Viet Nam News
On the 22nd anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom Day today, Việt Nam News presents an article written by South Africa Ambassador Kgomotso Ruth Magau.
This occasion gives me great pleasure to address you today in Hà Nội.
For the 22nd Freedom Day Celebration, the Republic of South Africa has chosen the following theme for this year’s celebration: “Together building better communities – local government is everybody’s business”.
This year’s commemoration coincides with the 20th anniversary of the signing of the final draft of the Constitution into law, the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings and the 40th anniversary of the June 16 Student Uprising.
The Constitution laid the foundation for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people. This year’s celebration also coincides with South Africa holding its 5th municipal or local government elections. Municipal elections are held every five years to elect councillors who will be responsible for governing municipalities for the next five years.
The month of April will forever resonate in the history of our nation as the month that saw the first democratic election in 1994. It was on the 10th of April 23 years ago that Chris Hani – who was General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, a member of the National Executive Committee of the ANC and former member of the Umkhoto Weziwe – was gunned down at his Boksburg home. The brutal murder of Chris Hani gave effect to the April 27 Election Day and a very vibrant constitutional democracy.
Just two months ago, there was a very successful 12th National Party Congress in Việt Nam, which resolved to continue to work together for the growth and development of the people of Việt Nam.
In May 2016, Vietnamese people will enter the election season to vote for people’s councils at three levels: ward, district and province. You also elect a new National Assembly at the same time. Very soon, you will have the new legislative apparatus which will, together with the new Central Party Committee, State organisations and Government, strive to sustain growth and prosperity for Việt Nam in the next five years and beyond.
The history of our two countries dates back to the 1950s, and for this year’s celebration, we have tried to show pictorial evidence of that rich history. Ever since its inception, the relationship between the two countries has been growing stronger and stronger. Last year, for example, resulted in a successful 3rd Partnership Forum between South Africa and Việt Nam in Hà Nội. During this event, the two countries used the opportunity to engage each other on issues relating to agriculture, defence, trade and industry, environment, education, science and technology, investment and finance, and justice and public security co-operation.
In the same breath of the 132nd IPU, the Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, Ms Baleka Mbete, met the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Việt Nam, Mr Nguyễn Phú Trọng, as well as the Chairman of the National Assembly of Việt Nam, Mr Nguyễn Sinh Hùng.
In August 2015, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Hoàng Trung Hải visited South Africa and met the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, and also paid a courtesy call to the President of the Republic of South Africa, HE Mr Jacob Zuma, in Cape Town. All these engagements are aimed at building better communities in South Africa and Việt Nam.
South Africa appreciates the political relations that exist between the two countries; however, a lot still needs to be done to close the trade deficit between our respective countries.
On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of South Africa, may I wish the new leadership of the Communist Party, the National Assembly, the Government and the people of Việt Nam all the best for the future. -VNS