“China has now become South Africa’s fourth biggest tourism source market, attracting 122 482 tourists from January to November 2012, which represents a 58,3% growth compared to the same period in 2011.
We want to continue building on this relationship and on the potential that our relationship with China brings at a bilateral level and also within the BRICS forum. The Chinese community in South Africa is thus an important link and catalyst for some of our interactions with China.”
REMARKS BY PRESIDENT JACOB ZUMA ON THE OCCASION OF THE OPENING OF THE CHINESE ARCH IN CYRILDENE, JOHANNESBURG
11 October 2013
Treasurer-General of the ANC, Dr Zweli Mkhize,
Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Our hosts, the honoured residents of Cyrildene,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I feel extremely honoured to be your guest today and to share this special occasion with you.
One of the greatest achievements of the past 20 years has been the building of a non-racial and multi-cultural society, in fulfillment of the directives in the Freedom Charter that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.
The Constitution of the Republic also enshrines this principle of common nationhood and sense of belonging of all the people of our country, regardless of race, colour, creed or culture.
We also pride ourselves in the Republic for being one of very few countries in the world who see strength in diversity.
The Chinese community adds to the rich diversity of our nation, and contributes to the tapestry that makes South Africa unique and colourful in many respects.
We are also pleased to have the Chinese community in our country given the strong and longstanding relations between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China.
This special occasion has therefore given us an opportunity to reflect on the relations between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China, which must count among the strongest bilateral linkages that South Africa has with any country.
The two countries also belong to the BRICS grouping, which has changed the economic landscape by introducing a significant new power bloc in world economic relations.
More importantly, the bilateral relationship between South Africa and China is grounded in the consistent support for the ANC during the liberation struggle over a period of decades.
The relationship has grown exponentially in breadth and depth in all levels since the establishment of diplomatic links.
And also over the past 20 years, the Chinese population of South Africa has also increased dramatically, and so has your contribution to the South African economy.
It is against this background that we meet here with great joy, to open this arch which is a symbol of the presence, diligence and importance of our Chinese community to the building of this country.
We appreciate your participation in and support for the ANC’s Progressive Business Forum.
It is significant that the very first international business delegation of the Progressive Business Forum chose as its destination, the great city of Shanghai. Subsequent delegation have visited Beijing, Hubei, Changchung ,Jilin, Guangzhou, Shaanxi and Shenzen, to name but a few.
These visits have contributed immensely to growing economic linkages between our two countries.
It is also encouraging to note the remarkable growth in tourism between our two countries. South Africa, with its diverse regions and cultures, exceptional natural beauty and shopping opportunities, is attracting more Chinese tourists and students.
China has now become South Africa’s fourth biggest tourism source market, attracting 122 482 tourists from January to November 2012, which represents a 58,3% growth compared to the same period in 2011.
We want to continue building on this relationship and on the potential that our relationship with China brings at a bilateral level and also within the BRICS forum. The Chinese community in South Africa is thus an important link and catalyst for some of our interactions with China.
Over the next few months, the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa will convene two very important meetings in Beijing.
They are the inaugural meeting of the Joint Inter-Ministerial Working Group on South African-Chinese Cooperation and the 5th session of the South Africa-China Binational Commission.
These structured bilateral engagements are important features of our formal mechanisms to strengthen and consolidate the South African-China relationship.
However, they also form the basis for deepening and widening our interaction into all spheres of life.
Compatriots and friends,
We will next year celebrate 20 years of freedom and democracy, brought about by the ANC. We will be celebrating the achievements of the past 20 years.
I know that you agree with us that South Africa is a much better place now than it was before 1994.
We thank you for your contribution to bringing about that change in the past 19 years and also in the past five years of the fourth administration.
We will be celebrating the consolidation of democracy, bringing about of peace and stability, promotion of reconciliation and the transformation of the country, dismantling institutionalized racism to build a non-racial society.
We will be celebrating the extension of basic services such as water, electricity, health care, housing and others to thousands of people who did not have these services before.
We will also be looking ahead to an even better future, as outlined in the National Development Plan – a non-racial and prosperous society where every citizen has a roof over their head, access to job opportunities, basic services and a good life by the year 2030.
We invite you to partner the ANC and its government as we prepare to fully implement the National Development Plan, working with all stakeholders and our communities, to take our country to even greater heights.
Compatriots and friends
We would like this arch to stand as a permanent monument to your contribution to the cultural diversity of this beautiful country.
It must be a monument to your contribution to building a better and more prosperous South Africa.
It is a symbol of friendship, solidarity, diversity and also of your commitment to this country and its future.
We look forward to ongoing cooperation and friendship between the ANC and the Chinese community.
I thank you.