Address by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, at the Minister’s Breakfast in honour of the Diplomatic Corps, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre 1, Ballroom East, Cape Town, on 22 June 2019

Deputy Minister Mashego-Dlamini
Deputy Minister Botes
Ambassador Mpoko – Dean of the Diplomatic Corps
Excellencies Ambassadors and
High Commissioners
Director-General Moahai
Deputy Directors-General
Senior officials of embassies in South Africa
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

I wish to begin by thanking you all for accepting our invitation and attending this breakfast. I sincerely look forward to working closely with all of you and to continue strengthening the strong bonds of friendship built by my predecessor Minister Sisulu and her team.

Our remarks this morning are primarily introductory as we will have the opportunity to present a definitive statement at my budget vote debate in mid-July.

The assignment of serving as the President’s minister of international relations and co-operation is both a privilege and a daunting challenge. I hope to respond successfully to these with your esteemed help and support.

I come into this office at a time when seismic changes continue to face world leaders – all of us have to develop effective responses to the dynamic changes that straddle domestic regional and global domains.

I know that I can rely on all of you to work closely with my department to advance the international relations goals of South Africa, SADC and our entire continent.  After all, we enjoy freedom to-day due in large measure to the support many of you gave us during our hard fought struggle for freedom. The collaboration we secured then, the single minded determination aimed at defeating apartheid is required even more as we confront the issues of ensuring increased African prosperity, the education and skilling of our youth populations, the entrenching of quality for women, the creation of sustainable inclusive democracies and respect for diversity and inclusion globally.  Our President Ramaphosa set out this government’s key priorities last night – it is my task to ensure our work in DIRCO contribute to these and to especially give attention to our Agenda 2063 for the continent of Africa.

As DIRCO we are convinced that our focus must consistently be our priorities, action to advance the development of the African continent, support for advancing human rights, promotion of respectful co-operative relations between nations, and active participation in achieving peaceful resolution of conflicts and of course support for measures to achieve increased robust and inclusive economic development. These are tough aspirations in a world that seems determined to be fractured and tense. I am certain that all the excellencies gathered here share the noble ambitions of DIRCO and while I know we may not succeed in all of them, I am truly honoured that I have been charged to work closely with you to really try to achieve these ideals and I sincerely look forward to working with you to get your support in achieving as many of them as possible.

Thank you.


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