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POLAND CONSTITUTION DAY  

Polish Ambassador to South Africa Marcin Kubiak welcomes guest of honour Ambassador Sisa Ngombane-DIRCO to the celebrations

ADDRESS BY AMBASSADOR KUBIAK
Distinguished Deputy Director General for Asia and the Middle East, Ambassador Sisa Ngombane, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Excellencies Ambassadors, High Commissioners, Representatives of the Diplomatic Corps, My Dear Countrymen and all Friends of Poland, all Protocol observed.

 It is my great honour and pleasure to welcome warmly and wholeheartedly all of you who are gathered here to mark our Constitution Day. Today we proudly celebrate the anniversary of the adoption of Poland’s first Constitution which took place on 3rd of May, 1791. This supreme law for the State, which was designed to redress long-standing political defects of the then First Commonwealth of Poland, is generally regarded as Europe's first and the world's second modern codified national constitution, following the United States Constitution of 1787. The Constitution of May 3, 1791 changed the political system in Poland by turning a parliamentary monarchy to a constitutional one. It also gave a new and modern way of ruling the country as we know it today with a separation of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. Such a division created a modern and democratic country, the first of its kind in Europe. Although it was followed by the consecutive partitions of Poland by its then neighbours, which resulted in the definite fall of the First Commonwealth of Poland, the adoption of May Constitution is considered a milestone in the Polish political and social history. Since the time of the last partition in 1795 till the end of the World War I in 1918, that is for 123 years of subjugation and captivity, successive generations of Poles were commemorating and secretly celebrating the adoption of the May Constitution while launching attempts to regain independence. That is why the anniversary of that particular event is one of the two National Holidays observed in Poland with special ceremony and solemnity. Year after year, we gather to commemorate the May Constitution and to honour all the great minds who took part in the creation of this revolutionary document. We celebrate because the constitution symbolizes the spiritual and moral renovation of the Polish nation after a long period of chaos and disorder. And, most of all, we celebrate because the constitution established a democratic philosophy of humanitarianism and tolerance, including entire liberty to all people with right to shape their own future. These qualities are well understood and highly appreciated especially here, in South Africa, which  is justifiably proud of its history of struggle for the fundamental values of freedom, democracy and human rights.

 
Similarities in our historical experience and national spirit seem to be an advantage which should be taken in our actions for developing further friendly and mutually beneficial relations which so happily exist between Poland and South Africa. Both our countries boast great potential for cooperation, particularly in terms of economics, trade and investments, although we are also cognisant that it has not been used to its full extent. Our trade exchange is steadily getting higher and higher but it still does not reflect the scale of Polish and South African economies which are expected to generate GDP close to 1 trillion USD quite shortly. According to our estimates, business turnover between Poland and South Africa in 2010 stood little below 1 billion USD, whereas this volume could be effectively increased up to 5 billion USD annually. Our economies seem to be complementary and there are a lot of direct synergies for cooperation in many sectors. South Africa is a gateway for Poland to enter into the SADC market and in the same way Poland is willing to serve as a link to help South Africa consolidate its position on the European Union markets. Nevertheless, not all opportunities have yet been examined, not all possibilities have been yet discovered. We have to make every endeavour to explore new areas of potential co-operation so that Poland and South Africa can further improve and enlarge the volume and value of our trade exchange. Both countries’ ministries and agencies need to increase exchange of visits and translate high-level policies into specific cooperation. We will spare no efforts in this regard by facilitating direct co-operation between the high ranking politicians and businessmen. On a lighter note, it is also worth mentioning that South Africa is becoming a more and more favourite destination among Polish citizens and the number of Polish tourists vacationing in your beautiful country is constantly growing. An influx of Poles into South Africa has risen considerably and this positive tendency is fully reflected in the Polish as well as South African media marketing tourist industry.
 

Before I conclude, let me stress again that Poland and South Africa play important roles – politically and economically – in their specific regions. The fact that Poland and South Africa have their diplomatic agencies in the respective capitals shows shared aspiration to promote the friendship and bilateral cooperation to the benefit of both our nations. Our intention is to further develop and tighten relations with South Africa – a country that, without any doubt, enjoys the status of regional power. We wish to do so on a bilateral basis as well as on the multilateral dimension through co-operation on international forums. In this latter respect I take the opportunity to express my sincere congratulations to the South African nation for joining the BRIC forum of the world’s major emerging economies, comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China. Turning BRIC into BRICS only proved the weight, potential and influence of the Republic of South Africa, and in the broader context, of the whole of the African continent. At the same time Poland is getting ready to take over the rotational Presidency of the Council of the European Union, starting from 1st of July, 2011. I am glad to assure you that Poland’s preparations in this regard are in full swing. These developments give our cooperation additional momentum that we cannot lose. I am confident that working hand in hand with our friends and partners here in South Africa, with the goodwill and benevolence of the South African Government, we will be able to meet our ambitious objectives.

Thank you,

TOAST:

Please allow me now to propose a toast whereby I extend my wishes of good health and personal happiness for the President of South Africa, H.E. Jacob Zuma as well as every success and prosperity for the great South African Rainbow Nation. Let’s also drink a toast for the further development and consolidation of the friendly and long standing relations between our two countries.
And now it is my great honour and pleasure to invite Distinguished Ambassador Sisa Ngombane to address the audience on behalf of the Government of the Republic of South Africa.

EMBASSY OF POLAND SOUTH AFRICA

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February/March 2020

 
 
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