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NEPAD and AU Last update: 2020-11-27  

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During his State of the Nation Address, President Mbeki identified a number of issues to be pursued in the international arena during 2002/03. The President's address underscored the fact that South Africa's foreign policy is anchored on the theoretical framework of the African Renaissance, which finds concrete expression in the NEPAD document. The successful implementation of NEPAD will contribute towards the realisation of the African Century. NEPAD is the programmatic expression of the African Renaissance, and the AU is the vehicle through which this programme will be implemented. The focus of our foreign policy interventions on NEPAD and the AU should be viewed within this context.

There is an increased and expanding role of South Africa as evidenced by its assumption of the chairpersonship of the African Union (AU); its roles in the implementation of NEPAD; the restructuring of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the South African Customs Union (SACU); its efforts in promoting peace, security and stability in the region and continent; its role in the global effort to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment; and its increasing stature as host of international conferences and events, and tourist destination.


The launch of the African Union (AU) in Durban in July 2002 was a highly successful event. In establishing the AU, the Summit approved:
  • The Rules of Procedure of the key organs of the AU
  • The Protocol on the Peace and Security Council, which replaces the Central Organ
  • The NEPAD Declaration of Good Governance and the NEPAD Plan of Action
  • The extension of the term of the Interim Commission (Secretariat) by a year

In accordance with the Decisions of the Summit in Durban, South Africa will co-ordinate initiatives with the aim of resolving the political crisis in Madagascar, and bring to a conclusion the Lockerbie issue by engaging the UN and other parties.

In terms of the operationalisation of the AU, the following priorities need to be attended to during South Africa's tenure as chair of the AU:
  • A permanent Commission (Secretariat) should be established in order to get the AU to function
  • The role, powers and functions of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) as well as the criteria that should regulate its hosting will also have to be finalised
  • The draft rules of procedure of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOCC), as well as criteria for hosting its meetings will also need to be determined
  • Amendments to the Constitutive Act (CA) will have to be finalised at the Extra-Ordinary summit in six months time
  • As chair South Africa will convene a meeting to look into the Common Defence and Security Policy for the continent
  • The Protocol on the Peace and Security Council (PSC) should be tabled before Parliament with a view to its ratification.

The successful implementation of NEPAD will require strong Regional Economic Communities (RECs). RECs are the building blocks of the AU, hence the need to strengthen them. The restructuring of SADC is crucial to the implementation of NEPAD and other programmes of the AU. As part of the restructuring of SACU, member States have approved the new SACU Agreement, and this will be tabled in Parliament for ratification.

South Africa will continue its role in NEPAD. Bilateral and multilateral initiatives such as the Africa-China Forum, the Africa-EU, the TICAD, America's Growth and Opportunities Act, etc will have to be harmonised to ensure that the NEPAD process becomes the primary point of departure in responding to the development of the continent.

We will continue in our efforts to seek the broadest possible support for NEPAD in both the developing and the developed worlds. Mass support and participation is critical to the successful implementation of NEPAD programmes, hence the need to engage civil society. Amongst others, the African Diaspora will be mobilised to support NEPAD. The development of partnerships with regions of the South on NEPAD is critical. In South Africa, the AU/NEPAD Outreach programme will be strengthened to reach out to more communities.

In order to strengthen the objectives of NEPAD, South Africa will encourage countries of the continent to voluntarily submit themselves to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). The establishment of the APRM will be pursued.

As part of its objective of strengthening democracy in the continent, South Africa will assist in capacity building, and the establishment and strengthening of democratic institutions in member states.

At the time of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Continental Organisation in 2003, South Africa will still be the Chair of the AU. Details regarding the nature and form of these celebrations will take will be made available at a later stage.

As chair of the AU, South Africa will have to remain seized with peace initiatives in consultation with the Interim Commission, the Security Organs of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as well as cooperating partners and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

The requisite capacity will be placed at the disposal of the President in order to enable him to discharge his responsibilities as chair of the AU. Details of the nature and form of this capacity will be made available as soon as Cabinet has approved recommendations in this regard.


In the Great Lakes Region, a major groundbreaking peace agreement brokered by South Africa has been signed between the governments of DRC and Rwanda. This agreement will pave the way for Rwandan troop withdrawal in the DRC, the disarming and repatriation of the Intarhamwe and ex-FAR. The signing of this agreement has laid a solid foundation for security in the Great Lakes region. South Africa remains seized with efforts to promote peace, security and stability in this region.

South Africa successfully hosted the Inter-Congolese Dialogue (ICD) in February to April 2002. The ICD adopted 40 resolutions some of which included the integration of opposing armed forces, the economic reconstruction of the country, national reconciliation and a humanitarian assistance programme. Major stumbling blocks are the transitional government, power sharing, and the integration of the armed forces. South Africa will continue to take an interest in the resolution of outstanding issues with respect to the DRC.

The Signing of the LuР№na Cease-fire Accord in April 2002 by the MPLA and UNITA has created conditions for the normalisation of relations between South Africa and Angola. The scale of the humanitarian disaster visited upon the peoples of Angola requires the mobilisation of the international community to provide humanitarian assistance. For its part, the South African government has approved relief for humanitarian disaster in Angola. We stand ready to assist the people of Angola in their search for national reconciliation and unity, and in the efforts to reconstruct their country after decades of wanton destruction.

STRONG AND VISIONARY LEADERSHIP - " Developments within the region"

Deputy President Jacob Zuma, as a Peace Facilitator in Burundi, has taken numerous initiatives with a view to achieve a lasting peace in that country. Consultations aimed at bringing in armed groups who still remain outside of the Arusha process are continuing.

The Comoros has by majority vote accepted a new constitution. The process of returning to constitutional order was overseen and facilitated by the OAU, with South Africa acting as the OAU's mandated Co-ordinator of Countries of the Region. Countries of the Region will continue to oversee Comoran post-transition implementation progress within the mandate of the AU.

Efforts by SA and Nigeria are continuing to encourage dialogue between the ZANU-PF and the MDC. This political dialogue is aimed at promoting national unity and reconciliation in Zimbabwe. This is essential for stability and economic recovery.

The holding of a peaceful election in Lesotho has created prospects for peace and stability in that country. South Africa participated in a SADC Troika Observer Mission, which pronounced the elections of 25 May 2002 free and fair. Furthermore, numerous bilateral cooperation projects have been identified within the framework of the SA/Lesotho JPC. South Africa will also assist Lesotho with a donors' conference in 2002.


With regards to the Middle East, South Africa maintains its principled opposition to external demands for regime change and welcomes the reform process initiated by the Palestinian National Authority, the "100 Days Plan of the Palestinian Government". South Africa remains deeply concerned over the growing humanitarian crisis in Palestine and welcomes the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's comments and plans in this regard. No amount of force or violence from either side will lead to the resolution of the Middle East crisis. We will continue to support the efforts of the international community to bring about a peaceful resolution to the Middle East situation. In this context, the Presidential Middle East Initiative complements international efforts and is aimed at strengthening the voices for peace and building a common vision for peace.


In the next few days thousands of delegates will descend on our shores to attend the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. South Africa has advanced an integrated and developmental approach to the WSSD process and outcomes. We have been working with partners in the South and North to ensure that the WSSD process remains within the terms of reference set by the UNGA. The focus is on action-oriented outcomes for the further implementation of sustainable development in priority areas emanating from Rio, as well as new challenges since Rio. Logistical arrangements are on track through an integrated approach by JOWSCO with the support of government.

The WSSD should assist in taking forward the agenda of sustainable development in order to enable us to achieve the development targets set in the Millennium Declaration. The implementation of the Doha Development Round, the Monterrey Consensus, and the Johannesburg Plan of Action will indeed advance the struggle to create a better world for all.

South Africa will continue to consolidate and expand its bilateral relations to promote trade, investment, and cooperation in various fields with a view to advancing the goals of our foreign policy.


As Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma indicated in her Budget Vote Speech: 2002 to the National Assembly: "Our key objective is to achieve a better life for South Africans and a better world for humanity". South Africa is indeed on that road and will do its best to ensure that we achieve this objective.

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