Govt wants Charter ratified by year end

Friday, May 25, 2012

Pretoria - Government is committed to doing everything possible to ensure that the Charter on African Cultural Renaissance is ratified by the end of this year, says Arts and Culture Minister Paul Mashatile.

Speaking at the signing ceremony of the Charter on African Cultural Renaissance in Johannesburg on Friday, the minister said by signing the Charter, government was taking an important step towards delivering on the commitment it made last year during the Southern African Development Community (SADC) campaign to promote the Charter by all African states.

"Equally, as we sign this Charter today we do so fully appreciating that the South African Cabinet will ratify the Charter soon."

He said government was delighted that the signing ceremony was taking place during Africa Day - a day of immense importance to all Africans.

On Africa Day, Africans take pride in their identity, celebrate that which unites them and together craft a shared as well as prosperous destiny. "On this Day as Africans we proclaim loudly that what unites us far outweighs that which divides us. We declare boldly that the unity of Africans is sacrosanct and therefore must be defended by all," he said.

Mashatile further described the signing of the Charter as government's ongoing efforts to strengthen the rebirth of the continent at a political, social, economic and cultural level.

"As South Africa we will use this Charter to promote the unity of the African Continent and the unity of the peoples of Africa.We are confident that this Charter will assist us to illuminate the way towards progressive Pan-Africanism," he said.

Mashatile used the event to reiterate government's commitment to the African Agenda. This, he said, includes the strengthening of the African Union (AU) and supporting efforts to promote democracy, peace, stability and development in the continent.

"We equally remain fully supportive of the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) as an integral component of efforts towards the rebirth of the African continent.

"As South Africa we are of the view that the arts, culture and heritage have an important role to play in promoting the African agenda, in strengthening the African Union and in ensuring that the goals of NEPAD are realised," he said.

Mashatile said Africans must use their shared heritage to strengthen people to people contact, to promote tolerance as well as a better understanding and appreciation of each other as Africans.

"It is when we have strengthened people to people contact that we can develop further avenues for cooperation among our countries," he said.