA: JIPSA
we have said so far, concerning ASGISA, points to the conclusion that, to meet
our objectives, we will have to pay particular attention to the issue of scarce
skills that will negatively affect the capacity of both the public and the private
sectors to meet the goals set by ASGISA.
- Together with our social
partners, we have agreed to a vigorous and wide-ranging skills development and
acquisition programme to meet any shortfalls we may experience.
other things, we have already agreed to establish within a few weeks a multi-stakeholder
working group, JIPSA, the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition, through
which government, business, labour and civil society will act jointly to respond
to the skills challenge in as practical a manner as possible.
of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Missions
- We must ensure
that we use all the offers for training and capacity development that emanate
from our bilateral agreements.
- We have already started a process coordinated
by my office in support of Deputy President, to conduct an audit of these offers
and putting them to good use.
The 2010 World Cup and the role of
the Department of Foreign Affairs and Missions
- The 2010 Soccer
World Cup will make an important contribution to our effort to accelerate our
progress towards the achievement of the goal of a better life for our people.
Similarly, as an African Soccer World Cup, it will give additional impetus to
our struggle to achieve Africa's renaissance.
represented in Inter-governmental 2010 Committees
- Minister of Foreign
Affairs a member of the IMC on 2010
- DFA represented on Technical Co-ordinating
Committee chaired by Deputy Minister Jabu Moleketi
- DFA 2010 Operational
Unit consists of Protocol, Consular and Marketing sections
impact of hosting the 2010 World Cup
- Event is a superb platform
to raise the profile of "BRAND SOUTH AFRICA"
- Substantial investment
in tourism, transport and infrastructure
- focused attention from international
media provides unique opportunity to advance "Economic Diplomacy"
000 visitors expected in SA
- 3 million tickets to be sold
- 40 billion
people (cumulative) in 207 countries expected to watch the 64 matches
billion direct expenditure
- R213 billion to GDP
- 129 000 jobs to
- R7,2 billion taxes to be collected
- Opportunity for
RSA to use its elevated stature for positioning and advancing the African Agenda
- Hosting of event in Africa is historic and in alignment with
the African Renaissance
- Opportunity to change negative stereotypes about
- Complements NEPAD objectives of partnership between developed and
- Concept of an 'African World Cup' will profile the
whole continent and possibly stimulate renewed investment interest in Africa
of the Department of Foreign Affairs
- Minister of Foreign Affairs
has signed various guarantees relating to our work, for example to ensure that
all national flags and anthems of participating countries will be flown and sung
during the event
- DFA to provide Protocol Courtesies to FIFA dignitaries,
Heads of State/Government and other VVIPs attending the event
- DFA to provide
relevant Ceremonial Services to VVIPs
- DFA to provide Hospitality Services
- DFA to provide a comprehensive Flag Bank to ensure correct City
- DFA to provide a comprehensive Audio Library to ensure availability
of relevant National Anthems
Role of the Missions
Missions to embark on a sustained marketing campaign to promote the event, South
Africa and Africa
- SA Missions to be beefed up in order to facilitate a
seamless process of issuing of visas
- This will be followed up as the campaign
Consolidating the African
- We will continue to engage the African challenges, focusing
on peace and democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire
and Sudan, the strengthening of the African Union and the acceleration of the
process of the implementation of the NEPAD programmes. In this context we have
to ensure that we conduct a successful self-assessment process as we prepare our
national report for the African Peer Review Mechanism.
- As the
current Chair of the G77 + China we will do everything possible to advance the
interests of the South, including in the context of the continuing WTO negotiations,
and the urgent challenge to reform the United Nations, including the Security
- We remain actively engaged to help find solutions to
the various matters relating to the Israel/Palestine and the Iranian issues. We
are committed to the pursuit of negotiated agreements in this regard, consistent
with our long held views in favour of the formation of a State of Palestine, security
for Israel, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the use of nuclear technology
for peaceful purposes.
the purposes of advancing the agenda of Africa and the South, South Africa actively
engages and co-operates with like-minded countries, ad-hoc coalitions, regional
and sub-regional groups and other forums such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM),
G20+, India-Brazil-South Africa Dialogue Forum (IBSA) and the Commonwealth through
which it adopts common positions. Whilst South Africa clearly positions itself
within NAM and other multilateral fora as one of the leading voices of the South,
it also maintains independence in pursuing its principled positions on global
- South Africa endeavours
to consolidate an agenda for the South and to build partnership with the North
to forge a common vision for meeting the pressing challenges faced by the global
community, including poverty eradication, peace and security, good governance
and sustainable development. Under the guidance of the objective to create "a
better life for all" South Africa has strategically accepted requests or
suggestions for assuming leadership positions and continued to nurture the high
respect that its moral leadership has received. South Africa continues to be seen
as a hope for others who wish to achieve a people-centred global order through
the constructive and innovative ways it is attempting to deal with its two economies,
the rich, technologically driven first economy and the poor, underdeveloped second
- South Africa, consistently
asserts the importance of multilateralism and the urgent need to revitalize and
reform the UN. To curtail the abuse of power and influence in multilateral institutions
such as the UN, South Africa also consistently calls for more equitable representation
of Africa and other developing regions and for the adoption of more just and transparent
rules and procedures.
- United Nations Security Council - South Africa's
election for a non-permanent seat.
[I thought here we might look at
the report of the UNSC Workshop conducted by Multilateral]
bilateral relations with other nations of the world
- All of the Heads
of Mission present will be working towards improving existing relations and consolidating
- Foreign presentation should actually cut across all the bilateral
work that Heads of Mission will perform at their new workstations.
are a number of important documents and publications that I would like to draw
to your attention and which I think will be essential for you to read to keep
up to speed on what is happening at home. These include:
- Key messages
- Bua News
- Strategic Plan
- DFA today
documents from PCAS
to name a few.
I wish you all well in your
new roles and thank you once again for the opportunity to talk with you.