Remarks delivered by South Africa’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Dr Naledi Pandor, on the occasion of the Presidential Inauguration and 30-Years Anniversary Celebration of the Independence of the Republic of Namibia, 21 March 2020

Your Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob;
Excellencies, Heads of State and government
Honourable Ministers;
High Commissioners;
Members of the Diplomatic Corps;
Distinguished Guests;
Ladies and gentlemen:

I am privileged to address this august gathering today on behalf of the people of South Africa and President Cyril Ramaphosa, who directed me to convey a heartfelt message of congratulations to you and the people of Namibia on this historic occasion. It is a great honour to address you on behalf of South Africa.

President Ramaphosa sincerely wished to be present at this wonderful ceremony but had to be in South Africa addressing pressing challenges related to the Covid-19 outbreak in our country.

Allow me to warmly congratulate Namibia on the 30th anniversary celebration of your independence. We salute all those who contributed to freedom in Namibia, on a day such as this one their courageous role remains an indelible part of Namibia’s history.

When Namibia attained its freedom on this day back in 1990, the people of Africa and the globe celebrated, because this was a victory not only of the people of Namibia but also a victory of all freedom-loving people of the world. For us in South Africa, Namibian independence communicated a clear message that the path to freedom for South Africa was assured and irreversible.

Your Excellency;

Today, we also celebrate the Namibian Presidential inauguration – yet another notable event marking this great nation’s further entrenchment of the successes of the post-apartheid and post-colonial democratic era.

We are delighted to congratulate you on your inauguration for a second term as the President of the Republic of Namibia. I can assure you that Africa and the developing world at large regard Namibia as one of the premier African democracies, both in word and in deed. Since achieving liberation thirty years ago, Namibia has been a beacon of democracy, peace and stability, clearly demonstrating post-colonial Africa’s determination to define its own destiny – on its own terms.

As South Africa, we can attest that our relationship remains anchored on mutual respect, shared values, solidarity and understanding, within the context of Pan-Africanism. It is also informed by the need to defeat our common enemy, poverty and underdevelopment, in both our countries and the continent as a whole.

Mr President;

From the African Union’s perspective, we view Namibia as an integral partner in advancing the African Agenda and remain committed to working closely with Your Excellency, the government and the people of Namibia in pursuit of greater regional integration through the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) as well as continental political and economic integration as articulated in the AU’s Agenda 2063.

During its Chairship of the AU, South Africa will continue to rely on the support of Namibia as it pursues the strategic goals that underpin its role as chair of the African Union.

We remain confident that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) will be implemented seamlessly in our region, where we hope to use our neighbourliness to give effect to this landmark African development which, along with other regional integration policies, will constitute a building block towards an Africa-wide integration, bolstering intra-Africa trade.

We also share responsibility for continued efforts to strengthen the SADC as a necessary building block for continental unity and development.

As the Chair of the AU South Africa has embraced the theme, “Silencing the Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development’. Again we lean on the exemplary leadership of Namibia in ensuring that this important AU objective becomes a living reality.

We trust that through the entrenchment of democracy on the African continent, of which Namibia is among the leading lights, as well as the creation of sustainable peace and stability, Africa will steadily but surely advance towards its defined vision.

Mr President;

Mr President, in conclusion and again on behalf of President Ramaphosa and South Africa, I would like to express our appreciation to you for hosting us and for your warm hospitality. May you and the people of Namibia have good health and prosperity. Long may democracy reign supreme on the soil of an independent and free Republic of Namibia!

I thank you.


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