Directors-General in The Presidency and DIRCO,
Your Excellencies, High Commissioners and Ambassadors,
I am honoured Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners, to welcome you to our country, South Africa.
Our country was honoured, at the onset of our democratic transition in 1994, to be welcomed back unequivocally by the international community as its important member.
The remarkable international admiration and goodwill accorded this country was informed by the classic example of a very peaceful political transition followed by a solid democratic dispensation that this country established.
Our country provided hope to the world because we proved that it is possible for erstwhile arch-enemies to overcome their differences and forge a new future as one nation.
We continuously thank the international community for the support provided to South Africa, which enabled us to defeat the demon of apartheid.
We now continue to strengthen relations with various countries in all regions. We welcome this opportunity to elevate the relations with your respective countries at all levels, political, social and economic.
Let me reiterate that we are proud of what we have achieved thus far in our country, in building a new democratic society.
Ours is a democratic country, which is founded on a democratic constitution which promotes the rule of law, and which is anchored on three fully functional and accountable pillars of the state; the executive, legislature and the judiciary.
This year we mark 20 years of our democratic constitution, which was adopted in 1996 by all representative constituencies of our people.
Over these years our Constitution has ensured our spirited transformation of the previously racist social order and ushered in a new democratic era of national reconciliation and mutual cooperation among all the racial groups in South Africa.
Our Constitution has consolidated good governance, accountability and the rule of law in our country, affirming our country as one of the best investment destinations in our continent.
Our country has been an unrelenting champion of human rights not only in the country but in the international community as well.
We have what we call our Chapter Nine institutions which promote the rights of citizens, as well as a diverse range of non-state actors. All the elements of our democratic state make South Africa one of the most vibrant democracies in the world.
Two months ago, South Africa held the fourth free and fair local government elections. We are encouraged by the similar trend in national elections that we see in other countries, particularly among our African counterparts.
This is an encouraging trend, which will go a long way in ensuring that our continent dispels negative myths and publicity and becomes one of the most sought-after investment destinations.
Together with our African counterparts and through the regional and continental mechanisms such as the SADC and African Union, we are working tirelessly to eliminate conflict and ensure peace and stability in the continent.
It remains our firm view that the economy of this continent will only thrive in a sustained environment of peace, stability and governance.
This will open up many opportunities for the continent to do business with the international community and recoup the fortunes lost to the global economic recession.
On the economic front, in our country we have identified and outlined nine critical areas, called the Nine Point Plan where we are a making targeted interventions to advance our agenda of radical economic transformation.
These areas include, among others, agriculture and agro-processing, mining, ocean economy and energy for example, which we urge your Excellencies to consider carefully and identify niches for our respective countries’ mutual cooperation.
South Africa also seeks to be an important part of Africa’s growth story.
Our economic links are among others pronounced through the massive infrastructure project roll-out that we are undertaking with our African counterparts, as well as other reciprocal projects that we have with individual countries.
We have considerably alleviated our energy shortage. This has restored a sense of certainty in our economy, including a positive outlook for foreign direct investment.
Our economy has registered a 3.3 per cent growth in the second quarter, which will buttress the hard work that our government has been doing to consolidate our credit ratings.
And we are certain that we have nourished an environment of economic growth, which will also ease the disastrous effects of climate change and attendant natural calamities that have affected not only our country but other countries as well, including our neighbours and immediate trade partners.
Our vision for a better Africa in a better world remains alive and forceful.
It is for this reason that we remain a key but humble player in the continent, advancing the African Agenda 2063, and in the broader international community.
We also remain keenly seized with developments in other parts of the world, and to deepen relations with the developed North.
We are concerned with the still untapped potential of our relations with our developing country counterparts in the Latin America and the Caribbean, East Asia and Africa.
South Africa will remain a strident voice for reform in multilateral bodies, and will continue to strive for an environment of fair and equitable international growth.
We believe that your presence in our country, Your Excellencies, will provide the best opportunity to harness this potential.
We are therefore honoured to have you in our shores.
We trust that you will have a fruitful stay and commend this country to your governments and people for business, tourism and cultural links.
I thank you.
Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa.