Remarks by Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on the occasion of the Inauguration of the new Chancery of the South African Embassy in Algeria, 24 May 2010

The official inauguration of the new Chancery of our Embassy in Algeria today, represents another landmark in the historic relations between South Africa and Algeria.

It represents the productivity of the seeds planted by our heroes and heroines who came to Algeria in the early 1960s to establish contacts between our people to work together in pursuit of the just cause of freeing the African continent from the bondage of colonialism.

I am of course referring to people such as Robert and Margaret Resha, Johny Makhathini, Thami Sindelo John, Godfrey Motsepe and Victor Moche amongst others.

These titans were consolidating the foundation laid by Nelson Mandela who participated in the first high level contact between our two peoples when he met the then exiled Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) leadership in their headquarters in Oujda, Morocco, to mobilise material support for the newly formed South African liberation movement, uMkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation).

Indeed, it came as no surprise that soon after the full independence of Algeria, Mandela was invited to the military parade in honour of Mr Ahmed Ben Bella.

Building on the solid foundations laid by our forefathers, our two countries today enjoy a strategic partnership that is characterised by wide ranging cooperation on issues of common interest within the political, social and economic spheres.

This interaction is facilitated through our formal framework of cooperation that is the South Africa-Algeria Bi-National Commission of Cooperation (BNC) that we established in September 2000 to be chaired at a Presidential level.

In this context, it is fitting that this auspicious occasion takes place parallel to the 5th Session of the BNC. In this regard, the presence in Algeria of a high level delegation from our public and private sectors to be led by His Excellency President Jacob Zuma should be interpreted as a symbol of our never ending commitment to further strengthen our historic bonds.

Due to the sacrifices made by countries such as Algeria in support of our liberation struggle, South Africa will very shortly be hosting the very first FIFA World Cup on the African continent. It is in this light that our government has always emphasised that the 2010 FIFA World Cup is not only a South African event but the event that belongs to Africa and its people.

South Africa stands ready to welcome the Algerian football national team and its supporters for this historic sporting event where they can be assured of a very warm welcome and African hospitality.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I hereby declare this Chancery of the Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria officially inaugurated.

I thank you for your attention.

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