SA joins Commonwealth celebrations

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
By: 
Bathandwa Mbola

Pretoria - South Africa joined in the commemoration of Commonwealth Day and recommitted itself to the Commonwealth's shared values of tolerance, respect, and equality on Monday.

Although many of these goals have been achieved with various degrees of success, much more still needs to be done to improve the conditions of many people, Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Sue van der Merwe said in her message.

"At the moment many countries face a debilitating financial crisis that threatens not only to undo whatever economic progress has been achieved thus far but further to sink the developing world into conditions of poverty, hunger, diseases ignorance and homelessness."

Commonwealth Day is celebrated annually on the second Monday in March.

The aim of commemorating Commonwealth Day is to promote understanding on global issues, international co-operation and the work of the Commonwealth to improve the lives of its two billion citizens.

This year the Commonwealth Day is celebrated under the theme: "the commonwealth@60 - serving a new generation."

Through this theme, Ms van der Merwe said, she was confident that the Commonwealth of Nations, will do all it can, not only to mitigate the effects of this global crisis but turn it into a stable and prosperous future.

"... from the clutches of poverty and under-development. Our common humanity places on us the imperative to work in unity with the single purpose of saving posterity.

"As a member state of this glorious organisation, South Africa is convinced that our collective efforts in this regard will not fail and will therefore do everything possible to contribute towards the achievement of our goals as an organisation," said the deputy minister.

The organ comprises of 53 members who are united by its shared ideals and common traditions and this is manifested in similar structures of governance, public administration and law.

Since rejoining the Commonwealth in 1994, South Africa has participated in the work of the Commonwealth including by hosting of the 16th Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers in December 2006 in Cape Town.

The department explained that South Africa continued to uphold the principles to which the Commonwealth adhered as constituting a correct and desirable foundation for a better world.

"As a member state of this glorious organisation, South Africa is convinced that our collective efforts in this regard will not fail and will therefore do everything possible to contribute towards the achievement of our goals as an organisation," explained Ms van der Merwe.