Addressing guests at the reception Foreign Minister Davutoglu hailed South Africa’s remarkable transition to democracy. “Ending racism was a great achievement by the people of South Africa” said Minister Davutoglu. He further said that South Africa’s Freedom Day is not only a significant for the people of South Africa but is also an international day of humanity.
The South African Ambassador to South Africa, Tebogo Seokolo thanked the Government and the people of Turkey for their efforts in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries. He indicated that both South Africa and Turkey working together can contribute towards a better world.
SA EMBASSY ANKARA TURKEY
In his address, Ambassador Sooklal indicated that Freedom Day provides a milestone for all South Africans to collectively participate in the commemoration of the pain and struggle to build a non-racial, democratic and free South Africa in which we all have the freedom to prosper. In this regard, Ambassador highlighted Government’s continued crucial role in promoting social cohesion, nation-building and building national pride towards the building of a national democratic society. Government’s priority programs were highlighted as well as the endorsement by the President of the New Growth Path.
During both occasions the Embassy distributed copies of it’s 2010/11 Annual Report
Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi, Minister for Presidential Affairs,
Mr Motswaledi, Leader of the Opposition,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Your Worship, the Mayor of Gaborone,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
We could really not be happier to have you all here tonight, to celebrate with us, South Africa Freedom Day. Many in this room can proudly be counted as direct participants in that decades-long struggle to rid our beloved country of apartheid, a Crime Against Humanity. And we will, Minister, always be grateful for the Frontline role played by your country and people, together with others in the SADC and indeed, the world over.
In the seventeen years that have transpired, we have sought to completely reposition the role that our country plays – in relation to its people, to the region, and to the world at large. We have built an extremely vibrant democracy, which will once again be tested on the 18th of this month, when we have local government elections. Cape Town, is the place to watch.
While we have seen many successes, we continue to witness the daily struggles against the grinding poverty that still afflicts millions of our compatriots. Yes, our transition was almost miraculous. But we still have many rivers to cross, to achieve a substantive national reconciliation, a unified national identity and national purpose, and to achieve the complete restoration of the human dignity of the majority of our people.
Statistically, millions of low-cost houses have been delivered to the indigent, as have electricity and water connections. But - as you will probably have seen on your television screens - the scale of the problem created by apartheid remains daunting. We will almost certainly meet and surpass a number of the Millennium Development Goals. But - as the saying goes - what patience could we possibly expect from the other half of our population, whose apartheid-imposed poverty we are yet to help them eradicate.
2010 FIFA World Cup
We have seen some momentous achievements over the past 12 months. Of them all, we will probably recall with most fondness, the 2010 FIFA World Cup. What a popular celebration!
Who can forget the sights, the costumes, the dances and the chants of the hundreds of thousands who descended on the stadiums and the Fan Parks? Who can forget the vuvuzela? The best teams of the world, pitted against each other in a grand festival of so much joy – and so many tears. It was an experience like no other.
We wish our sisters and brothers in Brazil the very best as they prepare to host the next spectacular of the beautiful game in 2014 (and thank Ambassador Joao Inacio Padilha, in anticipation of the tickets he will facilitate).
Perhaps with the exception of our brothers in Zambia, Southern Africa has not been known for its prowess in soccer. But, as with our political and economic fortunes, that tide too, may be turning. We witnessed recently Botswana’s first qualification for the Africa Cup of Nations, and indeed, Minister, we proudly congratulate you for that marvelous achievement.
A momentous occasion too was the invitation to South Africa to join Brazil, Russia, India and China in the group of emerging economic powers - under the umbrella of BRICS. This is an extremely important development for us, and we’re committed - as stated in the Sanya Declaration - to do all in our power to “contribute to world peace, security and stability, boost global economic growth, enhance multilateralism and promote greater democracy in international relations”.
South Africa already has established partnerships with various permutations of these countries: in IBSA - with Brazil and India; in the BASIC Group - with Brazil, India and China, on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, in the G8 +5 Outreach – with India, Brazil and China, as well as in the G20.
We will continue to work through all these fora to promote the widest possible attainment of sustainable development, as we strive towards the establishment of a more equitable and fair world.
This year, South Africa took up a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council, and will later in the year also assume a place on the African Peace and Security Council. As we have unfortunately all witnessed, conflicts in Africa continue to dominate the Agenda of the UN Security Council. A key deliverable that we seek will therefore be to harmonise the efforts of the two Councils, in order to produce faster - and longer lasting solutions for conflict areas on our continent.
Of further significance for us is the concurrent presence this year of all five BRICS countries in the Security Council, making it a valuable opportunity for closer cooperation on issues of peace and security, the strengthening of multilateralism and the coordination of issues to be considered by the UN Security Council.
In August, South Africa will assume the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security. This remains an all important body in our joint efforts at preventing, managing and resolving conflicts in our sub-region. Our commitment to improving the lives of our peoples must surely start with the elimination of conflict, without which the attainment of sustainable development is not possible. With the rest of SADC, we will work tirelessly to bring about lasting solutions in the DRC, Madagascar and in Zimbabwe.
This year will also see us hosting the 17th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. As the biggest polluter on our continent, a successful outcome of COP17 is a key objective. We are working closely with all our partners towards the attainment of concrete and measurable targets at the Durban Conference - in line with the principle of ‘equity, and common but differentiated responsibilities’. Our urgent desire to help mitigate and/or avert the negative consequences of climate change resides partly in that, while this continent may be the least contributor to climate change, it stands to lose the most, if we don’t succeed.
SADC/COMESA/EAC Tripartite FTA Summit
On 11 and 12 June, South Africa will host the Second Summit of the SADC-/COMESA-EAC Tripartite FTA. This is an important development for our continent because, while reaffirming our commitment to continued and accelerated continental integration, the success of the FTA is also likely to generate far greater intra-African trade, and encourage improved infrastructure links.
In the past year, Botswana hosted the two JP Commissions it has with South Africa, on Cooperation and on Defense and Security. These meetings preceded the successful State Visit to South Africa by His Excellency Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana. We have continued over the past months, Minister, to review the agreements that we reached, and indeed, to seek new areas of cooperation and collaboration.
As we prepare ourselves to receive President Jacob Zuma on his expected State Visit to Botswana later this year, we look forward to the signing of the Agreement for the Establishment of a Bi-National Commission – which is expected to meet annually, at the level of our Heads of State. This will be an important mechanism for a continued improvement in our bilateral relations, giving our Presidents an annual opportunity to review areas of challenges, progress and opportunities.
We also intend to establish a high-level and annual ‘Botswana-South Africa Trade and Investment Seminar’, whose meetings should coincide with those of the Bi-National Commission. We expect that the seminar will eventually encourage greater cooperation and the necessary partnerships between our business communities.
With the highly intertwined nature of our economies and our common membership of both SADC and SACU, we expect the Bi-National Commission – and the Trade and Investment Seminar - to give us that additional impetus in establishing the best possible economic partnership between our countries.
We thank your government, Minister, for agreeing to partner us and other African countries as we compete with Australia to win the Bid for the Square Kilometer Array - the largest radio-telescope yet to be built in the world. Whether or not the Bid goes our way, South Africa has committed to giving numerous scholarships and to building numerous facilities across the participating African countries, to inspire our youth to take up careers that investigate the origins of our universe, and the vexing question of the possible existence of extra-terrestrial life.
Cape Town Jazz
Minister, what is known as “Africa’s grandest gathering” is undoubtedly the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. We are proud that the organizers have partnered a group of Batswana to create, from September of this year, what is planned to be an annual – and international - Jazz Rocks Gaborone Festival.
In conclusion, Minister, we recommit ourselves to work with you - bilaterally and multilaterally – to achieve the many targets we have set ourselves.
President Jacob Zuma has enjoined us to “salute and pay tribute to the governments and people of many countries in Africa and the world who supported the South African struggle for freedom.” Botswana is most deserving of that tribute, and we thank you, Minister, for maintaining the excellent bilateral relations that we share.
Kindly join me as I propose a toast to the health and well-being of His Excellency, Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana; and to the people of this land.
I thank you.
Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly;
Cabinet Minister present here this evening;
Your Excellency the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassador to the Republic of Angola;
Your Excellencies, Heads of Diplomatic Missions and International Organisations;
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;
It is indeed always an honour and a great pleasure for me to join you in celebrating Freedom Day. This is a truly significant day in the history of South Africa deserving of such commemoration as you have organised this evening.
Let me therefore take this opportunity, on behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Botswana, to convey to you Your Excellency, and through you to the Government and our brothers and sisters in the Republic of South Africa, our heartiest congratulations as you celebrate your 17th Anniversary of Independence.
As you have just mentioned, it was 17 years ago, in 1994, that the long and painful struggle for liberation finally ended and the people of South Africa were freed from the oppressive rule that had spanned almost four decades. South Africans were at last able to enjoy their fundamental freedoms and be the masters of their own destiny.
Botswana is pleased to have contributed to the struggle, which we recognised to be our duty given the common history, common values and the shared cultural heritage of our peoples. Perhaps even more importantly, our involvement was out of the recognition that without peace and stability in South Africa, there could be no peace and stability in Botswana, and the region at large.
The peace and stability you now enjoy has in turn facilitated the vast economic growth and development that your country has registered in the few short years since your independence.
Amongst the list of your many achievements are the socio-economic milestones which have greatly improved the living conditions of the under-privileged. Even though there are still challenges ahead, it is important to commend the efforts that your Government has put into uplifting the lives of its peoples.
I am pleased to note that Botswana and South Africa continue to enjoy excellent relations, characterised by exchanges at various levels.
Just last year the President of Botswana, H.E. Lt. Gen. Seretse Khama Ian Khama undertook a State Visit to South Africa to further deepen and strengthen the already excellent relations which subsist between our two sister countries.
It was during the meeting between His Excellency President Jacob Zuma and His Excellency President Ian Khama that the two Heads of State agreed to enter into a Bi-National Commission, which will be co-chaired by Their Excellencies annually. The Bi-National Commission is yet another vehicle to steer cooperation between Botswana and South Africa ever forward, thus further concretising the bilateral relations between our two countries.
It was also during that State Visit that President Zuma accepted an invitation by President Khama to visit Botswana and we look forward, with great anticipation, to welcoming the President and his delegation to Botswana later this year.
On the regional front, South Africa continues to play a critical and leading role in ensuring that the efforts by SADC to realise inclusive growth and sustainable development, peace and security are achieved.
Further and beyond, we note with great admiration, and pride that one of our own has been invited, this year, to join the Brazil, Russia, India and China group of emerging economies. South Africa’s participation should be for the benefit of the African Continent and all its peoples.
We also congratulate South Africa for taking up a seat on the United Nations Security Council this year. Once again, we know that your voice at that eminent forum, will be that of Africa, and we can only wish you the very best in that endevour.
These auspicious positions that South Africa holds, Your Excellency, come not by chance, but are a clear testament of the confidence that the international community has in your country’s leadership, capacity and commitment to global peace and prosperity.
It would be remiss of me not to congratulate, and thank you, for doing an exceptional job as hosts of the FIFA World Cup Tournament last June. Indeed, you not only did us proud by excelling with great splendour to place Africa on the world map, but also by demonstrating to the world that our continent has the capacity to host major international events of that size and magnitude.
Let me conclude Your Excellency, by once again congratulating you on this momentous occasion of your country’s Freedom Day. We wish you every success in your development endeavours.
May I ask you to join me in drinking a toast;
to the continued personal good health of His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa;
to continued friendship, solidarity and cooperation between our two countries; and,
to international peace and security
Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations between Romania and the Republic of South Africa, almost 20 years ago, on November 21st, 1991, bilateral relations between our two countries have been on a continuously rising trend. The meeting of the Romanian and South-African ministers of foreign affairs during the EU-Africa Summit of Tripoli in November 2010 confirmed the good bilateral relations. On the other hand, there are still many economic opportunities to explore that may lead to the doubling of our present commercial balance, taking into account that last year the direct bilateral relations exceeded the threshold of 150 million US dollars. Romania is interested in establishing long term institutional partnerships with the Republic of South Africa. A few areas are worth mentioning in this respect: a new set of joint scientific research programs based on the existing governmental bilateral agreement; an agreement between the port authorities of the cities of Constanta and Durban; an agreement between the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the same two cities, a cooperation agreement in the field of military medicine. There are additional important cooperation opportunities as well at an academic level in areas like medicine, engineering, agriculture etc. Following earlier extended invitations, we hope that during 2011, both the South-African Minister of Foreign Affairs, Her Excellency Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and the Minister of Science and Technology, Her Excellency Naledi Pandor, will be able to visit Bucharest. At the same time we are looking forward to the visit in the Republic of South Africa of a Romanian businesspeople delegation headed by the Romanian State Secretary for Industry and Foreign Trade later this year. We believe that finding complementary business opportunities in our two countries will deepen and diversify the areas of our bilateral cooperation. On this festive day for the Republic of South Africa, Romania expresses its appreciation for the recent achievements of the Republic of South Africa in the field of foreign policy: a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2011-2012 exercise and the invitation to join the BRIC – from now on BRICS – group of countries with major emerging economies. In this way the Republic of South Africa will be able to play an even more important role on the world stage in matters ranging from security, peace, stability to international balance and economic cooperation. South Africa is a distinguished, dignified and dedicated representative of the African continent worldwide. Romania is determined to further develop its excellent relations that have taken shape during its twenty years of diplomatic ties with the Republic of South Africa and enlarge and deepen every possible area of cooperation so as to be able to offer the Republic of South Africa a durable political and economic partnership both bilaterally as well as in the European Union framework.
SA EMBASSY ROMANIA
THE SOUTH AFRICAN EMBASSY, MANILA HOSTED A HIGH - SPIRITED FREEDOM DAY, WEDNESDAY, 27 APRIL 2011
The South African Embassy hosted a stylish and vibrant National Day reception celebrating the country’s 17th year of freedom at The Sofitel Hotel in Manila. The event was attended by about 300 guests representing a good cross-section of Filipino society (business, media, government, and politicians), the diplomatic corps, South Africans and the African Diaspora.
The Undersecretary for Policy of the Philippines Department of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Erlinda F. Basilio and the Vice-Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Qatari Ambassador, HE Abdullah Ahmed Yousif Al-Mutaawa joined Ambassador Agnes Nyamande - Pitso on stage for short remarks, congratulating South Africa on its Freedom Day, followed by the respective toasts.
Through the Ambassador’s innovation, the reception took a new format i.e. seating guests at tables for the buffet dinner. The event kicked off with cocktails on arrival and then moved to the Ballroom for the proceedings and buffet dinner, which was widely complimented for the tasty South African cuisine. The buffet tables offered a spread of favourite South African dishes like Bobotie, Sodwana Bay Prawns, Fish Potjie, Koeksisters and Malva Pudding to name a few. Top wines from Alphen Hill, Dornier, Nederburg and Kanonkop as well as the ever popular Amarula and Ceres Fruit Juice added to a perfect culinary experience.
The theme of the event "Working together to unite the nation, promote democracy and protect freedom” was included in a audio-visual screening which branded South Africa. Arrangements of the Protea national flower, added colour to the venue. The Protea is popular in the Philippines as proven during the Annual International Bazaar. For that reason each female guest was invited to take home a Protea or tow from the table bouquets. In addition to the Proteas, each guest received a gift, placed in a colourful SA marketing bag containing: Ceres Fruit Juice and a South African information brochure.
The Ambassador had a few more surprises up her sleeve, encouraging a dance troupe on stage, while leading other Ambassadors and Foreign Affairs officials on stage to dance! This created a vibrant and joyous atmosphere with African rhythms and dancing echoing through the Ballroom of The Sofitel.
The many South Africans who attended the event were excited and proud of celebrating this historic date with Filipinos. Feedback and comments received during and after the event were very positive and many saying the mission host some of the best receptions in Manila!
SA EMBASSY PHILIPPINES
Guests included four Cabinet Ministers, among them the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Tourism and Sport and of Agriculture, leading politicians, senior government officials, a large number of Foreign Ambassadors, business and organized trade, South Africans living in Uruguay, African Diaspora, the Presidents of the Rugby and Football Associations and the media.
The multifaceted event included an exhibition of sculptures by an artist of Afro-descent; a display of paintings by an Uruguayan artist who accompanied the Uruguayan team to the World Cup in SA; a display of books on SA and the World Cup, accompanied by images of SA and the World Cup experience on a big screen; a SA-Uruguayan wine tasting with top SA and Uruguayan wines hosted by one SA and one Uruguayan wine expert; a display of the Uruguay-Africa Chamber of Commerce; continuous images of SA and of Embassy activities during the past year; live background music on harp and guitar featuring classic as well as Latin American/African music. The venue was also decorated with large posters on SA and Freedom Day. Besides SA wines at the wine tasting, guests were also served some SA specialities such as “potjiekos”.
Since Freedom Day is the main event on the annual calendar, attracting an influential and diverse audience, the Montevideo Embassy utilized the event to reflect the diversity of SA and its peoples; to involve the African Diaspora; to maintain the momentum of the World Cup success; and to put emphasis on common ground, such as cooperation/similarities in the wine industries, the presence of Afro-descendants in Uruguay and the successes of both countries during the World Cup. The display of the Uruguay-Africa Chamber of Commerce, underlined the importance of economic interaction, also in the African context. The Freedom Day posters prepared for the event, thanks to the images provided by Head Office for this purpose, were very effective in portraying the meaning and spirit of the Day.
The number and level of guests, over the whole spectrum of Uruguayan society, reflect the healthy bilateral relationship and the high standing of SA in Uruguay. The presence of four Cabinet Ministers, something that is not common here at National Days, has been positively commented on.
SA EMBASSY, MONTEVIDEO
Programme Director, Counsellor Thando Nyawose,
SA EMBASSY CUBA