Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of the presentation of credentials by Heads of Mission accredited to South Africa, Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners designate,
Senior Government Officials,
Members of the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome you as the Heads of Mission to the Republic of South Africa.
As Ambassadors and High Commissioners you have the important and weighty task, as trusted, high ranking representatives of your respective countries, to work faithfully and diligently to strengthen relations between our countries.
This is no small responsibility and I would like to congratulate all of you om your appointments.
I am honoured to receive your respective letters of credence.
Gathered here today are representatives of several countries with whom we have firm historical ties – countries that stood with the people of South Africa has we confronted the tyranny of apartheid.
We will remain forever grateful for your support and friendship.
Also represented here are countries with whom we have strong trade and investment ties, and to whom we are bound by a common desire to improve the lives of our people through economic development.
It is our sincere wish that through your respective appointments, we strengthen existing ties and forge new opportunities for cooperation.
We are meeting here today a week after our country’s 6th democratic election, which saw millions of South Africans exercise their hard-won right to choose a government of their choice.
This election been declared by our Independent Electoral Commission, as well as by international observers from SADC and the AU, as considerably free and fair, with credible outcomes.
The election has demonstrated the stability and the vibrancy of our democracy, and the continued engagement of the South African people in the important decisions that affect their lives.
This election holds of special significance because it has taken place in the year in which we are celebrating 25 years of freedom and democracy.
It has been a quarter of a century since 27 April 1994, when all South Africans of voting age, of all races and backgrounds voted for the first time.
This marked the end of decades of apartheid and oppression, heralding a non-racial, equal and united society with a Constitution and Bill of Rights.
It ushered in a new era of hope for the people of South Africa.
It restored our human dignity and united our citizens behind a vision of a non-racial, non-sexist society championed by the father of our nation, Nelson Mandela.
This event also marked the end of South Africa’s international isolation and saw us return as a full member of the community of nations.
South Africa has a long history of friendly relations with other countries.
We pursue the strengthening of bilateral and multilateral relations with states and organisations as we seek to make the world a better place for all its people.
We stand shoulder to shoulder with many countries in various international alliances and associations.
These are platforms through which we pursue global peace and prosperity, social justice, human rights and an environmentally sustainable world.
Of great concern to all of us is that we are beginning to witness the effects of climate change and global warming.
We are still picking up the pieces of the devastating floods that ravaged Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and here in our coastal provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
South Africa remains strongly committed to the shared responsibility, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, of conserving our planet for future generations.
You formally take up your posts just as South Africa is entering its 6th democratic administration.
This is an administration that will be firmly committed to placing the country on the path of renewal, growth and transformation.
We want to grow our economy and reduce poverty.
We want to create job opportunities for our people, particularly the youth, many of whom are skilled but unemployed.
We are working to achieve this through the creation and strengthening of strategic partnerships.
One of the areas where we have placed great emphasis is in strengthening investment ties with countries around the world.
Last year, we launched an investment drive that seeks to raise $100 billion in new investments over five years.
Many companies, from many different countries, have made firm commitments to invest in our economy.
While many more continue to show great interest.
We are working hard to improve our investment environment and ensure that our exports are more competitive.
We look forward to working with each of you to strengthen ties of investment and trade.
We look forward to working with you on regional and global platforms on issues of common interests.
We hope you have a very productive, fruitful, enriching and enjoyable time in South Africa.
I wish you all the very best.
I thank you.