South Africa has made great strides especially in the areas of trade, peace, security and social cohesion since its chairmanship in 2017, said Deputy Minister of Communications Ms Pinky Kekana during the adjudications committee in Gauteng last week.
In her speech, Kekana said South Africa continues to play a significant role in building and further cementing the vision that was consolidated 38 years ago when SADC was founded.
“The vision remains relevant today as we have witnessed the growth of this body and its role within the member states. Correctly so, a decision was taken in 2017 to welcome the Republic of Comoros as a member state. This is indeed a demonstration of the relevance of this body,” she said.
She said the SADC’s road to regional integration is as bright as ever.
“The objectives of SADC are very clear; to achieve development, peace, security and economic growth to alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the peoples of Southern Africa and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration that is built on democratic principles, and equitable and sustainable development,” said Kekana.
“I have no doubt in my mind that positive developments have been achieved in our region. One such achievement is the peaceful situation in Lesotho. In that same vein let me also say come, December in the Democratic Republic of Congo it is the ballot that should win not a bullet. Democracy thrives on tolerance and a free press amongst other things.
“As per the communique of the Double Troika Summit of the Heads of State and Government of SADC held on 24 April 2018 in Angola, the implementation of the SADC decisions by all stakeholders in Lesotho has restored peace to that country.”
The SA deputy minister of communication has acknowledged SADC’s ability to unlock regional economic opportunities.
She said, “The Technical Steering Committee of the Project on Enhancement of a Sustainable Regional Energy Market in the Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean held in Namibia in April 2018, will go a long way towards harmonising the regulatory framework of energy in the region.
“Furthermore the Industrialisation Strategy that is being rolled out this year to 12 member states will confront the challenges of youth empowerment. Building resilient infrastructure can promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster much needed innovation. I am just mentioning a few good things that are emerging from the region.
“I have no doubt in my mind that positive developments have been achieved in our region. One such achievement is the peaceful situation in Lesotho. In that same vein let me also say come, December in the Democratic Republic of Congo it is the ballot that should win not a bullet. Democracy thrives on tolerance and a free press amongst other things.”
In her speech she also highlighted the key roles played by the media fraternity in promoting regional integration adding that they should continue to recognize the work that pronounces efforts of SADC member states in realizing the objectives of SADC.
“The entries submitted by hard-working journalists are very competitive. The role and commitment of the media cannot be overemphasised, and they are called the Fourth Estate because they are a window through which we can see what is happening across the world and they can shape our society,” she said.
“Freedom of the press is one of the cornerstones of democracies. It is against that background that we should echo former President Mandela’s sentiments on the media.”