Transformation in SA has not been smooth: Motlanthe

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pretoria - South Africa is yet to achieve full transformation, though a lot has been done to cover ground, says Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

"Like in every war and battle, the transformation path has not been smooth. We still lack universal access to quality education and healthcare. Unemployment remains high. Growth rates are humble, thus limiting opportunities for sharing," Motlanthe said on Wednesday.

He was addressing the meeting with the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington DC as part of his four-day trip to the US.

Though a lot still needs to be done to address the issues faced by South Africa, Motlanthe said the country appreciates the support it receives from the US, calling the relations between the two nations as "characterised by openness and mutual respect."

"You are our largest portfolio investor and fourth largest source of Foreign Direct Investment. All these have contributed to the successes we have registered both in our country and our region. After all, a stable and thriving South Africa is key to the stability and success of the southern African region," he said.

South Africa would continue to assist the rest of the African continent, with emphasis on the need to keep working together in the birth of a new and viable state of South Sudan. 

"We need to work hard to compose these tensions and to set off a process of mutually beneficial coexistence between the two states in the Sudan," said Motlanthe.

When coming to Somalia, work with all partners is necessary for a long lasting political solution to be found in that country.

Motlanthe also expressed determination to fight terrorism on the continent, while also taking note of South Africa and the US' shared vision of commitment to the restoration of democracy in Zimbabwe.

"Creating durable peace in Africa would not only be good for Africans but would open up opportunities for mutually beneficial economic activity. 

"The June 2010 McKinsey Global Institute report titled "Lions on the move" eloquently testifies to the great opportunity that Africa presents. As an African, I am hopeful of the future of our continent. I know that we have to make Africa succeed and we will succeed," said Motlanthe.

The continent's agricultural potential and its endowment in resources must be turned into a source of wealth and opportunity. The continent also has to build markets that attract investment.

"At the same time, we all need to work together to avoid loss of life. In this regard, the events in Libya, Yemen and other countries should compel all of us to reflect on what could have been done to avert the shedding of blood of innocent civilians. We must also recognise that we are stronger when we work together in unity."

In terms of South Africa joining the Brazil-Russia-China group, Motlanthe said South Africa has over the years sought to work closely with these emerging powers.

"Our work in this forum is at least driven by two imperatives, namely to leverage possibilities to grow our economy so as to be able to respond to the scourges of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment in our own country; secondly, to argue for an engagement with the continent that allows for our continent to grow in a manner that addresses the needs of its own people.

"South Africa believes that a strong United Nations is indispensable we are to succeed in addressing some of the challenges that the global community faces. Of specific note in this regard is the UN Security Council. South Africa urges for the speeding of the reform process in New York," said Motlanthe.