Response by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to the Toast Remarks delivered at the reception hosted by the Lord Mayor of London, Skinners' Hall, London
15 September 2010My Lord Mayor;
Ladies and gentlemen:
Thank you for hosting this reception in our honour. I truly appreciate the hospitality extended to me and my delegation, and the warmth with which the people of London have received us.
As you have noted, Lord Mayor, this working visit follows the all-important state visit by our President, Jacob Zuma, in March this year.
That visit marked an important milestone in South Africa’s relations with the United Kingdom and highlighted how ingrained and interconnected the two countries are.
Other than the state visit, there have indeed been other major interactions between our countries this year. They include visits of the Lord Mayor to South Africa and the thronging of our streets by the most fanatic of soccer fans in the world, during the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
I am pleased, Lord Mayor, that you have touched on at least three areas of cooperation that require our most urgent attention. These include cooperation in the area of human capital development.
As you are aware, South Africa has prioritised education and skills development, believing that education constitutes the necessary equaliser in society.
It is through the provision of quality education and skills that we can hope to address the challenges of unemployment, inequality, growth and development.
Private-public-partnerships is another area of cooperation with vast opportunities. I am confident that the considerable expertise you have in this field will help South Africa fast-track the momentum of reconstruction and development, especially in the fields of healthcare and education.
Thirdly, South Africa is indeed a bridge to the rest of the African continent.
As a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and other multilateral organisations, we have an important role to play in efforts such as peacekeeping, improving governance, and more importantly, championing growth and development through instruments like NEPAD.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup showed us that it is possible in our lifetime to mobilise all stakeholders towards a common vision and objective.
In addition, the World Cup experience taught us that these can be achieved within specified timelines. I am sure that this will be your experience as well, as you prepare to host the Olympic Games.
In this regard, South Africa has great hopes that the United Kingdom will expedite the implementation of its commitment to support our education and health sector reforms.
The tourism sector will be a key growth industry for South Africa in the coming years with a target of at least 15 million tourists per annum. We are currently operating at approximately 10 million per annum.
We are optimistic that Londoners and indeed people from all corners of Great Britain will continue to choose South Africa as their tourism destination.
Finally, ladies and gentlemen,
Africa has been identified as one of the key areas of investment and growth over the coming years. South Africa is well positioned and has the experience to partner international investors who wish to tap into this vast African market.
Domestically, we have a conducive environment to attract investments. We are consolidating our economic infrastructure; we have transparent and legally sound licensing arrangements; and investors are guaranteed security of tenure.
Once again, thank you for the hospitality. The foundation has been laid; our people from both sides expect to see the walls rising!
I thank you.
For more information, please contact Vusi Mona +27 (0) 82 047 2260
ISSUED BY THE PRESIDENCY