Toast Remarks by H.E. President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the State Banquet hosted by H.E. President John Magufuli during South Africa's State Visit to Tanzania, 11 May 2017
Your Excellency, President Magufuli and Mrs Magufuli;
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
I wish to thank you, Your Excellency, for your fraternal words of welcome. Indeed, we feel at home in Tanzania!
Let me also convey our sincere gratitude for the well-known hospitality that has been extended to us since our arrival in this great City of Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania is a home to many South Africans and to the people of Southern Africa, because this country became their home and base during the very difficult times of the struggle against colonialism and Apartheid.
We are particularly happy to be there because relations between Tanzania and South Africa are very special. They are based on a firm historical linkage.
This important visit takes place during Africa month and also during the year of our former ANC President, Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo in our country. It is automatically the year in which we fondly remember the solidarity we received from our sister countries during our struggle for freedom. Tanzania in particular, has a special place in the hearts of the South African people and the continent.
President OR Tambo had this say about Tanzania’s contribution to the liberation of the continent:
“Tanzania - a lodestar for the total liberation of our continent, has always been at the heart of initiatives and collective efforts directed at consolidating and expanding united action and cooperation in every field of sub-regional, regional and continental endeavour.”
In this regard, we wish to salute and honour the selfless contribution and support of the people of Tanzania to our liberation struggle.
It was in recognition of Tanzania’s contribution to our freedom that made Former President Nelson Mandela soon after his release from prison in 1990, to prioritise a visit to this great and true African country.
President Mandela’s visit was a recollection and expression of his personal appreciation to President Mwalimu Nyerere, whom he had met in 1962, and sought support for the armed struggle and a place to train uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK) combatants.
Historic decisions that changed the course of history in our country were taken here in Tanzania. This country afforded our movement the ANC and leadership the space to develop the watershed change in strategy, a gesture that would ultimately result in the eventual overthrow of one of the most inhumane and oppressive systems ever adopted by a regime.
We will also never forget Tanzania’s contribution to the education of our people. Tanzania heeded our clarion call, when in the aftermath of the 1976 student uprising, our leader Oliver Reginald Tambo approached the Tanzanian Government for the allocation of a piece of land to establish a school for South African’s banished from their country to pursue an education worthy of our citizens.
The Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College (Somafco) was established and commenced to provide, what we today accept as normal, quality education.
Later, Dakawa was established to provide especially vocational training and further contribute to the skills our people acquired and which would in future also assist to build the new democratic South Africa.
In fact, there could never be enough time to share our warm and fraternal experiences in Tanzania.
As we gather this evening, we are also reminded of former President Nyerere’s state visit to South Africa in 1997.
It was during that visit that Mwalimu Julius Nyerere uttered profound words when addressing the democratic Parliament of a free South Africa in Cape Town, on 16 October 1997.
His words were relevant twenty (20) years ago, as they are today. President Nyerere said:
“So this is a different Africa. I am saying that this Africa now is changing.
Neo-colonialism is being fought more effectively, I think, with a new leadership in Africa. And I believe the one region which can lead this fight is our region. With the end of apartheid and South Africa having joined SADC, this area of Africa is a very solid area.
“It is an extremely solid area. It is strong, it has serious leaders and these leaders know one another.
I know that because where some of them have come from, they have a habit of working together, Mr. President, so let them work together. Deliberately. It should be a serious decision to work together. Why? You have no other choice. You have absolutely no other choice.”
These are the words of a true visionary.
For the changing Africa which Mwalimu spoke about to achieve the developmental goals and objectives we are all striving for, we have no choice, absolutely no choice but to work together.
We must work together to establish linkages that will allow for effective and efficient intra-Africa trade.
In fact, our visit to Tanzania seeks to actualise the same sentiments that the two countries should work together more than ever.
Similarly as we fought the scourge of apartheid, with the same resolve South Africa and Tanzania should use their national resources strategically to combat the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality that are facing our people.
We must utilise the Binational Commission mechanism to consolidate and deepen our bilateral relations.
To date, we have sixteen agreements and memoranda of understanding between our two sister Republics, including the two signed this morning.
We need to prioritise the implementation of all these agreements.
Through the BNC, we shall finalise the outstanding legal instruments.
We had a successful engagement with business from both countries. We have agreed to invest in energy and infrastructure amongst other priorities, to address the economic development challenges and remove trade barriers in order to facilitate intra-Africa trade and regional integration.
Tanzania is geo-politically and strategically positioned. She is uniquely placed as a member of both SADC and the East African Community. Both organisations share the idea of cross-border economic integration, envisioned by the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area launched in June 2015.
When it comes to issues of peace and stability, Tanzania remains a strategic and dependable partner.
As OR Tambo said “Tanzania has always been at the heart of initiatives and collective efforts directed at consolidating and expanding united action and cooperation in every field of sub-regional, regional and continental endeavour”.
Allow me to take this opportunity to commend Your leadership as the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, and particularly your valuable contribution towards peace and stability in the SADC region.
I cannot end my remarks without congratulating Chama Cha Mapinduzi as they celebrate 40th Anniversary.
Your sister and fraternal party, the ANC wishes you all the best and looking forward to closer cooperation, as we work to ensure effective governments in both countries, led by the two parties.
In conclusion, our respected leader, Mwalimu told us in 1997 that Africa was changing and thus needed to work together.
There is absolutely no choice.
Unity is the key to prosperity for the African continent and for all our peoples.
Your Excellency and distinguished guests,
May you please rise and join me in a toast to the good health of His Excellency, President John Magufuli and to the prosperity and everlasting solidarity between the peoples of Tanzania and South Africa.
To friendship and comradeship!
I thank you.
Issued by The Presidency