President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday said South Africa’s sixth general elections, held last week, once again proved the vibrancy of democracy in the country which was once a pariah state during apartheid.
Addressing journalists and newly-appointed ambassadors and high commissioners at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, Ramaphosa said the 2019 elections were specifically significant because they happened 25 years after the attainment of democracy.
“We are meeting here today, a week after our country’s sixth democratic elections, and I would like to thank you for expressing your good wishes. Each one of you [foreign envoys] has articulated congratulatory messages that we have not only received from yourselves but your heads of state. We really are truly grateful,” said Ramaphosa.
“The elections have demonstrated the stability and the vibrancy of our democracy and the continued engagement of South African people in the important decisions that affect their lives. These elections hold a special significance because it has taken place in the year in which we are celebrating 25 years of our freedom and democracy in South Africa. It has been a quarter of a century since the 27th of April in 1994 when all South Africans of voting age, of all races and backgrounds, voted for a democratic dispensation for the very first time.”
Ramaphosa made the remarks shortly after receiving letters of credence from ambassadors and high commissioners-designate who have been designated by governments of 12 countries to serve in diplomatic missions in South Africa.
The foreign envoys who officially assumed Pretoria office on Wednesday are from Ukraine, Montenegro, Botswana, Guinea, Japan, Greece, Iraq, Italy, Nigeria, Dominican Republic, Argentina, and Serbia.
Welcoming the top diplomats, their spouses and officials to Pretoria, Ramaphosa said South Africa has a long history of friendly relations with other countries.
“We pursue the strengthening of bilateral and multilateral relations with states and organisations as we seek to make the world a better place for all its people. We stand shoulder to shoulder with many countries in various international alliances and associations,” he said.
“These are platforms through which we pursue global peace and prosperity, social justice, human rights and an environmentally sustainable world. Of great concern to all of us is that we are beginning to witness the effects of climate change and global warming.”
He said the envoys have assumed office at a time when the African continent is still picking up the pieces of the devastating floods that ravaged Mozambique, Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa’s coastal provinces of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
“South Africa remains strongly committed to the shared responsibility, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, of conserving our planet for future generations,” said Ramaphosa.
– African News Agency (ANA)