Opening Remarks by Dr Naledi Pandor, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, on the occasion of the Political Consultations with Minister Stanley Kakubo of the Republic of Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia, 20 October 2023
Your Excellency and Dear Brother, Minister Stanley Kakubo,
Honourable High Commissioners,
Senior Government Officials from our respective countries,
Good morning to you all,
It is my pleasure to address you in this auspicious occasion of our Political Consultations. I therefore would like to thank you, Your Excellency and Dear Brother, for the warm welcome and hospitality which you have accorded me and my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful city of Lusaka, in the Republic of Zambia.
We meet at a time when the world is experiencing grave escalation of the conflict between Isarael and Palestine. The carnage and senseless destruction of property as well as the untold pain and suffering should be condemned unreservedly. These events remind us of our own suffering in the hands of apartheid machinery and therefore we call for an immediate end of hostilities and unconditional provision of medical supplies and humanitarian aid. It has therefore become more urgent that the relevant United Nations resolutions and decisions are fully executed to ensure peaceful co-existence between Israel and Palestine for sustained peace. In this regard, our struggle is not complete if the people of Palestine are not free.
Similarly, we must take this opportunity to renew our resolve and commitment to support the people of Western Sahara in pursuit of their right to self-determination. The immediate focus should be to ensure that the referendum is conducted in a free and fair manner. I am satisfied that we had an opportunity to exchange views on these important issues earlier on.
Your Excellency and Dear Brother,
Whenever we touch down in this country, vivid memories of the support we received during the struggle against apartheid are evoked in our minds. Many of our leaders of the struggle either settled or transited through Zambia from as early as 1963 and most importantly this is where, as you would know, the African National Congress (ANC) established its Headquarters in 1969.
The Zambian people, within their means, provided security and shelter to our gallant fighters and their leadership, particularly OR Tambo whose leadership and resilience led to the intensification of our struggle in the 1980s.
It is also from this country that, at the height of the liberation struggle in South Africa, Radio Freedom, which was The Voice of the African National Congress, was housed and broadcasted from Lusaka. We are also grateful that the house in which OR Tambo lived for 22 years was declared a heritage site in his memory. The National Heritage Conservation Commission of Zambia is yet again, extending a noble gesture through its initiative to restore and renovate the Oliver Tambo Heritage House.
Your Excellency and Dear Brother,
As you are aware, we have been inundated with requests from South African families for assistance in identifying the grave sites as well as the repatriation of mortal remains of their loved ones. These are heroes and heroines of our struggle you sheltered during our dark days of apartheid. We look forward to working closely with the government and the people of Zambia to accord these families their deserved wishes. Similarly, and in line with the AU Resolutions, we are at advanced stage in realising the objectives our Resistance and Liberation Heritage Route Project (RLHR).
South Africa and Zambia remains strategic partners not only because of our historic ties but also due to our shared vision to foster a stable, cohesive, integrated, and prosperous southern African region. We wish to reiterate our congratulations to His Excellency President Hakainde Hichilema, for assuming the chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) organ for Politics, Defence, and Security Cooperation, during the 43rd Ordinary Summit held in Luanda, Angola, in August 2023.
In this regard, South Africa will continue to work closely with Zambia and our regional partners to deepen peace and stability in Southern Africa and beyond. To this effect, the decision of the August 2023 SADC Summit to deploy a peace mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo is timely. The Congolese people should exercise their democratic right in the upcoming elections in December 2023 within tranquil environment.
Furthermore, Zambia’s pledge and commitment to provide one fixed wing aircraft and personnel to the SADC Mission in Mozambique will go a long way in sustaining peace for development in Cabo Delgado Province.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A peaceful and stable region will enable us to collectively rebuild our economies following the devastation of COVID-19 and restore the dignity of our people. We must take advantage of the regional value chain projects in our region and contribute towards the fruition of the SADC Integration Agenda as well as the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA).
Furthermore, we will expend time during this Political Consultations to exchange views and experiences on the measures we are implementing at national level to fight against poverty, inequality, and underdevelopment. This is critical as we begin the process to prepare for the Inaugural Session of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) which will take place here in Zambia at a date and time mutually agreed. The launch of the BNC is overdue as we have not convened this structured mechanism since the elevation of the in October 2017.
We therefore need to utilise the occasion of the BNC to review the implementation of the existing 23 Agreements/Memoranda of Understanding signed between the two countries. In this manner we will be able to determine the effectiveness of these instruments and where there is need to reinvigorate the implementation of some and/or renegotiate others. It is imperative that, whilst embarking in this endeavour, we remain open to identification of new areas of cooperation which would earnestly assist to enhance our trade and investment ties.
I am looking forward to fruitful and as usual, frank discussions with Your Excellency and Dear Brother as we embark on a journey to propel our historic relations to greater height.
I thank you!
ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road