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Speech on the occasion of DIRCO Budget Vote Debate at Parliament Honourable Mrs TE Kenye

15 May 2018

Honourable Chairperson

Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers

Honourable Members of this august House

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

ANC supports the budget vote for the Department of International Relations & Cooperation (DIRCO)

Chairperson, it is befitting that, as we celebrate former President Nelson Mandela and Mama Albertina Sisulu Centenary, that I quote the President of the Republic of South Africa, Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, in one of his many speeches this year, when he once again reminded us about the road we travelled to achieve our democracy.

He aptly reminded us during the ANC's 106th birthday celebrations that, I quote, "Madiba was resolute that because we live in an interdependent world, we must learn from and take advantage of what is happening in other parts of the world. He was fully aware that South Africa depended a great deal on international solidarity and was adamant that the ANC and South Africa will always stand with the oppressed and marginalised across the world".

Our friendship, neighbourliness and good relations with the rest of the continent and the world is what drives our foreign policy. This is the fulfilment of one of the Freedom Charter's declarations that "There shall be peace and friendship". It is the foundation of utmost respect for multilateralism as it affords an opportunity to influence and solve issues peacefully as equals.

As we know, our road to democracy was never an easy one, even though today you have denialists, counter-revolutionaries and right-wingers who prefer not to believe that apartheid was a crime against humanity - we console ourselves that ours was a selfless struggle that brought about the rights to free speech for all.

The struggles of our people were never built on privilege and exclusivity which are entrenched on perceived superiority, instead they were based on the Brotherhood of Man - humanity and its embracing inclusivity. Such understanding of oneness of humanity drives our relations with the world as we seek not to dominate but peaceful co-existence, prosperity and harmony.

South Africa's foreign policy has always been driven by this foresight which puts the principles of ubuntu ahead of anything else in the sphere of international relations.
Chairperson, South Africa is committed in building a better Africa and a better world, strengthen continental and international solidarity, participate effectively on multilateral platforms to transform global governance and to reform the composition of the UN which still reflects post World 2 era, to reflect current realities of the world. This is a critical role that is supported by the functions of the Department amongst many.

DIRCO's programmes that are supported through this budget ensure that we give practical meaning to this commitment and vision. The budget, despite it insufficiently covering its needs, serves to support the Department and the Ministry with the necessary resources to deliver our objectives on multi-lateral platforms such as the UN, G20, G77, SADC, BRICS and so on.

We shall leverage our chairmanship of BRICS, among other things, to drive the transformation of these multilateral institutions as our fellow members such as India, Brazil and China share similar perspectives to ours and are bound, by the similarity of our struggles, to act multilaterally.

We have a duty to enhance multilateralism and as President Ramaphosa reminded us again, South Africa chairmanship of BRICS this year will be an important tool to advance, I quote, "South Africa's national interests and the promotion of a more equitable world order".

The Department will strengthen the vision of international solidarity on supporting human rights everywhere in the world, building and strengthening relations with other countries and our renewed vigour to reclaim our position as an influential player in African politics.

We need to engage more with other nations in the continent and the world as resurgence of dehumanizing practices of slavery have been reported in our continent, coupled with the sickening world-wide problem of human trafficking.

We support and acknowledge the inalienable rights to self-determination of the people of Western Sahara and will work through proper channels to support the UN in its attempt to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

We also cry with the people of Palestine and promise to do anything possible, diplomatically, to support their cause and put them at ease. For as long as they feel pain we shall continue to feel their misery.

Political dialogue to solve political problems is a road well-travelled by us a nation, as democracy was born out of that. As I would remind you, honourable members and fellow South Africans that, on this day in 1992, the second plenary session of the multi-party Codesa was convened mapping the way to our current democratic dispensation.

Our engagements in multilateral organisations give us a platform to contribute meaningful eradication of these evils and peacefully solve problems. We shall not spare any resources until we achieve these objectives of lasting peace, harmony, stability and prosperity of all peoples of the world, including our continent.

Chairperson, we have duty to continue to support the peace efforts in South Sudan and support the efforts of finding lasting solution on outstanding matters on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and border conflicts, pledge solidarity and support the oppressed people of Palestine, and continue to strengthen our solidarity with the people of Cuba to engage the US through the UN and other platforms to remove the illegal embargo that has crippled the economy of Cuba and tested to the maximum the resilience of her people.

Chairperson, the Minister of DIRCO Honourable Lindiwe Sisulu, her Deputy Ministers and administration staff have raised their hands and called upon us to send and go serve South Africa and therefore we shall oblige and provide them with the necessary resource and when they come back we shall request them to sit us down and report back and account on what they have achieved with the country's scarce resources.

Siyanithuma ke Mphathiswa neqala lakho, hamba niye kusebenza yayele, ifuna ukuhlinzwa. Utsho nombutho weSizwe, umbutho kaTambo, kaLuthuli, kaDube, kaMakgatho, kaMandela.

Thank you, Chairperson.

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