Speech for Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the Freedom Day Celebrations 24 April 2008, Beijing, Peoples’ Republic of China
Honourable Minister of Science and technology of the Republic of South Africa, Mr. Mosibudi Mangena
Your Excellency Mr. Zhai Zun, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs
Your Excellency, Mr Wei Hong, Vice Governor of the Sichuan Province
Your Excellency, Mr Zhong Jianhua, China’s Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa
Your Excellency, Mr Liu Guijin, Special Envoy to Africa
Madam Xy Jinghu, Director General of Foreign Affairs
Your Excellency, Mr Ndumiso Ntshinga, South Africa’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China
Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great pleasure to address you on this occasion of the celebration of our fourteenth Freedom Day Celebrations, this is even more significant as it is forming part of the 10t Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South African and the People’s Republic of China.
Let me right from the outset express our profound appreciation for the launch of the China South Africa Friendship Association, this is a very important landmark in the history of our relations. People to people relations not only demonstrate the maturity of our relations but also ensures the sustainability of the relationship.
I understand it is the first with an individual African country. The South African government and the people are very honoured by this. We promise full cooperation from our part.
This South Africa day is as a result of our liberation which came about as a result of the support of the world and the Peoples Republic of China
As we proudly celebrate our Freedom and Democracy, we pay tribute to all those South Africans who sacrificed their lives so that we would be free and all those who participated in the struggle, we rededicate ourselves to ensuring a better life for all our people. We pledge to defend and reinforce the values and objectives that served to underpin our liberation struggle, with particular reference to our commitment to striving for a prosperous, peaceful, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and united South Africa and Africa. We also remain committed to the ideals of the African Renaissance and to contributing to a better world for all – a world that is just and equitable.
We believe that in China we have a strategic partner that is working with us to achieve these ideals and objectives, just as we worked together in the past in our fight for liberation.
South Africa and China are committed to finding solutions to our common problems - problems of underdevelopment, poverty, disease, illiteracy, and inequality. We do this for the benefit of our peoples and also in the interests of our respective regions and the developing world. We are working hard, therefore, to strengthen and enhance our strategic bilateral relationship, to implement the China-Africa partnership commitments and to ensure that the global multilateral system benefits all states and their peoples. History calls upon us to promote South-South cooperation and to make the world a better place for present and future generations.
As a country, we have had made great strides over the past fourteen years. Today, the economy is the strongest that it has ever been in our history. We are a modern, diverse, stable, and innovative country with a rich culture, a magnificent natural heritage and a warm people. We have an advanced infrastructure and a well-developed financial, economic and legal system. Many of our companies are globally competitive and in some instances are world leaders in their field, for example in the mining sector and in coal to fuel technology. Such companies can be seen operating in China today. South Africa offers an attractive investment environment and we are a growing and dependable trade partner. Our numerous and diverse tourism sites are world-renowned and we continue to be amongst the leaders in tourism growth figures.
Arising from our history, we are a country that embraces humanity and fundamental freedoms. Drawing on our own experiences in defeating colonialism and apartheid, we support the peaceful resolution of differences through negotiation and seek to participate in a dialogue of equals in resolving global differences. This is what informs us as we participate in global fora, such as the United Nations Security Council.
Having said this, we still have a long struggle ahead to overcome the legacies of apartheid and colonialism. We still face enormous challenges in terms of overcoming poverty, creating jobs for our people, providing universal health care and education, addressing social problems, promoting the advancement of women, ensuring sustainable development and growth, further building infrastructure, developing agriculture, and protecting the environment. These are challenges that we are committed to overcoming and we will spare no effort in achieving this.
Ladies and Gentlemen
This year China welcomes the world to Beijing for the Olympic Games. We wish China well and we look forward to being part of this magnificent event. We also look forward to welcoming the world to South Africa for the FIFA World Cup in 2010, the first Football World Cup to be held in Africa. We just hope that China will qualify to join our team in this global celebration!! The World Cup is providing further opportunities for us to address some of the challenges that I have mentioned.
In conclusion, let us celebrate today where we have come from. Let us celebrate what we have overcome and the many achievements that we have made. Let us particularly celebrate the pride that we feel as South Africans in our country and our people.
I also wish to take this opportunity to officially launch the commemorative stamp and envelope of the 10 Year Celebrations of Diplomatic Relations. I hope that this will remain a reminder of the significant progress and achievement that we have made through our tireless efforts to build a better future for our people.
I thank you
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
24 April 2008