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Keynote address by Deputy President Shipokosa Paulus Mashatile at the South Africa Legislative Sector International Oversight Summit, Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town

Programme Director, Mr Qoboshiane;
The Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa, Honourable Mapisa-Nqakula;
Deputy Speaker of the South African National Assembly, Mr Tsenoli;
Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Ms Sylvia Lucas;
The Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court of the RSA, Justice Zondo, and esteemed members of the Judiciary;
The Public Protector, Advocate Gcaleka;
The Chairperson of the Public Service Commission, Professor Fikeni;
Members of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures;
The President of the South African Local Government Association (SALGA);
Speakers of SADC Parliaments and their delegations;
Representatives of the EU Delegation to SA;
Treasurer of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Africa Region, Honourable Mekgwe;
Members of the Diplomatic corps;
Representatives of Higher Education Institutions;
Civil Society Representatives and all institutions supporting democracy;
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Avuxeni, Dumelang, Good morning,

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Legislative Sector South Africa and all of its partners for organising this important Summit. This Summit advances the discourse on transforming the legislature across the continent and centres Parliaments as critical institutions that continue to provide a voice for citizens.
I would also like to acknowledge the work that the SADC Parliaments and the European Union continue to do to strengthen and take forward the democratic agenda in the continent. A very warm welcome to all of you who have travelled from afar to participate in this Summit.

Namkelekile eMzansi Africa!
I am pleased to be part of this 2024 South Africa Legislative Sector (SALS) Oversight Summit under the theme: "Striving for oversight that ensures the realisation of a better life for all South Africans”.
This theme is relevant in that it reminds us of the strategic role that legislatures play in transforming society and championing the interests of all South Africans towards a better life for all. The theme also probes us to reflect on the democracy and governance work that continues in South Africa’s young democracy.  
As we are all aware, this Summit takes place in the year when South Africa celebrates its 30th anniversary as a democratic government. We are celebrating these 30 years because we have witnessed that it is possible to have a people-centred Government that considers citizens as critical role-players in policy and law-making processes.
It is necessary also to juxtapose these thirty years to the decades of an oppressive, apartheid-style regime that thrived on the exclusion of the majority using racial discrimination as a basis. Such context is critical in that it addresses the tendency for historical perspectives to ignore the strides of the democratic government.
We equally celebrate thirty years because of the support we have received from the rest of the world when we fought against apartheid. We will never forget your good deeds and our commitment is to continue to be in solidarity with the most vulnerable in the world. Together with you, we will continue to stand for justice and peace.
As a nation, we are proud that in the 30 years of our democracy, we have not only made significant strides in transforming our own country but have also left a significant mark globally by unapologetically choosing to stand on the side of justice as it relates to the Palestinian question. Under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa has achieved an important victory for humanity by putting before the International Court of Justice the matter of the Israeli government's genocide of the Palestinian people. We are a nation that will always stand for the vulnerable and marginalised, and fight for a just world. We call upon the rest of the world to join us in this important fight for justice, equality, and peace.
Programme Director,

A close look into the case I have just referred to also strengthens the need for a strong legislature that can advance and protect the rights of people in a nation. It is therefore important that through this Summit, we maintain the commitments we have to these principles that underpin our democratic government and legislative sector. Parliaments must continue to be people-centered institutions that bring the voices of the people to governance.
Accountability, good ethics, integrity, and transparency are therefore critical in providing a guiding framework for strengthening the legislature's role toward improving the lives of all South Africans. Without these principles, the sustainable human development agenda will not find its truest expression.
Effective oversight ensures that these principles are upheld and that our institutions serve the needs of the people, therefore realising a better life for all. As we draw closer to the end of this crucial chapter of 30 years of our democracy, we must use this Summit as a platform to reflect on our achievements and acknowledge the challenges we have confronted over the years, particularly regarding the implementation of the oversight responsibilities of Parliament.
The fundamental test of democracy lies in Parliament's ability to maintain Executive accountability through continuous oversight. The litmus test of an active citizenry in a democracy is the extent to which Parliament can hold the government accountable to the people.
As the Government, we have identified corruption, abuse of state power, and maladministration as critical deficiencies that undermine our governance institutions and processes and, thus erode public trust.
In this regard, Chapter 9 of the Constitution mandates the creation of institutions designed to protect and support democracy. One of these key institutions is the Office of the Public Protector, which in 2016 recommended that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry be established to investigate the allegations of State Capture in Government. To demonstrate our commitment to good governance, the Judicial Commission of Inquiry into allegations of state capture, corruption, and fraud in the public sector, including state organs, was established in January 2018. On the 23rd of October 2022, the Presiding Officers of Parliament received President Ramaphosa's response to the recommendations of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry.
Regarding the latest report received, Parliament is currently working on proper mechanisms to address the issues raised by the report of the State Capture Commission. The Presiding Officers of Parliament have already referred certain matters requiring direct action by Parliament to parliamentary structures for processing.
As recommended, we have to consider reforms to improve our procedures expeditiously. These include, among other measures:

• Statutory changes to clarify the principle of “amendatory oversight”,
• Regulation of Executive attendance and reporting to Parliament,
• Making provision for procedures that will improve the Executive and Legislative interface. 
While more work still needs to be done to improve the lives of all South Africans, I believe that we have effectively made strides in representing the South African people through our institutions, especially given that our democracy is relatively young in comparison to the number of years we endured under apartheid.  

Programme Director,

Part of my responsibility as the Leader of Government Business in Parliament is to monitor the developments by the Executive, approvals by Cabinet, and the implementation of the legislative programme by Parliament.  
Since my appointment in March 2023, I am pleased to report that we have been able to submit priority legislative proposals for the Cabinet’s approval, and we continue to monitor the introduction of priority legislation by Parliament before the end of this administration.

Key amongst this priority legislation are the:

• Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill,
• South African National Water Resources Infrastructure Agency Bill,
• General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill,
• Basic Education Laws Amendment Bill,
• National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill and the recently passed National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.
We also want to take this opportunity to commend the legislative sector for being instrumental in advancing gender equality by enacting laws such as the Gender Equality Act and the Domestic Violence Act, which are amongst the most globally progressive pieces of legislation.
These laws serve to safeguard women's rights and address the issue of gender-based violence. However, we recognise that much more needs to be done to introduce reform measures that will ensure quicker and equitable land transfer to disadvantaged land communities, especially women, youth, and people with disabilities.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Most importantly, we have played an essential role in safeguarding our democracy by securing free and fair elections during the last six administrations. Today, we are just a few months away from the National General Elections, which will mark the transition from the sixth to the seventh Parliament. As the government, we want to assure Parliament and the international community that we have confidence in our Independent Electoral Commission, and we strongly believe that the IEC will deliver free and fair elections in 2024 and beyond as it has done so before.
In this regard, it is necessary to dispel aspersions about the legitimacy of our democracy by those who do not have the best interests of our nation at heart. Equally, as representatives of the people, we must also encourage and educate all individuals, particularly young people, about the significance of voting. Ours is a young nation, and the youth must be encouraged to participate actively in our electoral and governance processes.
Programme Director,

One of the key instruments for ensuring executive accountability to Parliament is the continuous monitoring of responses to Parliamentary questions by Members of the Executive. These questions largely emanate from the issues that are eminent in public discourse and are informed by the voices of the people on the ground whilst also engaging with some of the policy-related issues at a strategic level. From these responses to questions and regular reports to the Cabinet, we can track executive accountability to Parliament and the people.

As the Leader of Government Business, I am responsible for ensuring that responses to all the questions presented to the Members of the Executive in both the National Assembly and the NCOP are presented to the Houses. I am pleased to announce that progress has been made in this area of work. To this end, only one (1) question for written reply has lapsed during the 2023 Parliamentary session, which is unprecedented since the establishment of our democratic Parliament. We want to thank all role-players in the Executive and Parliament for making this possible, and we encourage you to continue to do the same going forward.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We must continue to strengthen all legislative oversight practices as they play an important role in ensuring that the Executive is accountable to the people. As the legislative arm of the state, alongside the Judiciary and the Executive, we have an important role in ensuring that our democracy is people-centered and is not void of accountability.
As we move towards the end of the Sixth Administration and usher in the seventh one, let us continue on our legislative oversight responsibility to serve as a tool to hold the Executive accountable, thus ensuring effective and efficient delivery of services to our communities.
The strengthening of the South African legislative oversight will make it possible for us to deepen our democracy and contribute to the long-term growth and prosperity of our country.
In closing, allow me to borrow from the words of the founding father of our democracy President Nelson Mandela during his inaugural speech where he said -
“We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world. Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all.”
These words remain relevant as we collectively work towards strengthening our democracy in our pursuit of social justice. With these words, I wish you well as you continue to deliberate and explore progressive measures to enhance the institutional capacity of legislatures, which will enable us to improve our oversight responsibilities for the betterment of our people.
I thank you.

President to launch Welisizwe Rural Bridges in KwaZulu-Natal

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday, 31 January 2024, lead the launch of the Welisizwe Rural Bridges initiative in Umgungundlovu District, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Province. 

This collaborative effort between the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) aims to construct 96 bridges during the 2023/2024 financial year, as outlined in the 2023 State of the Nation Address (SoNA).

Highlighting the pivotal role of infrastructure in rural development, the President emphasised in the State of the Nation Address the importance of roads and bridges in providing access to markets, employment opportunities, and essential social services for South Africans in remote areas. 

The Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme is poised for expansion, targeting the delivery of 96 bridges annually over a period of three years, with the South African National Defence Force showcasing its engineering expertise in bridge construction.

Derived from the Nguni word meaning "to assist the nation in crossing over," Welisizwe represents a strategic Integrated Project (SIP) under the sixth administration. 

Collaborative efforts between the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and the Department of Defence have already commenced implementation in provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Free State, and North West.

These bridges are essential in addressing the challenges faced by citizens and children who previously navigated perilous rivers to access schools and essential social services. 

Details of the launch are as follows:

Date: Wednesday, 31 January 2024
Time: 14h00
Venue: Ngilanyoni Sportfield, Ward 7, Mkhambathini Municipality, Umgungundlovu District, KZN

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to President Ramaphosa - 

Issued by: The Presidency

President Cyril Ramaphosa to officiate South Africa first trade shipments under AfCFTA

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Wednesday, 31 January 2024 , officiate the launch of South Africa's first shipment and preferential trading under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). 

The launch ceremony will take place at the Port of Durban in the KwaZulu-Natal Province and occurs on the margins of the 13th AfCFTA Council of Ministers held  at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre from 30-31 January 2024.

South Africa is the first amongst the four SACU countries to practically realise the AfCFTA Agreement.

The 37th African Union Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government will at its annual convention in February 2024 take stock of the progress made thus far in the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The successful implementation of the AfCFTA is expected to lead to diversification of exports, increased productive capacity, acceleration of growth, increased investment, increased employment opportunities and incomes and most importantly broaden economic inclusion both in South Africa and the rest of the Continent. It provides South African exporters with new market access opportunities to key markets in the African Continent and can unlock growth. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be joined by Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel; Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube; AfCFTA Secretary General, Wamkele Mene; among dignitaries that includes the AfCFTA Council of Ministers in witnessing the first shipment of Proudly South Africa products exported to the continent. 

Details of the South Africa  launch ceremony of first shipments under the AfCFTA will be as follows: 

Date:  Wednesday 31 January 2024

Time: 09h00 (media to arrive 07h30)

Venue: Port of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal Province 

Media accreditation for the launch ceremony can be directed to Mamosa Dikeledi on or WhatsApp: 066 301 9875


Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to President Ramaphosa - 

Issued by: The Presidency

Televised Address by the President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, on the ruling of the International Court of Justice

Fellow South Africans,   

Earlier today, the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued a ruling that is a victory for international law, for human rights, and above all, for justice. 

This follows the unprecedented action taken by South Africa to take another country to the international court of justice. 

On the 29th of December 2023, South Africa filed an application instituting proceedings against the State of Israel for the violence it has unleashed on the people of the Gaza Strip, arguing that Israel was in breach of its obligations under the Convention.  

South Africa had earlier condemned the 7 October 2023, attack by Hamas and other groups that resulted in the deaths of many Israelis and the taking of hostages. 

The court in its judgment affirmed South Africa’s right to take Israel to court – even though it is not a party to the conflict in Gaza.  

The ICJ, as the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has handed down a ruling that the State of Israel should immediately implement a set of provisional measures to prevent any further acts of genocide in Gaza, to desist from such acts, and to take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence relating to acts of genocide. As the South African Government we welcome the decision of the ICJ. 

We note the court’s statement that it is acutely aware of the extent of the human tragedy that is unfolding in the region, and is deeply concerned about the continuing loss of life and human suffering and that the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is at serious risk of deteriorating further before the court renders its final judgement.   

We welcome the measures that the court ordered by majority decision, ruling that Israel military should not commit acts of genocide against Palestinians. Israel should take all measures to prevent and punish incitement to genocide. Furthermore, take immediate and effective measures to allow basic services and humanitarian assistance to Gaza and it should preserve evidence of what is happening in Gaza, including submitting a report within a month on all measures taken to give effect to the ICJ order within one month. 

This Order is binding on Israel, and must be respected by all states that are party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. 

We expect Israel as a self-proclaimed democracy and a state that respects the rule of law to abide by the measures handed down by the International Court of Justice.  
After more than half a century of occupation, dispossession, oppression and apartheid, the Palestinian people’s cries for justice have been heeded by an eminent organ of the United Nations.

Today, Israel stands before the international community, its crimes against the Palestinians laid bare. Since October last year, the people of Gaza have been the victims of bombardment and strikes from land and air. Homes, refugee camps and entire neighbourhoods have been destroyed and not even schools and hospitals have been spared. 

The people of Gaza have been deprived of electricity, fuel, food, and medical supplies. According to the United Nations, more than 25 000 people have been killed during Israel’s war with Hamas. Among the dead are relief workers, UN staff, and journalists.   

More than 16 000 of the dead are women and children. In October 2023 the UN Children’s Fund said: “Gaza has become a graveyard for thousands of children.” According to the UN thousands of children were killed in just the first three weeks of the current conflict.  

As South Africa argued in its application to the ICJ, the high civilian death toll, and the sheer scale of the destruction that has resulted from Israel’s response to the 7 October attacks is vastly disproportionate to any claim by Israel that it has been acting in self-defence. We have called Israel’s attacks on Gaza genocidal acts, acts for which Israel should and must be held accountable.   

Today the International Court of Justice has vindicated us. The Court has concluded that pursuant to Article 9 of the Convention, it has jurisdiction to adjudicate our application. The effect of the Order that the ICJ has granted today is that there is a plausible case of genocide.   

This marks an important first step in our quest to secure justice for the people of Gaza.  
Some have told us to mind our own business. Others have said it was not our place. And yet it is very much our place, as people who know too well the pain of dispossession, discrimination, state-sponsored violence.   

We are also a people who were the victims of the crime of apartheid. We know what apartheid looks like. We experienced and lived through it. Sadly, many of people died and were exiled like our beloved leader Oliver Tambo and others, others were jailed like the father of our democracy and others were maimed.  

We, as South Africans, will not be passive bystanders and watch the crimes that were visited upon us being perpetrated elsewhere. We stand on the side of freedom for all. We stand on the side of justice.

Thirty years ago, following our first democratic elections, President Nelson Mandela declared: “Let there be justice for all. Let there be peace for all. Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.”   

And so, we say again today, never, never and never again shall it be that acts of genocide are perpetrated with impunity as we, the international community look on. We firmly believe that following this judgment there should now be a more concerted effort towards a ceasefire and negotiations should commence on a permanent two state solution, to enable Israel and Palestine to live side by side as independent states. 

As South Africa we thank all in the international community who have supported our application, including a number of countries who have declared their intention to be part of our application. 

We will not waver in our commitment to the Palestinian people and their quest for self-determination. Our own painful history obliges us to do no less. We thank the International Court of Justice for upholding its role of achieving justice, promoting peace, preventing genocide and holding those guilty of genocide accountable.  

It is our earnest hope and wish that this court order paves the way for an end to this crisis, for an end to the terrible loss of life and hardship, and for the crucial first steps to be taken towards reconciliation and a just, lasting peace.  

I thank you.      

President Ramaphosa to address the nation

President Cyril Ramaphosa will this afternoon, 26 January 2023, address the nation on the International Court of Justice order. 

The President will address the nation as follows:

Date: Friday, 26 February 2024

Time: 16h00

SABC will provide a feed to all media and PresidencyZA will live stream the proceedings.


Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to President Ramaphosa -

Issued by: The Presidency

Minister of Electricity to brief media on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan

The Minister in the Presidency responsible for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa will tomorrow, 23 January 2024, brief the media on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan. 

Members of the media are invited to attend the briefing as follows:
Date: Tuesday, 23 January 2024
Time: 11:30 for 12:30
Venue: Boardroom 159, Union Buildings, Pretoria

Live Streaming details:

Media enquires: Tsakane Khambane, Spokesperson in the Ministry of Electricity |Cell: 082 084 5566 /

Issued by: The Presidency

President Ramaphosa to attend the inauguration of President-elect Tshisekedi of the DRC

President Cyril Ramaphosa, today, 20 January 2024, arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa, to attend the inauguration and swearing-in of President-elect, His Excellency, Mr Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo. 

South Africa continues to play a constructive role in the pursuit of peace and security as well as the post conflict reconstruction and development in the DRC and the Great Lakes region. 

President Ramaphosa's attendance of the Inauguration and the swearing-in ceremony will provide an opportunity to reaffirm the strategic nature of the cordial bilateral relations between South Africa and the DRC as well as consolidation of bilateral cooperation. 

The bilateral cooperation between South Africa and the DRC is conducted through the Bi- National Commission (BNC), which is convened at the Heads of State and Government level as provided by the establishing agreement of 2004. The 12th Session of the BNC was held in Kinshasa, on 06 July 2023 and was co-chaired by H.E Mr Cyril Ramaphosa and H.E. President Mr Félix Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo.

President Ramaphosa will be accompanied by his newly appointed Special Envoy to the Great Lakes, Mr Jeff Radebe.


Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President - 

Issued by: The Presidency

Deputy President Mashatile to welcome the Duke of Edinburgh on a working visit to South Africa

His Excellency Deputy President Paul Mashatile will on Tuesday, 23 January 2024 welcome His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, on a courtesy call at the OR Tambo Official Residence in Pretoria. 

The Duke of Edinburgh is on a working visit to South Africa on 22 and 23 January 2024. 

The visit follows the successful State Visit that His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa undertook to the United Kingdom in 2022 at the invitation of King Charles III. 

The visit is also indicative of the strong bilateral relationship that the United Kingdom and South Africa share.

During his visit, His Royal Highness will meet stakeholders from WWF South Africa, Endangered Wildlife Trust, GreenMatterZA, TRAFFIC, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Birdlife, and Conservation South Africa. 

Prince Edward will also meet the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, for a tour of the Pretoria National Botanical Garden and will be accompanied on the tour by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) CEO, Mr Shonisani Munzhedi. 

This follows President Ramaphosa’s visit to the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew, in November 2022 and will mark the long-term collaboration between Kew and SANBI to ensure the survival of South Africa’s rich plant diversity. 

The Duke will also meet the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Dr Blade Nzimande at a dinner marking the deep partnership between South Africa and the United Kingdom in the field of Science and Innovation.

In addition, the Duke of Edinburgh will meet awardees of the President’s Awards, the international arm of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, of which President Ramaphosa is a Patron. Both countries share a strong commitment to youth empowerment.

During the courtesy call, Deputy President Mashatile will also hold discussions with the Duke and his delegation on key areas of importance in the bilateral relationship between South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Media enquiries: Mr Vukani Mde, Spokesperson to the Deputy President on 081 307 9233 

Issued by: The Presidency

President commends nation on the success of Matric Class of 2023

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the unprecedented success recorded by the Matric Class of 2023 is evidence of the determination and ambition of learners and of a nation that values its youth.

The President offers his warm congratulations and that of Government to the Class of 2023 and the extended support system of educators, parents, school governing bodies and health care providers who carried this cohort of learners through the COVID 19 pandemic when they were in earlier grades.

The 2023 National Senior Certificate (NSC) overall pass rate reached 82.9%, compared with 80.1% in 2022, and 76.4% in 2021.

This is an improvement of 2.8%, and 6.5% from the pass rates achieved by the Classes of 2022 and 2021 respectively.

In real numbers, 572 983 candidates passed the 2023 NSC exams.

As a percentage, the 2023 pass is the highest in the history of the NSC.

Similarly, Bachelor passes as well as passes with distinction produced by the Class of 2023 stand out as the highest in the history of NSC exams.

President Ramaphosa said: “The Class of 2023 has given itself and the nation great cause for pride and belief that our investment in education is the key to moving our country forward.

“The 2023 matric results show that we are a nation that takes care of its young people and that our young people are taking care of their future through their resilience and their dedication to learning.

“The matric results are an irrefutable indicator of our comprehensive national development during 30 years of freedom and democracy.

“Our success in education must motivate us to achieve even greater things in all areas of our development.”


 Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President - 

Issued by: The Presidency

Country statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa during 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, Kampala, Republic of Uganda

Your Excellency President Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda and Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement,
Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellencies, Ministers and Ambassadors,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Uganda for the warm reception we have received here in the Pearl of Africa.

We thank our former Chairperson, His Excellency President Ilham Aliyev and the people of Azerbaijan for steering our Movement for the past three years.

We wish our new Chairperson, His Excellency President Yoweri Museveni, all the best and convey our full support as Uganda takes over the chairship of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Group of 77 plus China.

This Summit takes place at a time when the world is faced with many challenges exacerbated by geopolitical dynamics and conflicts in various regions of the world. 

The wars taking place in Ukraine and Palestine are causing grave humanitarian and health crises and contributing to international instability. 

The supremacy of multilateralism as embodied by the United Nations Charter and international law is being undermined exactly when it is needed most.

At a time when the world appears to be once again divided between east and west, the Non-Aligned Movement should continue to assert its independence based on our common values.

South Africa remains steadfast in advancing its non-aligned approach in the maintenance of international peace and security and advocating for inclusive dialogue and the peaceful political settlement of disputes. 

The countries of the world are interlinked and interdependent as never before.

They are linked through technology, trade, global value chains and international capital flows. They share common challenges of climate change, pandemics, terrorism and illicit financial flows. 

This requires a globally-agreed set of rules that applies equally to all, and that establishes room for development for the poorest and most disadvantaged.

This interconnected world calls for a collective determination to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and to address the economic, social, health and environmental challenges that every country faces. 

We need to give dedicated attention to the reform of global governance institutions, including the United Nations.

We must give meaning to the principle of sovereign equality of nations and ensure that the voice of the African Continent and the Global South is strengthened in the broader multilateral system. 

As the Non-Aligned Movement, we must continue to work together in support of:

-    the right to self-determination of the peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara;

-    the lifting of the economic blockade against Cuba and unilateral sanctions against Iran, Venezuela and Zimbabwe; 

-    reaffirmation of the inalienable right of access to nuclear materials, equipment and technology for peaceful purposes; 

-    upholding the centrality of the UN Charter and international law in the peaceful resolution of conflict; 

-    defeating the scourge of terrorism and its root causes; and, 

-    the alleviation and eradication of poverty and underdevelopment.

South Africa calls for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire in Gaza.

We call for the release of all hostages and the resumption of talks on a just solution that will end the suffering of the Palestinian people. 

We further call for unhindered and expanded humanitarian access to allow for vital aid and basic services to meet the needs of everyone living in Gaza. 

As a consequence of the ever-worsening situation of the people of Gaza, South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice to issue provisional measures ordering Israel to stop its military campaign in Gaza. 

This is necessary to protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights of the Palestinian people.

South Africa recently made financial contributions to the UN Relief and Works Agency and the UNHCR to support their humanitarian operations in Gaza and the broader Palestinian refugees. 

In addition, many ordinary South Africans and NGOs have mobilised resources to assist the people of Gaza.

The conflict has again illustrated the inadequacy of the United Nations, in particular the UN Security Council, in maintaining international peace and security. 

We should establish a system of global governance that is fair and equitable, and has the capacity to respond to the needs of all persons in situations of threat and harm.

As the Non-Aligned Movement, we should not only adhere to the equality of nations, but also to the equality of human beings. 

A world free of domination by the strong and powerful is as important as a world free of sexism. 

We must remain committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls and achieving women’s empowerment and gender equality. 

We must reaffirm our commitment to disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control as a necessary contribution towards the achievement of a secure world for all.

Now is the time for the Non-Aligned Movement to strengthen cooperation.

Now is the time to draw fully on our founding principle of solidarity and to enhance our commitment towards development, peace, security and human rights. 

If we do so, if we move forward with unity and purpose, we will emerge from the difficulties that confront us all much stronger than ever before.

I thank you.

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