SA Thanks China for Support

President Jacob Zuma says South Africa has been redeemed from the pariah it was in international affairs during apartheid times to a meaningful global player and partner today.

President Zuma said this is one of the most visible achievements of democracy that the country gained 20 years ago.

He said the country has since 1994 integrated with and showed active participation in international affairs.

“We are proud to count the People’s Republic of China as among such friends who lent moral, material and political support to achieve a free and just South Africa,” he said.

“In recent times, China helped us to belong to the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) family,” he added.

He said this on Friday during a lecture he convened at Tsinghua University on the occasion of the State Visit to the People’s Republic of China, Beijing.

President Zuma said South Africa in 1998 fully adopted the One China Policy, privileging and formalising diplomatic relations with Beijing.

He said this represented a historic break from the apartheid foreign policy which avoided relations with the People’s Republic of China, and that saw China play a very prominent role not only in South Africa but in various African countries as well.

Economy and employment

President Zuma said 20 years later since the dawn of democracy South Africa has progressed well in terms of growing its economy and fighting poverty.

“Our economy has created more employment opportunities and government has delivered more basic services. This is our good story that must and will be told, but despite these improvements, much more still needs to be done,” President Zuma said.

“We still have a lot of work to do because the racial apartheid system left behind deep scars, as manifested in the socio-economic inequality and the large gap that we are still working hard to bridge in education, health, housing and other social services,” he added.

He also said there is a need for the country to transform the economy, and it is already doing so.

He said in order to ensure that black people who were excluded from the ownership, control and management of the economy because of their race, are able to participate meaningfully now and help to de-racialise and expand the South African economy.

“We are also addressing the critical matter of land ownership, to reverse the apartheid legacy of the dispossession that took place more than a century ago,” he said.

SA and China cooperation

“China sets us a good example in our second phase of transition by its economic growth, technological aancement and levels of entrepreneurship and industrialisation which have drastically reduced underdevelopment,” he said.

He said South Africa has adopted a National Development Plan (NDP), which provides a platform for collaboration and partnership across society to promote further growth, job creation and reduction in inequality and building a more cohesive and inclusive society.

“The plan recognises that to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality, the economy must grow faster and in ways that benefit all South Africans,” he said.

He highlighted the key elements of the NDP as captured in the government’s Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), for all state institutions and society to implement.

“By 2030 we must be able to declare that no South African lives below a poverty line,” he added.

He commended China for being a leading nation in creating opportunities through innovation, education and industrialisation.

“It has thankfully become a leading provider of scholarships and training opportunities for South Africans,” President Zuma said.

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