2014 was an historic year in the socio-economic and political journey of South Africa’s young democracy, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.
“This victory was gained through the struggles of the South African people and freedom loving people across Africa and the world,” Zuma said.
“We remain grateful to all countries and peoples that stood on the side of justice, freedom, human rights and equality during those dark days of apartheid colonialism.”
Zuma was delivering a speech prepared for delivery at the presentation of credentials by foreign mission heads accredited to South Africa, at the Sefako Makgatho presidential guest house in Pretoria.
The president said in 1994, South Africa witnessed the manifestation of a passage from oppression to freedom for all, irrespective of colour, gender, religion.
“This is what nations of the world wished for us too – this we know for sure,” he said.
“The birth of a new nation gave rise to a sharp focus on our country’s foreign policy, and its rebirth.”
The inclusive South Africa its citizens desired was that of a nation whose wishes and aspirations were nothing but peace, reconciliation, prosperity and development.
“This is what we have ever wished in the face of humanity,” Zuma said.
“We are pleased that this wish is gradually becoming a reality.
South Africa had a proud international relations tradition, with the foundation of its foreign policy being in the Freedom Charter, a document drawn up and adopted by its people in 1955.
Zuma said they declared the following in the Freedom Charter relating to foreign policy:
There shall be peace and friendship;
South Africa shall be a fully independent state which respects the rights and sovereignty of all nations;
South Africa shall strive to maintain world peace and the settlement of all international disputes by negotiation, not war;
Peace and friendship among all our people shall be secured by upholding the equal rights, opportunities and status of all;
The right of all peoples of Africa to independence and self-government shall be recognised, and shall be the basis of close co-operation.
Zuma said in October, South Africa commemorated a “foremost internationalist”, Oliver Reginald Tambo, who was the longest serving president of the ANC.
“He criss-crossed the world mobilising against apartheid South Africa, and building relations for our country with the world. These are relations that South Africa is benefitting from now,” Zuma said.
“As guided by President Tambo and the Freedom Charter, we continue to expand our foreign relations footprint.”
In just 20 years, South Africa had broadened its international reach from 34 missions abroad in 1994, to 126 missions throughout the world, but with a sharp focus on Africa.
“We have been consistently vocal in our belief that the struggle for a better South Africa is inextricably linked to the struggle for a better Africa,” the president said.
– SAPA — NEWS 24