International Relations & Cooperation: Minister's Budget Speech
17 Jun 2009
Address by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane to the National Assembly on the occasion of the DICO Budget Vote, Thursday, 18 June 2009
Honourable President Jacob Zuma
Honourable Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe
Honourable Members of the National Assembly
Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee of International Relations and Cooperation and the Select Committee on Trade and International Relations
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Acting UN Resident Representative Dr Stella Anyangwe
Comrades and Friends
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Fellow South Africans
In his state of the Nation Address President Jacob Zuma identified the priorities of our government. In that context the President also articulated a vision of South Africa’s role; taking into cognisance that working together with the rest of the world we can do more in bringing global peace and prosperity. Our mandate as the Department of International Relations and Cooperation is to contribute to the realisation of this Agenda.
I table this Budget Vote, two days after the 33rd anniversary of June 16, 1976 whose heroes and heroines were inspired amongst others by the vision of the Freedom Charter whose 54th anniversary we celebrate next week. I mention this because the Freedom Charter declared that “There shall be Peace and Friendship”. Thus, the presentation I make before you today, is an attempt to contribute towards the realization of this vision.
Today we present the Budget of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The important decision of our government to change the name of the department speaks of the need for us to focus on partnerships and sustainable relations that will advance the interests of our country, contribute to the development of
We want the creation of this Agency to take our work on development cooperation to greater heights in terms of its focus as well as its depth. It will be recalled that in 2008 Cabinet requested the Minister of Foreign Affairs, in consultation with the Minister of Finance, to develop a policy framework on development assistance by
It is our firm conviction that
We therefore wish to take this opportunity to stress the following pillars for our engagement with the continent.
First, the strengthening of regional integration. From the experience of other regions of the world we have witnessed the benefits that come from strong regional integration. When successful, regional integration has been closely associated with peace and development amongst others. We seek the same for our beloved continent.
It is therefore imperative that we focus on the further development and strengthening of SADC and the African Union. Regional Economic Communities, such as SADC, are also key pillars for the broader continental integration. The African Union cannot be strong if
Of course, we know that the path is not going to be smooth as evidenced by the current differences we have amongst ourselves on the question of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). But we are firmly of the view that none of these challenges are insurmountable as long as we act guided by the undisputable reality of our interdependence.
We shall continue to work with the people of
Through SADC we are also seized with the situation in
At the continental level we will continue to be fully engaged in the strengthening of the African Union. We are prioritising our contribution to the important discussion on the question of the Union government. This debate is drawn from the long standing vision of some of the illustrious leaders of
It therefore behoves our generation to continue to work towards this vision. Our generation, however, has to engage in this debate fully cognisant of the position and the place of our continent today. We have the benefit of learning from the history and the experience. We also need to be guided at all times by the fact that the integration of our continent is not an end in itself but rather a basis to help address the myriad of challenges facing Africa, at the centre of which are the scourges of poverty and underdevelopment.
We will also enhance the work that we have started in bringing closer alignment between SADC, COMESA and the East African Community (EAC).
The stabilisation of our continent needs to be anchored in visible programmes of socio-economic development. In this regard we recognise that NEPAD remains a key mechanism for the achievement of this socio-economic development. NEPAD programmes on infrastructure, food security and others would address priority challenges faced by African countries. The underdevelopment of infrastructure limits the chances for
Second, support for peace, security, stability and post-conflict reconstruction initiatives. We know from our own experience that the achievement of peace and stability can be a painstaking effort requiring patience and perseverance. However, we also know the dividends that come with peace. It is this understanding that has informed our cooperation with the sister peoples of the DRC, Burundi, Sudan, Comores, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire and many others, as they seek to bring peace to their own countries. The peace dividend that all these countries seek is economic growth and development. We are enjoined to play our role in continuing with this important work.
The third pillar of our continental strategy is the strengthening of bilateral political and socio-economic relations with countries of the continent. We enjoy strong bilateral relations with countries in the African continent. Through these partnerships we wish to foster stronger political relations, people-to-people solidarity, trade, investments and tourism. Our relations with the countries in the continent find expression through various bilateral political agreements and commissions that we have entered into. The Department is doing an audit of these partnerships in order to identify ways in which we can strengthen them, focusing particularly on the interventions necessary to promote intra-African trade in mutually beneficial and sustainable ways.
The evolution of our Foreign Policy has ushered in an era of Trilateral co-operation whose practical expression of these is also found in the developmental projects that
Of significance in 2009 is that
There can be no lasting peace in the African continent as long as the people of
As we seek more cooperation and the integration of our continent we are convinced that
Honourable Speaker and Members
During his address to the nation, President Zuma reiterated a need to work together with the countries of the South within the framework of South-South Co-operation. Our commitment to South-South cooperation is driven by our need to pursue stronger political relations with, countries of the South but also to focus these relations towards advancing our domestic priorities. It is about expanding the horizons of opportunity for our country.
It is now a reality that the global economic geography is changing; with growing importance of the emerging economies of the South as contributors to global economic activity. There is also growing recognition that the emerging economies of the South will be key catalysts of global growth as we emerge from the current economic crisis. We have to seek out and grasp these opportunities. This is both good in the short term but also importantly helps us strategically diversify our economic partnerships so as to be able to withstand both the current and future economic shocks.
In October 2009 we will participate in the 4th IBSA Summit to be held in
In addition to our partnership through IBSA, we will continue to strengthen our strategic bilateral relations both with
Bilateral trade with
Beyond IBSA we are broadening our political and economic relations with countries of the South in general, in Asia, Middle East and
In 2008 we completed a successful celebration of the 10 years of diplomatic relations with the
At the political level our relations with countries of the South are critical in addressing some of the global challenges that we face. Therefore our continued partnership with these countries in the context of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 remains important. In July we will participate in the
The 2nd South America-Africa Summit to be hosted by
We have also stated the importance that our government attaches to our relations with the developed countries of the North. We also participate in trilateral partnerships with some countries of the North in support of peace and development in the African continent. Our focus in the coming period will be to place our government’s strategic priorities at the centre of our relations with the developed countries of the North. The various cooperation mechanisms that exist with these countries will be structured to achieve this objective.
In September 2009 we will host the South Africa-European Union Summit. This is the second
It is important that our European partners should support the development focus of our regional integration. It is regrettable that the discussions and plans for the EPAs have so far tended to move contrary to this spirit despite our best efforts. We reiterate again that this process could have major ramifications for the unity and economic development of our region.
This year, marks the centenary of our relations with
We shall continue to strengthen our bilateral relations with
Our bilateral relationship with North America and the
Our foreign policy has always been informed by a strong belief in the multilateral system of global governance. It has been through the multilateral system that we have always come together to address the many challenges that confront the world today. At no time has this cooperation under the multilateral system been more important than it is today. Nations of the world have to come together to deal with the effects of the global financial crisis. We have to take action with others to address climate change. Indeed these are among the urgent priorities that we will address this year in our multilateral engagements.
Through the Group of 20 a framework has already been set for common responses to the global financial meltdown. We all have to commit ourselves and show political will to the implementation of the decisions of the G20. The next G20 Summit in September should hopefully be an occasion for taking stock of progress with implementation.
We also support the actions taken within the United Nations to address the financial crisis. We believe that the United Nations will allow all nations of the world and those that are not part of the G20 process an avenue to participate and voice their opinions on this global crisis.
The international community will gather in
We will have an opportunity to address these issues also through our engagement with the Group of 8 (G8). The 2009
Honourable Speaker and Members
It is also important for us that we should continue to build on the partnerships we developed during our tenure as a non permanent member of the Security Council. This will help us to advance specific initiatives such as security sector reform and the enhancement of cooperation between the United Nations and regional organisations. The UN Security Council remains a critical institution for
The UN Durban Review Conference which took place early this year in
In the field of disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control
Our government took a decision to support the candidature of Ambassador Abdul Minty for the position of Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We are convinced that Ambassador Minty is eminently qualified for this position given his background and experience.
The name change presents us with an opportunity to reposition our brand as the Department of International Relations and cooperation, here at home and abroad. In this regard we will continue engaging on massive imbizo with our people, stakeholder, organs of civil society and the mass media.
The nature of international relations work means that the success of the Department of International Relations depends on its people. These are the fine South Africans who serve our country both at headquarters as well as in our many Embassies, Consulates and High Commissions abroad. Our three-year human resources strategy launched in 2007 is focused on developing a cadre of “People who are committed to making a difference for
We are convinced that the launch of a Masters in Diplomacy Degree with the
In line with the President’s call for “the creation of decent work”, DICO is consolidating its Cadet Programme which recruits and grooms young graduates to be future of South African diplomats. To date, almost 95 young South Africans have been trained and absorbed by DICO.
As we continue to expand our work and with the growing importance of our country – we continue to witness high levels of both outgoing and incoming visits, as well as increasing activity by the diplomatic community accredited to our country. We shall continue the work of strengthening our protocol services, including our hospitality services, namely our Diplomatic Guesthouses and the Protocol Lounges, both at OR Tambo and here in
A key area of focus in the coming years is the need to anchor our policy perspectives and approaches among our people. The work we do must be connected to our people in very concrete and visible ways and they must not only understand, but be able to find their bearings in the midst of confusion that is sometimes deliberately meant to discredit our policies and create divisions amongst us. This we believe will also help avoid the recurrence of the xenophobic incidents of yesteryear. In addition, guided by our belief that indeed Working together we can do more, we commit to enhanced partnership and cooperation with non-state actors (business, labour, research institutions, academia and so forth) to advance our international relations framework and better position our country in the world.
All of this unfortunately requires resources. We say this mindful of the current challenges and the competing needs facing our country in these difficult times. But we have to say that a number of requests we made during the budget process could not be met, thereby putting pressure, especially on our operating budget. We are also apprehensive about the impact of the economic crisis on exchange rate volatility since a significant part of our budget is spent abroad and is, therefore, very sensitive to these fluctuations. We shall, however, work together with our Parliamentary Committees to share information on an ongoing basis.
A major milestone our department will achieve this year is the housing of our cadre ship at the new campus in Tshwane. This process has already commenced. I wish to thank our government for this significant investment and pledge that under our watch we shall ensure that all of us fully appreciate that, as servants of the people, we are expected to honour this product of their sweat, their tears and their blood.
We also commit to play our role to ensure that the ongoing Confederations Cup becomes a resounding success. This will be our building plank as we join all South Africans in inviting the world to our shores for the 2010 FIFA World Cup – which will be the greatest ever spectacle that will indeed affirm that Ke nako – AFRICA’ s time has come.
This year, 2009, marks the 91st birthday of our great icon, hero and leader of our people: Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who continues to inspire hope in millions of our people as they struggle for a better life for all.
As President Zuma indicated, that on the 18th of July, each year, our people, together with the rest of the world, will have an opportunity to do something good to help others” In this regard we call upon all our missions abroad to propagate ubuntu. Working together with the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the Missions will dedicate time to participate in humanitarian causes that honour Madiba‘s legacy.
With all humility, I take this huge responsibility assigned to me by our government and our people, to thank President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and our leadership collective for this expression of confidence.
I also wish to pay tribute to my predecessors – one; an outstanding son - the other; an outstanding daughter of our people. To both comrades, the late Alfred Nzo and my sister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma – I say thank you for the work you have done to position our country where it is today – a respected and principled member of the global community of nations.
My appreciation also goes out to Deputy Ministers Ebrahim Ebrahim and Sue van der Merwe for their unwavering support, Mr T Nxesi, Chair of the Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Co-operation; and Mr GD Gamede, Chair of Select Committee on Trade and International Relations for their oversight role and guidance in our work. I would also like to thank the DG, Dr Ayanda Ntsaluba, and all managers and officials of the department for their hard work and continuous readiness to serve. To all of them, I say let’s walk and work together as; Working together we can do more.
Honourable Speaker, it is our hope and wish that the house will approve the Budget of the Department of International Relations for this financial year. The budget allocation for the 2009 MTEF Budget Allocations is as follows:
1.Administration : 993 100
2.Foreign Relations : 3 128 000
3.Public Diplomacy &Protocol Services : 215 300
4. International Transfers (UN, SADC, ARF, AU) : 1 000 000
. Total : 5 337 000
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