Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s Remarks on the occasion of the Official Opening of the State Protocol Lounge, OR Tambo International Airport, 8 May 2008
Director-General of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Ayanda Ntsaluba; Members of the Airports Company of South Africa; Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Distinguished Guests; Members of Staff; Ladies and Gentlemen
It is indeed a privilege to be accorded the honour of officially opening this State Protocol Lounge located in an airport whose name, conjures memories of the great heroism of our people in the bitter struggle against apartheid –which the world had condemned as a heresy and a crime against humanity.
Accordingly, as we officially open this State Protocol Lounge we must necessarily ask the question what Oliver Tambo, in whose name this international airport is appropriately named, would have said given the opportunity to open this facility?
In a Statement at the Plenary meeting of the General Assembly of the UN in New York 26 October 1976 speaking on the vision of a future South Africa, Oliver Tambo said: “Like all other patriots, we love our country and its peoples-all its peoples. It is a varied land of snow-capped mountain peaks, of deserts and sub-tropical greenery covering vast mineral resources. Its warm seas to the east and cold ones to the west contain also large animal and mineral resources”.
“Our peoples, with their varied cultures which are continuously mingling and interacting to their mutual enrichment, exhibit, despite their conditions, a great love for life and a sensitive joy in the creative and human endeavours of the peoples of the world, without exception”
“We will create a South Africa in which the doors of learning and of culture shall be open to all. We will have a South Africa in which the young of our country shall have the best that mankind has produced, in which they shall be taught to love the people of all races, to defend the equality of the peoples, to honour creative labour, to uphold the oneness of mankind and to hate untruths, immorality and avarice”
“We will have a South Africa which will live in peace with its neighbours and with rest of the world. It will base its foreign relations on the principles of non-interference and mutually advantageous assistance among the peoples as well as the continuation of the struggle against the system of imperialist and neo-colonialist domination”
DIRECTOR OF CEREMONIES
Today, Oliver Tambo is no more, however, the principal task facing all of us who will utilise and work in this facility, is to ensure that in our daily interactions with the people and guests that will go through this facility we exhibit none other than the values and ethos for which Oliver Tambo dedicated his entire life.
Accordingly, we must through this facility, express to the world and its peoples as Oliver Tambo said, our humility, the warmth and love of our people and our country, our varied cultures, our great love for life, and a sensitive joy in the creative and human endeavours of the peoples of the world.
As Oliver Tambo would have reminded us, the dawn of peace, freedom and justice in our country is partly a consequence of the sacrifices that the peoples of the world made for us today to enjoy our freedom.
Accordingly, as we open this State Protocol lounge, which we believe will indeed serve as a gateway into our country, the region and most certainly our continent, will convey to the peoples of the world, our gratitude for the international solidarity displayed during our own national struggle for peace, freedom and justice.
We wish to assure Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners present here today that we will endeavour to ensure that this facility conveys an unequivocal message of our commitment to help facilitate and assist the peoples of the world represented in our country through your embassies and high commissions, to do the work you have to do in our country unhindered.
Critical for those of our Department who will daily work in this facility and therefore be our first point of contact with the international community, is to recognise the honour bestowed upon them in working in this facility located at the Oliver Tambo International Airport.
Accordingly, we urge them to treat this jewel of our people like the apple of their eye! We must therefore work not just for the sake of working but must necessarily be inspired by the vision and mission that sustained Oliver Tambo throughout his life- an unflinching sacrifice and humility in the service of the people of our country! Your motto as you go through your daily chores in this facility should indeed be motivated by none other than what Oliver Tambo said “ love for the people of all races, defend the equality of the peoples, honour creative labour, uphold the oneness of mankind and hate untruths, immorality and avarice”
On behalf of our President Thabo Mbeki, the government and people of our country, we take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all those who took their time off, including the Airports Company of South Africa, staff of the Protocol Section of the Department of Foreign Affairs, to receive and welcome our guests in a warm and friendly manner and to make the necessary arrangements to make today indeed a great success- Your contributions adds to our peoples efforts daily to make South Africa a better country to live in!
I thank you.
Issued by: Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
08 May 2008