President Zuma delivers public lecture at the University of Pretoria

Posted on October 14, 2011

In her opening remarks, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, Prof Cheryl de la Rey, explained that the Department of Political Sciences has a rich history of critical engagement with foreign policy issues, especially as these issues relate to the African continent. She also emphasised the diplomacy programmes the Department of Political Sciences offers, “which makes a significant contribution to the development of future members of the diplomatic corps for both South Africa, and countries throughout Africa”.

With regard to the new Centre for Mediation in Africa, Prof de la Rey said it will in time become one of the University’s flagship projects. She also acknowledged that mediation is not a focus area in most of the South African universities, and that there is hardly any way to evaluate mediation cases with a view to identifying lessons and adapting methods to the cases accordingly. “We believe that there is a pressing need for academic research on mediation and therefore, through the Centre for Mediation in Africa, we will make a major contribution in developing the appropriate skills,” said Prof de la Rey.

President Jacob Zuma recognised the role of the Department of Political Sciences and the Centre for Mediation in Africa, in issues of the peaceful mediation of disputes, which is the driving force behind South Africa’s peacemaking efforts, especially on the African continent. President Zuma said that foreign policy is an extension of South Africa’s domestic policy and its value system. “South Africa believes in democratic and open societies in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law. We believe in a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights,” said President Zuma.

President Zuma described South African economic diplomacy as also being captured in the foreign policy, which has achieved encouraging results in terms of South Africa’s global exports. He said South Africa attracts investments and tourism, removes barriers to trade, supports the development of larger markets in Africa and also expands the markets for South African products.

Although South Africa has relations with various countries and regions, President Zuma categorically stated that the country’s foreign policy is independent and that its decisions are informed by the national interest. “We look at what is of benefit to the South African people, and what will advance our domestic priorities at any given time. We are not dictated to by other countries, individuals or lobby group interests within our own country,” said President Zuma.

President Zuma praised the relationship maintained by the South African Government with the University of Pretoria and other stakeholders, in order to build a better Africa and a better world.





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