Maiden Speech by President Ramaphosa at the 38th SADC Summit, Windhoek, Namibia
Your Excellency, Dr Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia and Chair of SADC,
Your Majesty, King Mswati III of the Kingdom of eSwatini,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellency President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda and Chairperson of the African Union,
Your Excellency Mr Moussa Mahamat Faki, Chairperson of the African Union Commission,
SADC Executive Secretary,
Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honour to be welcomed here as part of the SADC family.
Our bonds of friendship and solidarity go back to the formation of the Frontline States, whose resolve to strengthen historical, social and cultural relations among our people continues to this day.
It was these formidable bonds that led to the destruction of the apartheid regime and ended its destabilisation of the region.
Today, we are proud that SADC has matured into a fully-fledged organisation whose focus is to advance the prosperity of the region and its people.
It is important to remind ourselves about the Treaty establishing SADC, particularly its objectives to forge regional integration, better the lives of our people, promote democracy and economic prosperity and ensure peace and security.
Despite the clear intent in the Treaty, our region is still confronted with many challenges, including a lack of adequate infrastructure, underdevelopment, poverty, the effects of climate change, and the spread of communicable diseases.
In responding to these challenges, we can say with confidence that our regional organisation is on a positive trajectory.
In the recent past we have developed key plans that guide our efforts to realise our mandate.
These include the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (2015-2020), the Regional Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap, the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan, and the Strategic Indicative Plan of the Organ.
Together, these plans are critical for deepening regional integration among SADC Member States and ensuring the sustainable development of our region.
Our priorities are inextricably linked to the Continental Agenda, and in particular the implementation of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
These priorities require that we continue with our efforts to support the COMESA – EAC – SADC Tripartite Free Trade Area as an important building block towards the achievement of the African Continental Free Trade Area.
We note with appreciation that our region remains relatively peaceful and stable.
Elections are held at regular intervals as we strive to entrench and consolidate democracy, the rule of law, human rights and good governance.
South Africa has aligned its National Development Plan to the vision of the SADC Common Agenda, which seeks to bring about peace, stability, security and sustainable development in the region.
In promoting our own national objectives, South Africa values the critical role SADC plays as an instrument of regional development and integration.
I am certain that our deliberations at this Summit will serve to further strengthen the bonds between us and reinforce our determination to realise the vision of this organisation.
Only through collective action and shared accountability, will we be able to advance our integration agenda.
In conclusion, allow me to thank you for the warm welcome and the great support I have received since becoming the President of South Africa and a member of the SADC collective.
South Africa’s is firmly committed to play its part in building a better SADC, a better Africa and a better world.
I thank you.
Source: Government of South Africa