Joint Sitting - 15 September 2004




Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces assembled in the Chamber of the National Assembly at 14:30.

The Speaker of the National Assembly took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.


The SPEAKER: Hon members, Mr President, we are honoured to have amongst us today His Excellency President Abdul Kalam of the Republic of India, whom we have invited to address this Joint Sitting of Parliament on the occasion of his visit to South Africa.

May I take this opportunity to welcome you to Parliament, Mr President. I now call on the hon R J Tau to introduce His Excellency the President of the Republic of India. [Applause.]

Mr R J TAU: His Excellency the President of the Republic of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, His Excellency the President of the Republic of India, Mr Abdul Kalam, Deputy President - if he is present - presiding officers of both Houses, Ministers and Deputy Ministers, deputy presiding officers, members of the diplomatic corps, hon members of the National Assembly and those of the National Council of Provinces, distinguished guests, it is an honour bestowed upon me to extend a word of welcome to His Excellency Dr Abdul Kalam, the President of India, and his esteemed delegation.

His Excellency Dr Kalam visits our country at a time when our people are celebrating Heritage Month. During this time we take stock and acknowledge the important role the rich heritage of our country can, and continues to, play in promoting peace and prosperity, not only in our country but also amongst our brothers and sisters throughout the continent. His Excellency is visiting our country at a time when African leaders from various African states will descend upon the shores of our country for the historic opening of the Pan-African Parliament.

Through his interest and dedication to the development of science and technology, Dr Kalam contributed immensely to the transformation of India’s science and technology infrastructure, resulting in the first indigenous satellite launch vehicle which successfully propelled the Rohini satellite into near-earth orbit in July 1980, making India an exclusive member of the space club.

With two decades of mastering launch vehicle technologies, Dr Kalam made it his responsibility to develop indigenous guided missiles for the Defence Research and Development Organisation as a chief executive of the integrated guided missile development programme. He gave thrust to self- reliance in defence systems by ensuring the progress of multiple development tasks and mission projects such as combat aircraft.

With the help of 500 experts in this field of science and technology, and as a chairperson of the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council, he pioneered Technology Vision 2020, whose fundamental objective is to draw up a road map for the transformation of India from its present status as a developing nation to being a developed nation.

Dr Kalam is one of the most distinguished scientists of India, with the unique honour of having received honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. [Applause.] He has been awarded coveted civilian awards such as, amongst others, Padma Bhushan in 1981 and Padma Vibhushan in 1990. He further went on to receive the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, in

  1. [Applause.] He is also a recipient of several other awards and is a fellow of many professional institutions. He became the 11th President of India on 25 July 2002.

As an academic, a writer and a scientist, Dr Abdul Kalam joins this House at a time when we, as a country, also have Vision 2014, just six years short of India’s Vision 2020. Key, if not central, to our vision is to fight poverty, unemployment, malnutrition and diseases in order to achieve economic growth in particular, and with greater emphasis on the areas of science and technology. We hope your contribution today will greatly assist in this regard.

As we welcome you to this Parliament, it is important to note that your visit is quite historic in that you are the first head of state to visit this House after our third democratic national elections. It is further historic because, as a country, we acknowledge the role India played in our struggle for a nonracial and nonsexist democratic society.

We note with great respect the role the people of India played under the leadership of great people such as former President Nehru in mobilising the entire world in favour of a campaign for the isolation of the then racist South Africa, and his call for the enfranchisement of the African people and blacks in general in our country.

Having been the first country to call for the isolation of the racist regime, you are again the first to witness the changing of apartheid symbols in this Parliament of the Republic of South Africa. Just on your arrival, yesterday, we unveiled the people’s mace. [Applause.] This is a mace that symbolises our past and serves as a reflection of the diverse heritage of our country during this strategic month.

Historically, India is an important reference point when it comes to a nonviolent and peaceful challenge to a political order that thrives through the oppression of ordinary people. Indeed, India’s contribution to peace and prosperity throughout the world is well documented.

Your Excellency President Kalam, India will always occupy a special place in the history of the world regarding the nonviolent and peaceful struggles your country has waged against injustice perpetuated by former colonial masters.

With your permission, Madam Speaker, may I assure Dr Kalam of a warm reception in South Africa and, further, confirm that, in the good hands of our President, you will enjoy your stay in South Africa. Dr Kalam, you are welcome. [Applause.]


HIS EXCELLENCY Dr A P J ABDUL KALAM: Good evening, friends. Hon Speaker Madam Baleka Mbete, hon Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Madam Joyce Kgoali, His Excellency the President of South Africa Dr Thabo Mbeki, hon Ministers, hon members of Parliament and distinguished guests, I visited Robben Island earlier today. This island really inspired me as to how powerful the freedom struggle was from that island. So I greet all of you, dear members of the South African Parliament. You have such great leaders and I extend my greetings to all of you. [Applause.]

I am glad to know that you have Vision 2014; we have Vision 2020. Both of us can ask what the common mission is that we have. We have one common enemy, and that enemy is poverty. In your vision of South Africa and our vision of India we finally defeat the enemy, as you defeated the apartheid system. [Applause.]

Friends, I am honoured and privileged to have this opportunity to address this joint sitting of the Parliament of South Africa, representing the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. Let me begin by conveying to you the fraternal greetings of the government of India and the people of India on this occasion. For me, it is a matter of the greatest satisfaction that I speak to you today in the very year in which you are celebrating your decade of freedom and democracy in South Africa, and I am conscious that through you I speak to all the people of South Africa, of whom you are the democratically elected representatives.

I would like to congratulate South Africa on the peaceful conduct of the third general elections and the smooth transition to the new government. The Indian parliament also had its 14th Lok Sabha elections a few months back in which 387 million votes were cast out of an eligible 675 million voters. It was also the first time in the world, in such a massive election, that electronic voting machines were successfully used.

The two new governments can work together for the common benefit of the citizens of both nations, nation-building, on continuity by devising new methods of working together. Our civilisational heritage and value systems will stand us in good stead as we move forward into the future. I assure you that we in India share your feelings and thoughts as close friends. As ancient civilisations, we both are endowed with a wide variety of cultural and ethnic diversity.

I have great pleasure in informing you that I am bringing along with me special greetings to the parliamentarians of South Africa from both houses of the Indian parliament. My parliament has also extended a cordial invitation to a South African parliamentary delegation to visit India. I wholeheartedly join them in their sentiments.

The origin of human civilisation was in Africa. All the other civilisations have evolved from this civilisation. This country is rich in its cultural and civilisational heritage. It has multiple languages and varied ethnic cultures. India also has a long history of civilisational heritage with a multiplicity of languages, religions and ancient cultures.

Here, I would like to tell you, hon members, that last week I received a visitor from the United States, a professor from a university. He asked me: “Mr President, what is the core competence of India?” I told him: “The core competence of India is that it is a democracy with a billion people with varied languages, varied religions and varied cultures that have given leadership. So, our core competence is leadership of a billion democratic people”. [Applause.] Thank you.

India also has a long history of civilisational heritage with a multiplicity of languages, religions and ancient cultures, as I told you just now. We attained freedom after a long drawn-out period of subjugation and nonviolent resistance. Of course, we went through 200 years and you went through 340 years of that.

We have been attempting to keep our cultural heritage intact all along. Currently, the common enemies of both our nations are poverty and disease. Our countries also have some outstanding islands of excellence in technology and industry. Our task is to network these islands to spread prosperity for all citizens. This is the soil from which the father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, started and initiated the Ahimsa Dharma movement, which he later took to India.

This soil gave birth to Nelson Mandela, who provided the leadership for the realisation of freedom for South Africa and who shines as a beacon for the world. One can list more such connectivities. Thus we have many important areas, which form a national bond between our two nations. These characteristics make us natural allies.

Throughout recorded history, India has always been friendly to all nations and we are happy to be counted among the friends of South Africa. We have never, at any time in our past, invaded other countries or used destructive force to achieve any end. The hallmark of India throughout the ages has been: “All places are our native places and all people our relatives.”

This has been deeply ingrained in the social and political life of India for thousands of years. The India-Brazil-South Africa – Ibsa -Forum signed among the three nations, which connects Asia, South America and Africa, is a valuable tool to further shape our friendship for the development of our nations. The India-South Africa friendship and partnership is crucial to this forum as you are nearer to us geographically. Sometimes the Indian Ocean connects us.

With regard to working together, I am thankful for the privilege of sharing with you and the people of South Africa, whom you represent, our experience in our efforts to develop the nation socially and economically over the past 50 years. I do so in a spirit of understanding that we may learn from each other and strengthen our resolve to move all nations to greater prosperity and happiness, and freedom from insecurity in years to come. Perhaps as we do so, we shall realise that we have so much in common that we shall wonder why we have not moved much closer together much earlier.

Both our nations are free, independent states in an increasingly complex and interdependent world, where the values of friendship and mutual assistance are of paramount importance. Now that our banners of freedom are unfurled, through the sacrifice of our political leaders and people, we should contribute towards happiness and peace in the world.

I would like to share our experiences with you. India is now striving to be a developed nation by 2020. The first vision, of course, for the nation was achieving independence from alien rule. We gained our Independence in 1947. The independence movement generated various leaders in diverse fields like politics, the judiciary, science and technology, industry, the arts, literature and philosophy.

After independence, improvements also took place in many areas like health, literacy and agriculture, in strategic areas, and in certain small and large-scale industries. For example, our life expectancy, which was 32 years at the time of independence, has gone up to 61 years, thanks to the health care and sanitation systems we have in place. No doubt, much more needs to be done. So, too, our achievements in other sectors are equally impressive.

However, in spite of these achievements, even after 50 years we are counted among the developing countries, as you are. We have many challenges. Nearly 260 million people still live below the poverty line in India and they have to join the mainstream of the good life. Literacy of 100%, health for all, enhanced industrial and agricultural productivity and a sustained GDP growth rate of 10% are some of our targets. Hence, we need the second vision for the nation to become a developed country.

I see from the speeches of leaders and the works of many other intellectuals that South Africa also has the passion and urge to become a developed nation at the earliest time. You have a higher per capita income than India. I would like to learn more of your vision and thoughts, as they will enrich us. I will share with you some of our own thoughts on our future.

In order to realise a developed India by 2020, five key areas have been identified for integrated action. The first key area is agriculture and food processing - with a target of 400 million tons per annum of food grains as well as others with different targets and agricultural products. Agriculture, with the second green revolution, and agro food processing will bring food security and prosperity to rural people and speed up economic growth.

The second area of importance is education and health care - aiming to increase the employment potential, leading to social security and population control. That is one of our major targets.

The third area is infrastructure development, including reliable and quality electric power for all parts of the country, which is vital for all the core sectors.

The fourth key area is information and communication technology, one of our core competencies. It can help industry and commerce, promote education in remote areas, create massive employment and provide health care to remote areas.

The fifth area of importance is critical technologies and strategic industries: progress in nuclear, space, ocean, defence and other frontier technologies will provide sustained growth and self-reliance for the nation.

Friends, here I would like to communicate that in 1998 India became a nuclear weapons state with a missile system. In 1998 all the anger of the developed world was pushed onto India: we got economic and technology sanctions. But we stood, only because of food security. We were producing food, sufficient food – 200 million tons per year, and this is something we can also export. That saved us from oil sanctions. So listen well, you will learn. Of course, you also have gone through similar situations.

These five areas are closely interrelated and lead to national, food and economic security. A strong partnership among the research and development academy, industry, business and the community as a whole with government departments and agencies will be essential to accomplish the vision. Foreign investors and partners, too, have an important role to play.

While I have shared with you India’s vision of a developed nation by 2020 and its development plan, I am sure we can learn from your vision - the unity of thoughts for the development of South Africa. It is only natural that the two countries should strive to synergise their development goals and policies. This creates the strong possibility that by 2020, or earlier, both nations could acquire the capabilities to assist each other and others as well.

With the emergence of a knowledge society, it is all the more important that friendly countries like us share our experience and core strengths to speed up our own growth. This partnership in the development of our nations would be a model for other developing and developed nations.

South Africa is globally recognised as a leading supplier of a variety of minerals and mineral products that are exported to many countries. Nature has given you some of the largest and richest minerals. These include gold, platinum group elements, coal and diamonds. Surat, in India, is a major diamond processing centre and jewellery manufacturing centre. There is perhaps scope for working in the area of diamond processing which will enable further value addition to the diamonds mined in South Africa for sale in the international market.

With modern mining and extraction of valuable elements becoming more complex, there will be other areas where joint work is possible. Time-bound missions and new joint initiatives will provide integrated solutions for transforming nations into developed countries. Application of science and technology plays a great role in this process of transformation. Both our nations have developed core competence in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, aviation, software products and pharmaceutical products.

In addition to natural resources, we have biodiversity and the large energetic and talented human capital. We both can share these strengths. Value addition to agricultural, manufacturing and services sectors, using core competence of the nation will enhance the wealth-generation capacity of the nation. After generation of value-added competitive products, we can have a common marketing philosophy and jointly bid for international products to bring synergy between the two nations.

A nation has to be alert and sensitive to the changes that take place to the technological fabric of the world, and prepare itself for the arrival of newer challenges in the horizon well in advance. Those nations which capture technologies before they become large-scale commercial operations, win the race. We believe that nanotechnology will give us an opportunity. If we take appropriate and timely action, we can become one of the important technological nations in the world. In 2004, the world market for nanomaterials, nanotools, nanodevices, nanostructures and nanobiotechnology put together is expected to be over $100 million.

Nanobiomedical sensors will play a major role in glucose detection and endoscopic implants. Drug delivery systems and other emerging developments will revolutionise health care to a large extent. Molecular switches and circuits, along with nanocells, will pave the way for the next generation of computers. Ultra-dense computer memory, coupled with excellent electrical performance will give society low-power, low-cost, nano-size and yet faster assemblies. Work on these areas would need highly skilled human capital. Active collaboration between our two nations will enable us to generate the required technical manpower for our development task.

Both India and South Africa are blessed with over 50% of their populations being below the age of 25. This is a great strength for our nations. We can convert this human capital into knowledge capital to harness their energy for transforming our nations into developed nations. This transformation can take place by providing competitive goods and services to the international market.

How do we transform our youth into knowledge capital? This is a big question. We need to have a multipronged approach in order to upgrade the basic education, technical education and higher education levels of all the youth in both our nations; infuse technology and create value-added products using our national core competence and natural resources; promote national and international markets; and, above all, create linkages between education, industry, research and development and the economic systems.

We need a strategy for promoting the education level of the entire population in a phased manner. In the first phase, we need to increase the number of youth who complete high school education. Simultaneously, we have to increase the percentage of youth who undergo vocational training and diploma-level education on professional subjects.

Parallel to that, we have to enhance the number of youth completing university education in professional, science, management, commerce and arts courses. Students who are above high-school level can be trained to move up the value-chain level through skill enhancement by knowledge-based training to meet the global competition in the service sector, manufacturing sector and agricultural sector.

India and South Africa can become partners with each other and share knowledge in improving the level of education of our primary to secondary education. The partnership can be in the form of exchange of teachers, professors, and work towards providing a universal tele-education model and quality content for students living in remote areas. The tele-education model is ready for approval. We also need to impart entrepreneurship training to our youth to make them entrepreneurs who can take challenges and risks to bring prosperity to the nations. We need to create enabling environments to encourage risk-taking by our youth.

Regarding the health-care mission, various parts of the world are getting affected by HIV/Aids in addition to other communicable diseases in poorer sections of society. In addition, most bacteria of traditional communicable diseases are becoming resistant to earlier established medicines. It is time that the national and international agencies join together to mount a concerted programme in eliminating these dreaded diseases from the planet earth.

This can be a global mission with international agencies, WHO and both of our countries as partners. India has already ventured into the field of an anti-Aids vaccine and it is at the stage of undergoing various tests. Fortunately, the African strand of the HIV virus and the Indian strand are the same. So whatever we do and whatever you do we can integrate it and solve the problem of this dreaded disease.

We are also mounting programmes to eradicate the new forms of earlier communicable diseases such as TB, waterborne and vector-borne diseases. Certainly, we both can join together and progress the development faster. Another area of co-operation and research is on stem cells for cardiovascular, diabetic and eye ailments. This stem cell research has tremendous scope that I have witnessed in some of the medical research centres, for example how a blind eye can recover its sight, and how heart muscles which have not functioned properly can function again through stem cells. I have witnessed that in some of our hospitals and research centres. So stem cell research is another area where both our countries can work together.

I would like to share with you a unique development issue for India. Nearly 700 million people live in the rural areas in 600,000 villages. Though most of them have strengths of natural resources and skills, they are poorly connected and, therefore, their economies stagnate in comparison to towns, cities and metropolises. How do we solve this problem?

We studied various aspects. We found that connectivity of village complexes and providing economic opportunities to all segments of our people are our priority. We have taken measures to bridge the rural–urban divide, generate employment and enhance rural prosperity by addressing the essential needs of the villages such as water, power, roads, sanitation, health care, education and employment generation.

The integrated methods, which will bring prosperity to rural India are: the physical connectivity of the village clusters through quality roads and transport; electronic connectivity through tele-education with high- bandwidth fibre optic cables reaching the rural areas from urban cities and through Internet kiosks; knowledge connectivity through education, vocational training for farmers, artisans and craftsmen; and entrepreneurship programmes and economic connectivity through starting enterprises with the help of banks, microcredit and marketing of products.

I am sure that the problems of electronic connectivity and the choice of the right technology at the right time are common between India and South Africa. Both the nations can embark upon missions to create indigenous technology and complementary strengths so that all our networks should run with our own hardware and software. When the hon President of South Africa, Madam Speaker and the first lady visited India, we discussed providing urban-rural needs. Both of them have a lot of interest. I am sure that we are also going to discuss this further today because we need to put our plans into action.

To prevent migration of the workforce from rural to urban areas, employment generation in rural areas should focus on teaching entrepreneurship in educational institutions and providing the necessary investment environment for sustainable self-employment instead of looking for employment in the central and state government. This is a problem for your country and my country. When people graduate, most of them believe that government has jobs. But, we need people who can generate jobs. That’s why I say that entrepreneurship should be taught in universities as part of their courses in science, technology or commerce.

The integrated chain of connectivities - physical, electronic, knowledge and economic - in a time-bound manner, along with venture capital funding, will generate large-scale employment for our people in rural areas, thus leading to rural prosperity. It would appear from generic considerations of economics and technology that this model may be applicable for some areas of South Africa and we would be delighted to share our experiences with you.

Friends, before I conclude, I want to share something with you. I have developed a law of development for science and technologies. I was studying the development patterns and the dynamics of connectivity between nations, especially in trade and business. As you all know, the world has a few developed countries and many developing countries. What are the dynamics between them and what connects them? Developed countries have to market their products in a competitive way to different countries to remain as developed countries. Developing countries, such as India and South Africa, desire to be transformed into developed countries. They too have to market their products in other countries in a competitive way.

Competitiveness has three dimensions: quality of the product, cost effectiveness and supply in time. Indeed, this dynamic of competitiveness in marketing of products by developing and developed countries determines the law of development. We have to see our integrated missions for national development in this light. Such missions are first centrally driven or government controlled. They have to have a large component of private sector participation and involvement of the community.

In conclusion, I have discussed economics, development, technology, business and education. I have touched upon the commonalities of our civilisation heritage. I wish to share some more ideals on the same issue. Righteousness of the heart of the human being leads to a perfect life of an enlightened citizen. This is beautifully explained by Confucius in ascent and descent phases of human life. The famous philosopher stated, and I quote:

  People who desire to have a clear moral harmony in the world would
  first order their national life; those who desire to order their
  national life would first regulate their home life; those who desire
  to regulate their home life would first cultivate their personal
  lives; those who desire to cultivate their personal lives and set
  their heart to righteousness, would first make their wills sincere;
  those who desire to make their wills sincere would first arrive at
  understanding; understanding comes from the exploration of knowledge
  of things. When the knowledge of things is gained, then understanding
  is reached; when understanding is reached, then the will is sincere;
  when the will is sincere, then the heart is righteous; when the heart
  is righteous, then the personal life is cultivated; when the personal
  life is cultivated, then the home life is regulated; when the home
  life is regulated, then the national life is orderly; when the
  national life is orderly, then the world is at peace. From the emperor
  down to the common man, the cultivation of the righteous life is the
  foundation for all.

What a beautiful environment I have witnessed today at the South African Parliament. [Applause.] We, the people of India, are willing to walk with you - a long walk to freedom from poverty. [Applause].

The SPEAKER: Thank you, Mr President. It is now my pleasure to call on the hon Direko to propose a vote of thanks. [Applause.] Ms I W DIREKO: Madam Speaker of the National Assembly, Madam Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, President Thabo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa, His Excellency Dr Abdul Kalam, President of the Republic of India, distinguished guests, hon members, on behalf of the Parliament of South Africa I wish to thank His Excellency Dr Kalam, the President of India, and his esteemed delegation for having graced our Parliament through this important visit.

Your visit will further strengthen the friendship, the companionship and the solidarity between South Africa and India. Your physical presence amongst us in South Africa is an added consolidation of our two “hugging” civilisations. Our two countries share a common history of a colonial past, characterised by colonial oppression and economic exploitation. We have sought to defeat colonialism through peaceful and nonviolent means. Having defeated colonialism, we embarked on a road to reconciliation with our former oppressors. [Laughter.] [Applause.]

We have indeed successfully managed to rebuild our respective countries from the ashes of our colonial past. In India and South Africa we must continue to play a leadership role in continental efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous continent. Our people continue to look upon us as torchbearers who carry the hopes of our people for the social and economic renewal of this continent. We cannot fail them. We dare not fail them. It is quite clear that we are of one mind and indeed in agreement on various issues, including peace and economic development for the mutual benefit of our people. Our single-mindedness in respect of human dignity and the recognition of divinity in all human beings is rooted in my country’s gift of ubuntu which simply means: “I am because you are”, and in your country’s gift to the world that “All creation is in the one creator and the one creator is in all creation”. [Applause.]

As South Africa we will continue to play our part in strengthening these relations as they are the key to our efforts in the social and economic upliftment of our people, and I want to believe that that is your ultimate aim with your own country. Our country will continue to support the people of India in their noble efforts, because we want to congratulate them on the work they have done in building India socially and economically, and we are aware of the challenges that still remain in your continued quest for peace and prosperity in your country.

We are happy that there is already interaction between our people, including businesspeople from our two countries investing in our respective economies and establishing a basis for further trade. There is an urgent need for us to improve the lives of the ordinary people in our respective countries. We must therefore redouble our efforts to increase investment in our respective economies.

Indeed, Your Excellency, possibilities exist for increased co-operation in various areas, including trade, education, health, tourism, sports and culture, as well as ensuring exchanges that will nurture, develop and strengthen people-to-people relations. In my language we say: Motho ke motho ka batho. [A person is a person because of others.]

Through Nepad we have begun to work tirelessly to place Africa on the path towards sustainable development. The quest for peace and stability, as well as sustainable development, is a priority in our country. So, perhaps, at this stage one needs to say to you, Your Excellency, that when you take on South Africa you take on the continent. [Applause.] South Africa cannot and will not proceed without the rest of Africa.

Our success will depend in part on the kind of support and partnership we develop with countries such as India. The road to peace and development will be a bumpy one no doubt, but certainly a worthwhile one. It requires inspired and visionary leadership from our respective countries, and I can say without any fear of contradiction that in our country and in our President we have that kind of leadership. I want to believe that the same thing obtains in your country, Your Excellency. [Applause.]

It is therefore obligatory to work together in pursuit of these noble ideals. We are pleased and indeed encouraged by your willingness to assist and to be part and parcel of this renewal and development not only in South Africa, but also on the continent as a whole. Your support will ultimately ensure that our continent takes its rightful place among other continents and that we can take our rightful place in the world arena with confidence, because we shall have done it ourselves. As the Cradle of Humankind and a bastion of progress, there is no time to waste because time is not on our side. [Applause.]

On behalf of the people of South Africa, we wish to express our heartfelt gratitude for the support we continue to receive from your country. South Africa is poised for success - make no mistake. These interactions can only strengthen our resolve to succeed. I salute you and your country. May God bless you. I thank you. [Applause.]

The Speaker of the National Assembly adjourned the Joint Sitting at 15:22.