Welcome remarks by President Zuma during the presentation of Letters of Credence of new Heads of Mission accredited to South Africa, Pretoria

Ambassadors and High Commissioners,

Directors-Generals of DIRCO and Presidency,

Senior Government Officials,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen

I am indeed delighted to welcome you all to this important occasion of the presentation of Letters of Credence.

I would like to particularly extend a warm welcome to the new Heads of Missions who are here to formally commence with their tour of duty in South Africa as representatives of our partner countries.

I therefore have a singular honour to congratulate you on your appointment as the Heads of Mission to South Africa.

I am confident that you will contribute towards enhanced mutual beneficial relations between our countries and further strengthen our people to people interaction during your tenure.

Permit me from the onset to reiterate our condolences to our brothers and sisters in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone who have recently lost their beloved ones due to catastrophic flooding and mudslides.

We would like to again wish those injured a speedy recovery.

Our hearts and thoughts are also with the people of Spain who have lost their loved ones during the recent terrorist attacks.

In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to underscore that South Africa condemns this deplorable act which resulted in the loss of innocent lives and caused an unimaginable pain, irrespective of the motive thereof.

Your Excellencies,

Your presence here today bears a testimony of growing interconnectedness and mutual friendship of our countries and people.

Most importantly, your tour of duty commences during a special month in the history of our country. Thus August is celebrated as Women’s Month in South Africa.

As you may be aware on 9 August every year we commemorate the historic march by heroines who took it upon themselves to confront the apartheid government on this day in 1956.

Thus, women from all walks of life marched to the Union Buildings, the then seat of the apartheid government, to rebuke the discriminatory and oppressive pass laws as well as to fight for women’s rights.

Furthermore, this year we are celebrating the centenary of the life of our liberation movement icon, President Oliver Reginald Tambo.

He played a key role in the liberation of this country, particularly in the pioneering of our solidarity movement and laid the foundations of our current day foreign policy principles.

His pioneering spirit and unwavering commitment contributed towards the birth of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society you are witnessing today.

In essence, it was through his visionary leadership that peace loving people of the world supported our course.

OR Tambo forged international solidarity, friendship and support which currently find expression in our foreign policy outlook.

Ladies and gentlemen

OR Tambo’s vision, ideals and values remain relevant today.

I say so conscious of the challenges we are faced with globally as we indeed live in a politically and economically uncertain world.

Our world is characterised by growing insecurity which is caused by multiple factors such as increased inequality, competition for scarce resources and violent acts of terrorism, among others.

It is a well-known fact that technological advancement has ushered positive changes as well as threats of increasing cybercrime, for instance.

It is therefore our collective responsibility to work towards the realisation of a peaceful and a prosperous world in which humanity can thrive.

The reality is that as things stand, unresolved inter and intra state conflicts compound our challenges and continue to undermine our efforts aimed at achieving peace, security and shared prosperity.

In this connection, we must work together to ensure that we realise our common trajectory of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

Your Excellencies

We cannot ignore the growing anti-establishment protests by populace in various parts of the world.

People are expressing discontent with the current system and its global financial architectures.

I must therefore underscore that, like many other countries, South Africa has been seriously affected by the sluggish global economic growth, which has undermined our endeavors to create a better life for all.

Our people look to us as the Government to create a conducive environment which addresses the triple challenges of poverty unemployment and inequality.

We have our National Development Plan which aims to address the many challenges we continue to face. However, the key in addressing our challenges lies in a collaborative effort with our private sector, both nationally and internationally.

We will thus be keen to strengthen economic relations with your respective countries for mutual benefit.

During last week’s SADC Summit, which was themed “Partnering with the Private Sector in developing Industry and Regional Value Chains”, we did put emphasis on the role of the private sector in growing the economy.

The South African economy remains stable and favorable for foreign investment. We continuously strive to improve the ease of conducting business in South Africa.

Similarly our constitutional governance institutions remain resilient and independent, safeguarding our hard won democracy.

Excellencies

Our diverse economy offers an array of potential sectors for investment. Tourism continues to be a significant contributor to the economy drawing millions of tourists into the country yearly.

We are fortunate to have a country with different beautiful landscapes as well as scenic beaches and diverse wild life.

Our mining and agriculture sector have also shown good recovery due to our conscious efforts at reigniting economic growth.

I must also indicate that we are forging ahead with unlocking our ocean economy.

We believe that our assumption of the chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association in October this year will add impetus in our pursuit for inclusive growth.

I encourage you to explore as many areas as possible so that we can broaden our cooperation. Our message is therefore clear: South Africa is open for business.

Your Excellencies,

We are delighted that we have launched the Africa Regional Centre of the New Development Bank, our BRICS Bank.

This was a momentous occasion as it marked the strengthening of the BRICS formation and also underscored the BRICS commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets.

We would like to enhance the BRICS cooperation and ensure that Africa as well as the entire humanity benefit from this formation in future.

Your Excellencies,

I am certain that we will have sufficient time to interact and discuss a variety of issues of common interest during your stay in South Africa.

Let me once again welcome you to our beautiful country and wish you the best in all your endeavors.

I thank you!

Source: The Presidency Republic of South Africa