Speech by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma at the Departmental End of the Year Function, Pretoria, 12 December 2007
Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Director General of the Foreign Affairs Department
All Deputy Directors-General
All Senior Management Staff
Our Foreign Affairs Staff
Ladies and Gentlemen:
As we are approaching the end of this year and are getting ready for Christmas and the New Year, often among our loved ones, I would like to convey to you a few personal thoughts on our foreign affairs family.
Maybe before I start, I would like us to remember those who, within the department, have passed away this year. I think that it is appropriate for us to remember them at this important function. May I propose that we observe a moment of silence in their remembrance.
I remain and always impressed by the creativity and dedication of the foreign affairs family. You have made this department one of the best in the nation and sustained and grown that reputation over many years.
Every year, I think that we cannot possibly outdo what we have accomplished the previous year, but, when I look back at the year's accomplishments, I yet again in awe by what we have achieved.
As 2007 comes to a close, I would like to liken it to a chapter in a very good book. Well, this year has certainly been that. As in any good book, there have been many surprises, some interesting turns of danger, sadness, laughter and inspiration. We may not be able to describe this past year as a page-turner, but it certainly has kept us engaged and actively involved in a lot of things.
While we have all been through some challenging times this year, there have been many more satisfying accomplishments along the way. I want to express my personal and heartfelt thanks to all of you, stating from the Director-General from for maintaining your balance, your sense of humour, your fortitude and, most of all, your humanity throughout the challenges of the year. I am so proud to be one of the many characters in our unfolding story. I say this on behalf of both Deputy Ministers.
As we celebrate today, let us remember other government departments we have worked with to ensure that our goals, values, principles and objectives are fulfilled. Let us remember our SANDF men and women – in uniform - who have made the ultimate sacrifice to secure peace and stability on the African continent - far away from home.
Let us pay tribute to their courage, and our thoughts go out to their families and friends who need all our sympathy and support, especially in these days around Christmas.
We cannot claim success in our endeavours without remembering our ontribution to peace in Sudan – Darfur, DRC especially in the East, participation in the African Union and our recent participation the European Union/Africa Summit in Lisbon.
We have also made economic strides for the country Asia and Americas but, I believe that we have not made enough.
In terms of public of public diplomacy, we have made wonders but I believe that we have to make more in terms of dealing with the media and I see this as a challenge for 2008.
As part of our challenges next year, we will be seeing and witnessing the further strengthening and empowerment of women through hosting PAWO (Pan-African Women’s Organisation) next year.
We also have a serious task of hosting the Diaspora Summit early next year as well as hosting the Southern African Development Committee (SADC) Summit which will see us taking over the chairing of SADC.
You are all, whatever your role and responsibilities, indispensable members of our foreign affairs family. Thank you so much for all your efforts this year, and I am looking forward to our joint work in the New Year after a well-deserved rest.
As the year 2007 draws to a close, I want to extend to all those who will be working during the festive season as we cannot all take vacation. I send my sincere appreciation them and especially their families and wish them my very best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.
And so, we turn over the last page on this year's chapter. Like with any good book, you do not want the story to end. Fortunately, we will start with a fresh new chapter next month. From the bottom of our heart, I commend and thank you for another wonderful year.
We have every right to be proud of our department and of ourselves. Savour those and the other thousands of daily accomplishments that make department of foreign affairs such a fabulous place.
Before I conclude, I also like to thank those who have been part of our enormous to complete our new building. I believe that this will give us a chance to work as a collective and do our work better. This team is worth our attention.
I also would like to thank those who have made sure that we do not have problems with our Auditor-General.
I would also like to thank that everyone, in whatever capacity you are, for the work you have played within foreign affairs and wish you a happy Christmas and New Year.
May also remind you of the dangers of this period. Don’t drink and Drive. Arrive Alive. We need all you as we enter the New Year. If you are not sure, use a condom.
I wish you to have a wonderful break and a happy festive season and New Year.
I thank you!!