Esteemed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Eritrea, H.E Mr Osman Saleh,
Esteemed Ministers and members of Government of the State of Eritrea here present,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Distinguished guests and friends of South Africa
Ladies and gentlemen
ZEKHABARKININ, ZEKHABARKUMIN UDUMATNA, UNQUA BEDAHAN MATSAKHUM
Ladies and Gentlemen!
I welcome and thank you Minister, in particular, for gracing the auspicious occasion with your presence, which affirms the strong bond of friendship that our two countries and peoples enjoy.
Ladies and gentlemen
27 years ago, a new era was ushered in to the political and social landscape of our country South Africa. It was on the 27th April 1994 when the words of the Dr Martin Luther King Junior, reverberated through the length and breadth of our motherland, as fittingly expressed by our founding father of our Democratic State, President Nelson Mandela as he waved to the crowds, when he said “Free at last”. Today’s celebration of South Africa’s freedom and democracy is a reminder of a shared vision of a free, united, non-racial, non-sexist democratic society founded on the principles of unity in diversity!
Something unique about this year’s anniversary of our freedom is that our icon, Nelson Mandela spent 27 years of incarceration fighting for this freedom. In essence this means we are celebrating 27 years of our Freedom which is resonant with the 27 years which Madiba spent on Robben Island fighting for the freedom we enjoy today. Similarly, we are celebrating this day, on the 24th of September, which is South African Heritage Day.
Your Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, this day serves as a humble reminder of the selfless sacrifices that were made to bring about change, and defeat the apartheid system that was so determined to keep the majority of our population forever its chattels.
As we celebrate this day, we salute the Government and the people of the State of Eritrea. We are pleased that the State of Eritrea remains our partner in both bilateral and multilateral efforts of bringing about peace and stability on the African Continent. Our diplomatic relations continue to grow and these extend to people to people. Inspired by their commitment and quest for freedom over the years, and their pursuit for a stable Eritrea that is at peace with itself and its neighbours, we recommit ourselves to walking hand in hand with the leadership and people of Eritrea in search for lasting peace and stability in the Horn of Africa and in the entire African continent and beyond.
Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests
Over this past 27 years, our Government has registered achievements unparalleled in the history of our country, in a quest to improve the lives of our people. This ranges from creating an affordable health care system, access to education for all, a rollout of clean water and electricity to the vast rural communities of our country as well as providing social security to the most vulnerable of our society being the elderly, people with disabilities and children respectively. Our push for gender equality in all spheres of our society is a phenomenal achievement we can pride ourselves for. This is clearly demonstrated by the meaningful gender representation in all spheres of State and Government, in parliament, in the Judiciary, in the corporate sector as well as all our sporting codes.
Your Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen
South Africa’s foreign policy is premised on the consolidation of the African Agenda which entails; Security, peace and stability, post conflict reconstruction and development. Accordingly, we acknowledge and support the nexus between peace, security and development as underpinned by AU’s Agenda 2063 which finds expression in the UN Agenda 2030 developmental approach. In addition, Agenda 2063 promotes a shared strategic framework for inclusive growth and sustainable development.
It is for this reason that South Africa takes keen interest in the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement which serves as a cornerstone in the elimination of trade barriers. This is also expected to enhance competitiveness to stimulate investment, innovation as well as economic growth on the African Continent.
As part of South Africa’s foreign policy imperatives, we stand firm in our support for Africa’s integration to the global economy and its participation in global governance and decision-making. It is for this reason that we will continue to collaborate with the members of the global community for multilateralism towards creating a just, humane and equitable world and a rules-based international system of global governance.
Consistent with the commitment to South-South relations, South Africa’s membership of BRICS continues to champion Africa’s interests by ensuring that the New Development Bank of BRICS plays an active role in addressing the infrastructure development on the African continent. We are pleased that the recently concluded BRICS Summit reiterated its resolve to addressing challenges facing our Continent.
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests
The Covid-19 pandemic has ravaged and brought about untold devastation and pain to billions of people around the world, every family has a painful story to tell about this pandemic. It is in this context that South Africa commends the the 76th Session of United Nations General Assembly’s theme on COVID 19, given that all countries are grappling with this deadly pandemic. This comes at a time when the global solidarity on the Post-Covid Recovery Plan is gaining momentum. As an active member of the global community, South Africa reaffirms its commitment to the principle of multilateralism as enshrined in the United Nations Charter. In this regard, we join a call by the nations of the world to rebuild a sustained and inclusive global economic growth.
Our roadmap to recovery must include the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this context the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable development is guiding star for eradicating poverty, and in ensuring a better life for the world’s population.
Your Excellences, distinguished guests, brothers and sisters, Dear friends
As I stand before this august gathering, on behalf of my President, His Excellency Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, my Government and the people of South Africa, it behoves me to extend a word of unqualified gratitude to the African continent, the international community at large, for the role they played in support of our struggle for political and economic emancipation. In this context, our success belongs to us as much as it belongs to the peoples of the world. This view is best expressed in our values of Ubuntu, inclusiveness and human solidarity. This is further underpinned by our commitment to strive for a better world, a world order that is responsive to the needs of its population.
In conclusion, please allow me to summon from the grave, the wise words of South Africa’s first democratically elected President Nelson Mandela during his inauguration when he said “ Never, Never, and Never again, shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another, and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement! Let there be justice for all, let there be peace for all! Let there be bread, water and salt for all! God Bless Africa”.
Allow me to propose a toast to the 27th birthday of South Africa as a free and democratic nation, to the prosperity of the Government and people of South Africa, the State of Eritrea, and to an even stronger friendship between our countries and peoples.
I Thank You All.