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Welcome to South Africa

8 June 2017

President Jacob Zuma of South Africa received Letters of Credence from new Heads of Mission accredited to South Africa.

Photo: Standing (l-r) Mr Eric Franck Michel A SAIZONOU - Republic of Benin, Mr Ghorm Said MALHAN - Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mr Ibrahim Mohammad AWAWDEH - Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Mr Nigel Philip CASEY - United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland.
Seated (l-r) Mr Sylvester Mwakinyuke AMBOKILE -    United Republic of Tanzania, Mrs Dumsile Thandi SUKATI - Kingdom of Swaziland, President Jacob Zuma,  
Mr Mahash Saeed Salem Mahash AL-HAMELI - United Arab Emirates, Mrs Elif Ҫomoğlu ŰLGEN -   Republic of Turkey and Mr Andrzej KANTHAK - Republic of Poland. (image: Katlholo Maifadi, DIRCO)

Welcome Remarks by President Jacob Zuma during the Presentation of Letters of Credence by new Heads of Mission accredited to South Africa

8 June 2017

Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Director-Generals in The Presidency and Dirco,
Distinguished guests,
 
I am pleased to welcome you all to this important occasion and would like to extend a word of special welcome to the new representatives of our partner countries.
 
I would therefore like to take this opportunity to congratulate you and wish you well during your tenure in South Africa.
 
Permit me from the onset to reiterate our message of condolences to the people of the UK and Iran as well as the families of the deceased as a result of the recent terrorists attacks.
 
We also would like to wish the injured a speedy recovery.
 
South Africa condemns all acts of violence and particularly terrorism, which result in a loss of innocent lives irrespective of reasons advanced in this regard.
 
We also extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the storms that engulfed the Western Cape yesterday. The pain is immeasurable.
 
Our hearts go out to those who have also lost their belongings including their homes. Such natural disasters always strike the poor more than most.
 
Those living in informal settlements, which remain a challenge that our government is attending to, have been affected yet again by the floods.
 
We thank all who continue to provide support, from both government and the non-governmental sector.
 
The Western Cape remains in dire need of rain, but the storms are definitely not what we need right now as they cause more havoc than solutions.
 
It is in this context that we encourage our partners to contribute towards the full implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
 
As a developing country we believe that the Paris Agreement enjoins both the rich and poor nations to do what is good for humanity in order to preserve lives.
 
Your Excellencies,

Your presence here today signifies our commitment to further strengthen the existing relations that are predicated on the spirit of collaboration and cooperation for mutual benefit.
 
You begin your tour of duty during an important month in the history of our nation.
 
In June every year we commemorate the legacy of the 1976 generation and draw inspiration with a view to address current challenges which affect the youth.
 
In this regard, I convened the Presidential Youth Working Group on 2 June 2017 and formally launched Youth Month under the theme “The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment”.

This theme is informed by our declaration of 2017 as a year of OR Tambo in order for us to celebrate 100 years since the birth of our founding father as a nation.
 
We thank all nations that work with us in advancing youth development in our country. This is an investment to the future of not only South Africa but the continent.

The cooperation on education and skills development with various nations is most welcome indeed.
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
I utilised the occasion of the launch of the Youth Month to reflect on the recent spate of violence against women and children in our society.
 
We are doing everything possible to ensure that perpetrators of these crimes are brought to book, and also to raise awareness amongst our people so that we work together to eradicate this scourge.
 
Excellencies,

Like all African countries and majority of developing countries, we are hard at work to ensure that our youth are absorbed in the mainstream economy. They need jobs and also need opportunities to open small businesses. We will continue working with your respective countries to promote economic cooperation for mutual benefit in this regard.
 
We also meet during a period of serious economic challenges in our country and also globally. We went through such a period in 2009 when the first financial crisis set and caused a recession.
 
As South Africans we normally function best during such a crisis. We pull together and use all skills and resources to fight the problem at hand.
 
We are determined to do the same this time round. Government will meet with business to discuss how to face this challenge and reignite confidence in the economy and much-needed growth.
 
We are committed to continue building an inclusive and resilient economy as envisioned in our National Development Plan (NDP).
 
The NDP enjoins us to strengthen relations with our partners across the globe in order to build a resilient South African economy that will enable us to address challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequalities.
 
I am certain that your presence in South Africa will thrust us towards achieving these national objectives and realise our shared vision 2030.

We also remain committed to transform our economy so that the black majority who were excluded from ownership and control, participate in order to ensure sustainability into the future. No economy can be sustained for coming generations if the majority remains excluded.

We are conscious that growing our economy to desired levels is a mammoth task considering the current sluggish growth at global level. However we are confident that working together with our people and also our partners and likeminded countries we can change the lives of our people for the better.
 
Our economy remains stable and conducive for investment and we continue to promote the ease of doing business in South Africa.
 
Our strong institutions and governance structures also support this stability.
 
Earlier this year we launched the Governments National Invest South Africa One Stop Shop for Investors.

This initiative is in recognition of the importance of foreign direct investment into our country and facilitating our economic diplomacy, to ultimately create the much needed jobs in this country while contributing to the welfare of our partners.
 
Furthermore, the tourism sector continues to draw millions of visitors to our country annually.
 
Our diverse attractions which range from wildlife, rich culture, and beautiful coastlines propel tourism to record significant growth and a huge fiscal contributor to our economy.
 
We are thus in investing substantially as the government to continue to grow this sector.

Our mining and agriculture sector have also shown good recovery due to our conscious efforts at rebuilding the two sectors. You will soon discover many other sectors in which business your respective countries will be keen to explore opportunities. Our message is clear to them: South Africa is open for business. They will be received with open arms by our government and our business community.
 
Your Excellencies,
 
In our endeavours to make the investing environment more responsive and attractive for FDI we have also identified Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
 
These designated SEZs are in various provinces and are supported by national government.
 
We are encouraged by the efforts of Provincial Leadership who continuously undertake trade missions to our partners in various regions of the world and the results have been forthcoming.
 
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
I must underscore that longstanding conflicts and emerging intra-state conflicts are undermining our shared resolve to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
 
It is difficult and to a certain extent impossible to separate development from peaceful and stable conditions and the growing political and security uncertainty is a serious concern.

Let me conclude by informing you about the upcoming responsibilities that we will assume at international level.
 
In August this year, we will assume the chair of the SADC regional body and aim to utilise our term to focus on regional industrialisation.
 
Furthermore, we will assume the chair of the Indian Ocean Rim Association in October this year.

This will enable us to build on the achievement recorded thus far and enhance our cooperation in ocean economy and maritime matters, among others.
 
Similarly, in 2018, we assume the chair of the BRICS formation which has already proven to be at the forefront of complimenting existing traditional mechanisms.
 
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,
 
With those few remarks, I once again wish you a wonderful stay in this beautiful country.

I furthermore encourage you to explore its beauty and offerings and I am indeed confident that you will build lasting memories.
 
I thank you!

The South African Presidency

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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October 2017 Edition

 
 
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