Address Delivered by The President of South Africa, Kgalema Motlanthe, on the Occasion of the Swearing-In of Cabinet Ministers in Harare, Zimbabwe, 13 February 2009
Your Excellency, President Robert Mugabe;
Your Excellencies, Vice Presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru;
Your Excellency, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai;
Your Excellencies, Deputy Prime Ministers Prof Arthur Mutambara and Ms Thokozani Khupe;
Your Excellency, former President Thabo Mbeki, the SADC Facilitator;
Honourable President of the Senate and the Honourable Speaker of the House of Assembly;
SADC Executive Secretary, Dr Tomaz Salomao;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Senior Civil Servants;
Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am honoured to be part of this historic event of the swearing in of the Cabinet and, more importantly, the formal inauguration of the inclusive government of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
May I take this opportunity to congratulate the Honourable Prime Minister, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, and Deputy Prime Ministers, Professor Arthur Mutambara and Ms Thokozani Khupe who were sworn-in on Wednesday this week.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the political leadership and, in particular, the people of Zimbabwe for this great achievement.
I have no doubt that the people of Zimbabwe, the SADC region and the entire African continent are filled with an enormous sense of pride that this historic moment has finally arrived.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I would be failing in my responsibility as the Chair of SADC if I did not express a word of profound appreciation to the SADC appointed Facilitator of the Zimbabwe political dialogue process, Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki, without whose leadership, patience, tenacity and steadfastness we would not have reached today’s milestone in the history of Zimbabwe.
The critical role played by the Facilitation Team, appointed by President Mbeki, to spearhead the negotiations process is also hereby gratefully acknowledged.
Tribute is also due to the negotiators representing the Zimbabwean political parties to the dialogue process for the selflessness and professionalism which they displayed throughout the process.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to reiterate that today’s occasion represents a significant milestone for this country, the region and the continent.
The inclusive government that is being inaugurated today will give impetus to the march towards national reconciliation, economic recovery, and the reconstruction and development of Zimbabwe.
Today’s occasion allows this inclusive government to immediately embark on a comprehensive programme to tackle the challenges the country is facing in areas such as health, education and agriculture.
It is the beginning of a long and arduous journey. There is an immeasurable trust and confidence placed in your abilities to lead the people of Zimbabwe, in their forward march to rebuild the country.
The people of this country as well as the SADC region, the AU and the international community are optimistic that today’s event will usher in the beginning of a new era in Zimbabwe, an era that will lead to improved socio-economic conditions for all the citizens of this country.
We congratulate all Ministers who have just been sworn in.
The people of Zimbabwe have pinned their hopes on you and are looking up to you to provide leadership.
The people of Zimbabwe can rest assured that the government and people of South Africa are ready and willing to engage and assist this great nation in the process of rebuilding the economy of the country.
Equally, I wish to assure the inclusive government and the people of Zimbabwe that there is more than sufficient goodwill in the SADC region and AU to help Zimbabwe back on its feet.
Allow me also to use this momentous occasion to reiterate our call on the US government, UK and other EU governments to immediately lift sanctions against Zimbabwe in order to facilitate the flow of aid to the country.
I wish the Ministers who have been sworn in today, good health, good luck, God speed and success in all their endeavours to improve the lives of all Zimbabweans during their term of office.
Thank you for your attention.
Issued by Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
13 February 2009