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South Africa's 18th Freedom Day celebrations address by Amb. Coovadia

South Africa's 18th Freedom Day celebrations address by Amb. Coovadia

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Speech by Amb. Ismail Coovadia on occasion of South Africa's 18th Freedom Day celebrations in Tel Aviv.
Speech by Amb. Ismail Coovadia on occasion of South Africa's 18th Freedom Day celebrations in Tel Aviv.

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Published by: Angela Godfrey-Goldstein on May 20, 2012
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Honourable Mr Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon Your ExcellenciesDistinguished GuestsI would like to take this opportunity to welcome you all to this auspicious occasionand I would like to extend a special welcome to Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon, the official representative of the State of Israel. Once again, I would liketo convey through you, on behalf of our President and the people of South Africa,congratulations on the State of Israel’s Independence Day which was celebratedlast week Thursday.May I also take this opportunity to extend our sincere condolences to PrimeMinister Benyamin Netanyahu on the passing away of his father at the age of 102.My colleagues and I are especially pleased to see our beautiful enterprisingcompatriots joining us today who are currently based at the Bahai Center. Thankyou for your presence.A welcome note also to those compatriots visiting Tel Aviv and Israel.On Friday, 27 April 2012 South Africans commemorated 18 years of freedom anddemocracy. During the celebrations around the country, the events of thatmemorable day were remembered when the world witnessed the birth of a free, just, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous South Africa forALL her citizens, climaxing in the inauguration of President Nelson Mandela as thecountry’s first democratic President. This year marks the 22
anniversary of therelease of this great world leader who changed the face of South Africa.Who can forget President Mandela’s words during his inaugural message, with theworld as an audience and witness, when he declared:QuoteNever, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will againexperience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being theskunk of the world.Unquote Today we honour the heroes and heroines who have lost their lives fighting fordemocracy in South Africa and the world and a better life for all. We salute you! This year’s theme for the Freedom Day celebrations is “Working Together to BuildUnity and Prosperity for All.” It should be said from the onset that it would not bepossible to achieve a unified nation and to change the lives of the ordinarycitizens for the better without a strong and democratic foundation.Mr Vice Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,
 The fiber of South Africa as a nation is cemented in the Bill of Rights as enshrinedin our Constitution recognised by the international community as the most liberal. The walls of the South African democratic society (with this foundation andcornerstone as its pillars) provides for the protection of human rights for all itscitizens regardless of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political opinion,national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Yes, South Africa is an active member of an orchestra forming part of the Africanand World philharmonic orchestras by playing the melody of the promotion of peace, security, stability, human rights and the transformation of the world’smultilateral architecture, whether politically and/or economically.Ladies and Gentlemen,When we consider international relations, the following are noteworthy: Of Africa’spopulation of 1 billion people, SADC constitutes a population of 277 million peopleand of this South Africa constitutes a population of 50 million people.What a big family we belong to and potentially, what an economic force to bereckoned with!As President Zuma recently stated, “Africa is a continent of hope and opportunity– a continent emerging to be the next major global growth pole.” And as ourMinister has said “Ours is essentially a quest for a better South Africa, and abetter and safer Africa and world.”We are conscious that Africa and South Africa are witnessing a global rush fortheir resources which have changed trade patterns on the continent and theemerging economic ties like China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Korea arebecoming major economic players.SADC-EAC-COMESA is an example of a tripartite formation. A classic building blockfor the unity and integration of our continent: An aspect of the roadmap for thefunctioning of the African free trade area by 2017.Last year we mentioned the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); 2015 isthe deadline for its attainment. If Africa wants to avoid failure in meeting thetarget, more needs to be done individually and collectively.South Africa is proud to fly, together with our brothers and sisters from Togo, theAfrican Union flag by representing Africa as non-permanent members of theUnited Nations Security Council during the 2012 calendar year.I wish to reiterate South Africa’s commitment, highlighted by my Minister earlierthis year on South Africa’s position as a non-permanent member of the UNSC:QuoteWe believe that current global events have not only tested the effectiveness andcredibility of the UN Security Council on its role of maintenance of internationalpeace and security, they have also highlighted the urgent need for the reform of this organ and the entire UN in accordance with the current geo-political realities.Unquote
As President of the United Nations Security Council in January 2012, South Africafocused on the strengthening of the relationship between the UN Security Counciland the African Union in the maintenance of international peace and security. Therest of our tenure at the UNSC will be to promote the African Agenda and peaceand security not only on the continent but also in the rest of the world.Mr Vice Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen,South Africa is also placing much emphasis on the development of the agenda of the South as both a member of India, Brazil, and South Africa (IBSA) and as of early this year, also of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), asignificant block of emerging economies, whose combined economies is workthUS$ 13 trillion. Two months ago in India during the 4
BRICS Summit, it wasdecided, inter alia, to establish a BRICS Development Bank to assist the memberswith infrastructure development. It is expected to be established in 2013 whenSouth Africa hosts the 5
BRICS Summit.As have been observed, the culture of human rights and the respect for dignity of the human spirit have become the characteristics of South Africa and we, as aNation,have been following with keen interest developments in the Middle Eastregion which is on the global peace and security agenda, at the centre of which, isthe Israel/Palestine conflict.We wish to reiterate our assurances to both parties - Israel and the Palestiniangoverning bodies that the South African Government supports a two-Statesolution with Israel and Palestine existing side-by-side in peace withininternationally recognised borders (based on the June 4, 1967 borders) with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.My Minister like others has expressed her concern that “the patience exercisedby the people of Palestine is wearing out and there is mounting fear that hope willsoon be replaced with hardened attitudes”.South Africa has offered, on several occasions its readiness to share itsexperiences in, inter alia, conflict resolution etc., just as we are engaging with Tunisia, Egypt and Libya our experience in transitional justice and constitutionmaking, among others.Unlike many other countries, South Africa does not delink its political policies frompolicies pertaining to, amongst others, aspects such as trade, culture, etc.Political interaction between South Africa and Israel this past year witnessed acourtesy call by South African Deputy Minister of International Relations andCooperation Mr Marius Fransman on Israel’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, MrDanny Ayalon. Minister Livnat, Israel’s Minister of Sport and Culture during aprivate visit to South Africa earlier this year, also met with Mr Paul Mashatile,South African Minister of Arts and Culture. The South Africa/Israel and Israel/South Africa Chambers of Commerce are muchat the forefront in promoting trade between the two countries. Total imports of products from South Africa last year was $103 million and exports to South Africatotaled $ 434 million.

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