Address by President Jacob Zuma during the occasion of the receiving of Letters of Credence, Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, Pretoria
Countries: Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of El Salvador, Republic of Tunisia, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, Republic of Mauritius, Republic of Bulgaria, Djibouti, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic and the Republic of Seychelles
Your Excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassadors and your families and colleagues,
I would like to wish you a warm welcome to our beautiful country and also to express my pleasure for hosting you today.
Your presence here today is confirmation of our resolve to continue strengthening relations that exist between our respective countries and people.
Today’s occasion is preceded by the 105 years celebration of South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, which took place on the 8th of this month.
During the anniversary celebrations, we reaffirmed our commitment to strengthening our relations with various regions in the globe.
You are therefore formally commencing with your tour of duty at a very significant period in the context of our foreign policy.
This year marks 100 years since the birth of the late Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo OR Tambo, the longest serving ANC President, who played a leading role in determining our current foreign policy outlook.
We have decided as government to embark on a yearlong programme to celebrate the centenary of Oliver Reginald Tambo. The celebrations will highlight his contribution to the struggle against apartheid and improve understanding of the foundations of South Africa’s freedom and democracy.
In addition we hope to enhance the understanding of the ideals and values that shaped South Africa’s domestic and foreign policy as well as to demonstrate the importance of foreign policy in addressing domestic challenges.
I am confident that these celebrations will provide us with an opportunity to strengthen our people to people relations.
We begin the year still concerned mindful of the difficult global economic situation which has had an impact on our country and many other nations. Our interconnectedness and interdependence on the global economy has not shielded us from the ripple effects of the economic slowdown.
The recovery from the 2008 financial crisis has been a lethargic one, moreover the decline in commodity prices in recent times had worsened the situation.
However, I am encouraged by the changing trajectory. We are very pleased with the latest improvement commodity prices.
This will provide impetus for us to stimulate economic growth and create the much need jobs.
We believe that the conducive environment that exists in our country will enable us to attract more investment into our shores and the continent at large.
In this regard, I would like to encourage you to explore more areas of cooperation for mutual benefit, between South Africa and your respective countries.
As you are aware, the fourth industrial revolution is also upon us. Whilst there are numerous opportunities in this regard, you would also appreciate that we need to mitigate possible negative impacts of this revolution to developing economies.
We must ensure that it contributes to betterment of lives of our people particularly the poor and marginalised and the youth.
On a separate but related matter, our government is hard at work in trying to find long term solutions to challenges of funding and access to higher education in our country.
Our young people are hungry for education. We appealed to them a few years ago to prioritise education and training, and they have responded positively. Universities and colleges battle to find space for eager young people each year. We also continue to search or better ways of helping them to fund their studies, especially those from poor households.
We are happy that our youth see value in education in this manner. It augurs well for the country.
We take this opportunity to thank all countries with which we have partnerships in education and training or exchange programmes. We will continue to explore these partnership to enable our youth to spread their wings beyond our shores where possible.
We will continue this year to prioritise the maintenance of peace, security and stability on the continent.
We will continue to support peace efforts on the continent with a view to realising the clarion call by the African Union that we should silence the guns in Africa by 2020.
Moreover, we are confident that the United Nations, under the new leadership of His Excellency Mr Antonio Guterres, will continue to provide its support and strengthen the relations between the United Nations Peace and Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council, in the quest for lasting peace in the continent.
In addition, the implementation of important agreements like the Paris Agreement on climate change are crucial, particularly for developing countries.
May I take this opportunity to encourage you to explore our beautiful country. I encourage you to visit the numerous tourist destinations across all the provinces. You will not be disappointed.
I trust that I will have an opportunity to interact with you individually and collectively during your stay in South Africa.
I once again welcome you to our beautiful country and wish you a most wonderful and productive stay.
I thank you!
Source: Government of South Africa