Speech delivered by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Alvin Botes (MP), at the handover ceremony of the United Kingdom Government donation to the Solidarity Fund on Monday, 14 September 2020
British High Commissioner, Mr Casey,
Solidarity Fund Chairperson, Ms Serobe,
Solidarity Fund Chief Executive, Ms Nkweni,
Fellow National Executive Committee member and Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Honourable Gina,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
South Africa’s foreign policy disposition present itself in the form of four concentric circles, with Africa in the inner circle, followed by the Global South; deepen cooperation with the industrialised and developed North and the heightening of Global Multilateralism.
We pride ourselves to have an unparalleled commitment to the promotion of human rights, which are not limited to political rights, but include social, economic and environmental rights. The construct of a non-sexist society, which has a high regard for and an appreciation for women as indelible and integral members of our communities, is paramount.
The COVID-19 pandemic has, in my view, emphasised the need for increased international cooperation and a multilateral approach to solving the world’s biggest challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has confirmed that the impact of transnational challenges may only be mitigated through multilateral responses and through better interstate cooperation. South Africa and the United Kingdom maintain such Strategic Partnership within the Framework of our bilateral relations, and we regard the UK as a reliable persona within the plethora of multilateral fora’s.
The African Union, under stewardship of President Ramaphosa has identified the next 10 years as the Decade of Advancing Women’s Economic Inclusion. This trilateral relationship between the South African government, the British High Commission and the Solidarity Fund serves as an important instrument to respond to the economic alienation of South Africa’s women. Our trilateral relationship demonstrate a shared commitment to harness the repository of both State and Non-State Actors in fighting gender-based violence, which is a product of gender inequalities and patriarchy.
Gender Based Violence is the highest manifestation of sexist domination and it exists because patriarchy gave men an enormous symbolic and material power. This violence is a consequence of the construction of masculinity in patriarchal societies.
We are elated that Solidarity Fund recognises that the COVID-19 pandemic has bestowed an additional burden on the marginalised women of South Africa. When jobs get loss, normally women are the first to face unemployment. When households endure strain because of a contracting economy, women bear the brunt of societal frustration. It therefore holds true, that to remedy a nation and to recover economic fortunes; we should invest in women.
To the British people we wish to say ‘it is good to make new friends, but it is indeed better to keep old friends’.
High Commissioner Casey, you are demonstrating the gains and fruits of a lasting and genuine friendship.
Thank you very much!
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