On behalf of the Government and people of Zimbabwe and on my own behalf, it is my singular honour to welcome you, Your Excellency, President Ramaphosa and your delegation to Zimbabwe.
I trust that you have found the requirements we made for your visit, most comfortable. We are family, we are brothers, Zimbabwe is home to you, as indeed South Africa is home to us. So please be at liberty and feel at home.
This visit is the second following your ascendency to the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa. I have no doubt that we will seize the opportunities presented by the new realities in our two countries to reinforce, deepen and promote friendship, peace, harmony and mutual prosperity between our two nations.
Your Excellency, I specifically welcome you to this dinner on the eve of the defining Third Bi-National Commission between our two countries.
As I do so, I am cognisant that South Africa is at the height of the election season. Hence, your decision to attend our scheduled Bi-National Commission in the midst of such a big calendar event in your domestic politics tells us volumes about your commitment to our bilateral relations. We are humbled by this gesture, which is in keeping with the true African spirit Ubuntu.
This is also resonates with the salient culture and traditions that exists between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
A culture and tradition that pre-dates the days of the liberation struggle. One that has entailed that an injury to one is an injury to all, traditions that have seen our people pay the necessary sacrifices for the good of the other.
The strength and depth of our relationship is indeed the epitome of true brotherhood, of a common people with a shared past and destiny. I recall the days of our liberation struggle when our two peoples shared training facilities and living quarters fighting together to shake off the colonial chains.
In post independent times, intricate economic relationships have been forged between our communities across all sectors. All these factors continue to influence and contribute to the excellent healthy interactions that our two countries now enjoy at several levels.
We must not take this relationship for granted, nor should we assume that it will remain as close and strong because our detractors (are) always at work. Our relationship, like crops requires constant cultivation and watering. Come rain or sunshine, it is incumbent for us to ensure that it remains vibrant, yielding a good harvest for our people.
More importantly, let us ensure that our relations and historical bonds transcend generations and grow stronger with the passage of time. In that spirit, allow me, Your Excellency to acknowledge and pay tribute to the support that Zimbabwe has continued to receive from South Africa. In this regard we note that your country has consistently remained our key and true ally, throughout the past, years of immense hardships, as a result of the imposition of the illegal and unjustified sanctions by the United States of America and European Union.
Zimbabwe realises that we live in a region where decisions cannot be taken in a vacuum. What we do affects South Africa, as much as what South Africa does affects Zimbabwe.
We are specifically grateful, Your Excellency for your unequivocal calls for the unconditional removal of these illegal, spiteful and unjustified sanctions, which continue to violate the basic human rights for our people.
We are also aware that South Africa has become home to a considerable number of our citizens who are active in your economy. We commend and applaud South Africa’s accommodation and hospitality towards them. Your Excellency, in the face of rapid economic globalisation, internal politics, macro-economic environments, public policy landscapes, peace and stability within our respective countries, have trans-border impact. These tend to affect neighbouring states, trading partners and investors alike.
I want to assure you of Zimbabwe’s commitment to unswervingly follow the course towards the development of our two countries, through rejuvenated economic relations.
We, thus, remain committed to the realisation of a peaceful, stable, developing and prosperous country.
We are keen to also escalate our role and contribution to regional and continental integration in order to improve the living standards of our people.
I am hopeful that this visit by you and your esteemed delegation will afford us the chance to exchange views and broaden the scope of possibilities on the immense potential of our bilateral relations. In doing so, let us also be circumspect of the evolving threats to our respective independence and sovereignty.
Furthermore, the strategic importance of our relationship; coupled with the new chapter of friendship and cooperation, which has been given renewed impetus under the Second Republic, entails that both our public and private sectors must play an increased role in the consolidation of our cooperation. I, therefore, challenge these two critical stakeholders to build sustainable bridges and linkages of progress and greater prosperity for mutual benefit for our two countries.
Let us draw lessons from each other’s economic experiences and harness from our strengths and competencies for shared success, so that we blossom together.
Dear Brother and Colleague,
The current circumstances demand that we keep pace with the times through more active and robust economic engagements.
Therefore, our Bi-National Commission should never be a merely a shop-talk, but a platform for transforming of our countries’ economies. Zimbabwe remains willing to promote and facilitate multi-dimensional trade and investment from our South African neighbours.
‘Zimbabwe is Open for business and Dialogue’, hence my administration will escalate the present amicable relationship with South Africa, geared towards mutual benefit and cooperation. I look forward to a fruitful Bi-National Commission.
With these remarks, allow me, Your Excellency, to wish you a memorable stay in Zimbabwe. Your Excellency, Honourable Ministers, Ambassadors Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentleman, I now invite you to join me in proposing a toast:
To your good health and long life of Your Excellency, Cde Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa
To peace and prosperity for the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe and South Africa,
To the continued, friendship, development and prosperity between our two countries and peoples
CHEERS! THANK YOU! SIYABONGA!
Source : The Herald