Speech by Premier Helen Zille at the 2015 Africa Day celebrations
The following is a speech extract of the address delivered by Premier Helen Zille, during the Africa Day celebrations in the Western Cape
Former Minister of Disability and Elderly Affairs from Malawi, Ms Rachel Kachaje (Currently the Chairperson Disabled Women in Africa (DIWA) and Current Chairperson for SAFOD Revival Team),
Minister of Finance, Dr Ivan Meyer,
Minister of Economic Opportunities, Mr Alan Winde,
African Consul Generals,
Members of the African Network for Evidence to Action in Disability (AfriNEAD),
Mr Mussa Chiwaula: Director General of the Southern Africa Federation of the Disabled (SAFOD) from Botswana,
Dr Alister C. Munthali: Director Centre for Social Research University of Malawi; Chancellor College in Malawi,
Mr Kudakwashe Dube: CEO: Africa Disability Alliance (ADA) (formerly Secretariat of the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (SADPD) in RSA,
Dr Gubela Mji: Head Centre for Rehabilitation Studies - Stellenbosch University in RSA,
Ladies and gentlemen.
It gives me pleasure to officially welcome you to the 2015 Africa day celebrations in the Western Cape Province.
Former Minister Kachaje, although we haven’t met before, I am delighted you are able to join us on this important day. You and I share a passion for taking forward the development of some of the most vulnerable of our people, the elderly and those with disabilities.
As you are aware, Africa Day is annually celebrated on May 25th throughout the world to commemorate the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, now African Union) in 1963. The celebrations among others reinforce African solidarity, unity in diversity, highlight creativity, challenges and successes, and economic potential of the continent.
Here in the Western Cape, Africa Day celebrations have come to mean more than just an anniversary of the AU. This year’s programme focuses on three main activities that are coordinated by the Western Cape Government, in partnership with key stakeholders including ARTSCAPE, AFRINEAD, WESGRO, members of the African Consular Corps, and Tedx Cape Town. The theme of the celebrations is “African Journeys of excellence”, which will highlight innovative African disability research findings, promote sustainable and forward-looking African trade routes, mutual understanding through tourism and investing in each other’s economies. We have also partnered with Tedx Cape Town/ Tedxtablemountain, which is an international platform for the dissemination of innovative ideas to showcase great ideas and cutting edge research and practice from a diversity of areas that are important to the social and economic development of our Continent.
Our programme today covers very important issues for the African continent:
- Research to action on issues of disability in Africa
- Networking of young entrepreneurs who are living, studying and working here in the Western Cape – they are the ones who will build good relationships and trust which will result in economic opportunities, growth and jobs in our countries
- Excellence in Africa – too often the world looks at Africa as a single unit, a place of disasters, disease, corruption and poor governance – but this evening we will witness the best of Africa from a Western Cape perspective – who is out there in research and making things happen. These are the people we are helping to showcase – great ideas and real progress.
- The recent xenophobic attacks in some part of the country undermine our efforts to build a prosperous continent, where people can live lives they value. The Western Cape Government strongly condemns the attacks against our African brothers and sisters. In this regard, we are working with other members of the Provincial Joint Operating structure/ committee gathering information on the ground, to ensure that human rights violations are monitored and avoided. Other stakeholders involved include (but not limited to) Disaster Management, Community Safety, Social Development, Home Affairs, National Intelligence, South African Police (SAPS)etc. The Department of the Premier is committed to leading mediation processes in cases of social conflict, including those affecting foreign nationals. The Western Cape Government remains on alert and is working with various stakeholders who have an interest in ensuring that we live in a violent free environment that is ready for business – our main priority is ensuring the conditions for growth, job creation and prosperity.
The African Union has conceded that in order for Africa to succeed, Africa must do things very differently! According to the AU, ‘Agenda 2063’ is an approach which encourages us as a continent to learn effectively from the lessons of the past, build on current progress and strategically exploit all possible opportunities available (in the immediate and medium term), to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years. We support ‘Agenda 2063’ and its aspirations for:
- A prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development
- An integrated continent, politically united and based on the ideals of Pan-Africanism and the vision of Africa’s Renaissance
- An Africa of good governance, democracy, respect for human rights, justice and the rule of law
- A peaceful and secure Africa
- An Africa with a strong cultural identity, common heritage, shared values and ethics
- An Africa whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children
- Africa as a strong, united and influential global player and partner
- The Western Cape’s celebration of Africa day 2015, under the theme “African journeys of excellence” is an attempt at a Provincial level to encourage engagement and collaboration by African experts at a people-to-people and institution to institution level. We are particularly encouraged and continue to support trade and investment relations between the Western Cape and other regions within the continent.
I wish you productive and focused deliberations, as we seek to build an African future we want for Africa by 2063 and beyond!