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Statue immortalises Madiba’s values at UN

28 September 2018

The unveiling of a life-size statue of democratic South Africa’s founding father, Nelson Mandela, at the United Nations headquarters in New York will forever serve as a reminder of everything the exceptional statesman stood for.

“President Mandela firmly believed that the United Nations was the most valuable and effective instrument for the advancement of peace, development and equality that humanity had conceived.

“We trust that this statue will remain a constant reminder to the international community of the dedication of Nelson Mandela to the mission of the United Nations and a constant affirmation of South Africa’s commitment to contribute to a better world for all,” said President Cyril Ramaphosa at the occasion of the statue unveiling.

President Ramaphosa was in New York for the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). This year, the unveiling of the statue of President Mandela and the historic Nelson Mandela Peace Summit -- a high-level plenary meeting convened by the President of the General Assembly, Maria Espinosa, in honour of the centenary of the birth of South Africa’s first democratically elected President – preceded the UN General Debate.

President Ramaphosa said he was encouraged by how the rest of the world has embraced the celebration of the centenary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, something he said was “truly humbling”.

“For those of us gathered here at the United Nations, Nelson Mandela will forever hold a special place in our hearts because of his dedication to the service of humanity and the promotion of peace throughout the world.

“The people of our country, united in their diversity, revere Nelson Mandela as the founding father of our democratic nation – whose life, sacrifices and extraordinary contribution to freedom continues to inspire successive generations.

“The values by which he lived and to which he dedicated his life are universal. We are honoured and grateful that the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit has been convened in his memory,” the President said.

Reigniting the economy

President Cyril Ramaphosa has assured world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly that South Africa is hard at work to revive its economy.

“Even as our country is going through difficult economic challenges we have made progress.

“We are reforming our economy and creating an environment that is conducive to investment, and have embarked on an investment drive to attract $100 billion dollars in the next five years,” said the President.

President Ramaphosa gave his maiden address at the United Nations General Assembly as President of the Republic of South Africa on Tuesday.

The President used the platform to allay concerns on the country’s land reform programme.

“We have started a comprehensive dialogue on the question of land reform, which is guided by our Constitution and the rule of law, as we seek ways to ensure that the land is shared among all who work it, as set out in our Freedom Charter,” said the President.

Silencing the guns

In line with the African Union’s aspirations of “silencing the guns by 2020”, President Ramaphosa rallied world leaders to support the African continent in its bid to end conflict.

“There is an urgency to the measures we must take to end conflict and war.

“We must accept our shared responsibility and our shared interest in ending conflict and, using the outcomes of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, to empower the United Nations to be a more effective instrument for mediation, peace keeping and post-conflict reconstruction,” said the President.

Reform of the UN Security Council

President Ramaphosa reiterated calls for reform of the United Nations, particularly its Security Council.

He also called on leaders to desist from unilateralism but rather open up international trade.  

“We must resist any and all efforts to undermine the multilateral approach to international trade, which is essential to the promotion of stability and predictability in the global economy,” said the President.

“Our task as global leaders is to pursue the policies that are required to turn intent into implementation and mobilise the resources needed to turn implementation into impact.

“As Africans, we have made significant strides in addressing the challenges that have confronted our continent over many decades,” said the President.

Boosting the economy and intra-African trade

Speaking on the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area, President Ramaphosa told the assembly that the ACFTA will fundamentally transform African economies.

He said it will give rise to a new industrial age on the continent.

“With effective investment in education, improved health care, good governance and greater economic integration, Africa has the potential to develop its productive capacity on a scale and at a rate that will lift tens of millions out of poverty,” said President.
Photo: GCIS


February/March 2020











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