Joint Sitting - 26 October 2005




Members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces assembled in the Chamber of the National Assembly at 14:08.

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 Mr F G Mogae of the Republic of Botswana, who has been invited to address this Joint Sitting of Parliament on the occasion of his visit to South Africa.

May I now take this opportunity to welcome you to Parliament, Mr President. I now call upon hon Pandor to introduce His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana. TONA YA THUTO: Mme Sebui, Molaodi Mogae Tautona ya Botswana, re a go amogela. Ke batla go simolola ka go go leboga le go leboga Batswana botlhe ka se le se diretseng Aforika le batho ba Aforika.

Botswana e ntse e ipusa dingwaga di le 39. Ka tshimololo ya boipuso, ba bantsi ba ne ba sa tshepe gore Botswana e tla tswelela pele. Ba ne ba tshega batswana. Ba ne ba bona batho ba ba humileng ba sa bone khumo le sethuba sa tswelelopele. Le ithusitse Aforika ka go aga khumo ya Botswana; ka go aga batswana le ka go tshwara thipa e e bogale go netefatsa puso ka batho. Re a le leboga. Re a le tlotla ka tiro ya lona e e bonatla. [Legofi.] (Translation of Setswana paragraphs follows.)

[The MINISTER OF EDUCATION: Madam Speaker, His Excellency Mr Mogae, the President of Botswana, you are welcome. Firstly, I would like to thank you personally, and all the Batswana, for what you have done for Africa and the African people.

Botswana has been independent for 39 years. At the beginning of independence, the majority did not believe that Botswana would succeed. They laughed at the Batswana. They were seen as a “reach” nation, one that does not realise its potential and prosper. You helped Africa by building the wealth of Botswana, by uniting the Batswana and by, furthermore, working hard to ensure government by the people. We thank you for your diligent work. [Applause.]]

My task this afternoon, Madam Speaker, is to introduce to you and the House a man and his country in a few short minutes. It’s not an easy task. Or rather, I should say that the introduction of the country is probably easier than the introduction of the man.

By international acclaim, Botswana is one of Africa’s success stories. A leading news corporation describes Botswana simply as Africa’s longest continuous multiparty democracy. [Applause.] It is amongst the continent’s most stable countries. It is free of corruption and it has a good human rights record. [Applause.]

The man, President Mogae, is somewhat harder to define. I first met the President a long time ago when he was studying in England. Later we met when I was a student in Botswana. He was a top civil servant then, and his wife, Mrs Barbara Mogae, was a senior official in the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning. His lovely wife then became a colleague and close friend of my grandmother, Mrs Matthews, when they worked together at the National Library of Botswana.

President Mogae has an outstanding academic record. He graduated from Oxford in the early postindependence period. He also studied Development Economics as a postgraduate student at Sussex University. I couldn’t establish, Mr President, whether the two of you were together. [Laughter.]

On his return to Botswana, he became Director of Economic Affairs. In 1975 he moved up to become Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, and then became Governor of the Bank of Botswana. He is one of a team of development economists in Botswana – I believe they were four or five – who put paid to the derision that accompanied Botswana’s achievement of independence. He and the team that he was part of shaped the economic development of Botswana before the diamond discoveries in Orapa and later in Jwaneng. At that time all that Botswana seemed to have had, as an economic prospect, was the copper in Selibe Pikwe. President Mogae is thus very closely associated with Botswana’s economic success.

He moved on from economic matters in 1982, when he was promoted to the top post of the civil service – Secretary to the Cabinet and Permanent Secretary to the then President Masire. In 1989, Mr Mogae was appointed to the Cabinet as the Minister of Finance and Development Planning. In 1992, the task of Vice-President was added to his many achievements. In early 1998, Vice-President Mogae succeeded to the Presidency, when President Masire retired. Facing an election in less than two years, President Mogae demonstrated his political acumen by leading his party to an increase in both the popular vote and the number of seats in parliament.

It is my great honour to have been given this opportunity to introduce His Excellency Tautona Mogae – economist, politician and statesman; a man who has played a leading role in the economic transformation of one of Africa’s success stories.

Ke le Moaforika ke re, le re file seriti Ntate. [As an African, I want to say: You gave us dignity, Sir.]

I now leave it to you, Madam Speaker, to invite the President of Botswana to address us. Thank you. [Applause.]

The SPEAKER: Your Excellency President of the Republic of Botswana, we now call upon you to address the Joint Sitting of the national Parliament of the Republic of South Africa.


The PRESIDENT OF BOTSWANA: Hon Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete; Your Excellency, President Thabo Mbeki; hon Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Mr Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu; Your Honour the Deputy President, Mrs Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; hon leaders of political parties and hon members of Parliament; hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers; Premiers and leaders of the South African Local Government Authority; Your Excellencies; distinguished guests; ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour and a privilege for me to have been invited to address this august House. I consider the invitation not only an honour to my person but also to the entire government and people of Botswana. My presence here this afternoon is a clear demonstration of the excellent relations that Botswana and South Africa enjoy. As I indicated last night, the Batswana and South Africans are like members of a family divided by a fence. Indeed our countries and peoples have a common history, share cultural values as well as languages.

Moreover, our relations are underpinned by our mutual commitment to democracy, good governance and respect for the rule of law. And thanks to these convergences of values, our relations have continued to grow.

History is replete with examples of victory over seemingly insurmountable odds in the quest for freedom. You, the people of South Africa, bear testimony and testament to this fundamental truth. You have prevailed over the forces of oppression, suppression and repression and ushered in a new era of political and social and economic growth.

Today, as a result of this new political dispensation, it is possible for my humble self to address this honourable House, which has become a bastion of popular sovereignty, reflecting the aspirations of all the peoples of this great country, without being Prime Minister of Britain or without being called a McMillan. [Applause.]

We in Botswana are pleased to have played our own modest part in the realisation of this transformation. Today we look back with pride, rather than whisper about such events as the holding of the first conference of the ANC in exile in Lobatse in 1962. [Applause.] We are also pleased that during the long decades of struggle we were able to provide a safe haven and transit for so many at risk because of having chosen the path of resistance. [Applause.]

Botswana’s commitment to the liberation of your country was more than a moral imperative. The Batswana were fully aware that as long as South Africa was in turmoil, prospects for enduring peace and tranquillity in their own country and its immediate neighbours would be elusive. [Applause.] Just as our freedom was indivisible, so too should be our future prosperity. [Applause.]

Given Botswana’s geographical location, the smallness of its population, the level of its development and its narrow economic base, as well as historical, cultural and linguistic links, events in South Africa could never be a matter of indifference to it.

Statistics show that Botswana depends on South Africa for an array of goods and services, including motor vehicles, furniture, clothing, drugs, medical equipment and financial services. In fact, I can mention it, we obtain it from South Africa. [Applause.]

Overall trade figures indicate that in 2004 alone, Botswana exported goods worth R2 billion to South Africa, while our imports from South Africa stood at R17 billion, reflecting a heavily skewed trade surplus in your favour. [Laughter.] [Applause.] This, incidentally, also makes Botswana South Africa’s largest trading partner on the African continent. [Applause.]

In the area of education we are truly grateful for your hosting of over 6 600 of our students in your universities and technical colleges. The government of Botswana spends over half a billion rand per annum on these Batswana students studying at tertiary institutions in this country.

A significant number of South African-registered companies benefit from lucrative contracts in Botswana. This year alone, these companies have won contracts in excess of R1,2 billion for providing services to the Botswana government. This is a clear demonstration of how interlinked our economies are.

We should do all we can to promote a healthier balance in our bilateral co- operation. In this way the opportunities that we generate individually and collectively can be used for the common good of our peoples and countries.

Let us work together to strengthen co-operation in our rail transport, for instance, as an important engine for the economic development of our two countries. In this regard it is imperative that co-operation and complementarity between the railway organisations of our two countries should be nurtured and encouraged to optimise their capacity and sustainability.

South Africa needs economically prosperous and politically stable neighbours with which it can trade. Our region cannot fully prosper on the basis of growth and prosperity by some, and stagnation by others.

I openly admit that even though our present relationship is mutually beneficial and, in quantitative terms, South Africa benefits hugely, in the final analysis we need you more, much more than you need us. I want to repeat that statement. [Laughter.] In the final analysis we need you more, much more than you need us. [Applause.]

Consequently, I have come to your country to ask you, the people of South Africa, through your government, to facilitate and be supportive of our development efforts. I have made specific requests to your government. Firstly, I would like you to participate with us in the construction of an in situ thermal power station, whose output would be sold to Eskom to augment the regional power pool.

Instead of building rival power stations, which you have the capacity to do, you can easily expand the exports of your high-quality coking coal to Japan and India, both of which countries need it badly.

As we all know, over 80% of any income generated by Botswana would be spent on South African goods and services. So, if we did as I suggest, we would all end up, in the jargon of economics, “on a higher indifference camp”, thereby gravitating towards Pareto optimality. [Applause.]

I have made many requests, but I will only mention the most important ones. My second major request is for you to permit your diamonds to be aggregated by the Diamond Trading Corporation in Gaborone instead of London. [Applause.]

I will be making the same request to the Namibians, in particular, and others in the SADC region. It will still be possible, under such an arrangement, to facilitate the supply of rough diamonds for the cutting and polishing enterprises inside the Republic of South Africa. [Applause.]

My foreign affairs experts have cautioned me that it may be diplomatically impolitic to mention these issues in this honourable House. [Laughter.] I do so, however, because not only are they of great importance to us, but also, and perhaps above all, because if the government were to accede to my requests, in this vibrant democracy, they would need the consent and support of this honourable House.

In any case, in Setswana we say: Ngwana yo o sa leleng o swela tharing … [Applause.] … literally meaning that the child who doesn’t cry risks dying unnoticed on its mother’s back.

I must hasten to add that we have recorded substantial progress in strengthening our bilateral co-operation through our Joint Permanent Commission for Co-operation and the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security.

These instruments have served as valuable vehicles in identifying new areas of co-operation and bringing more focus and co-ordination with regard to the implementation of the commitments that we have made.

Yesterday our two countries signed a number of sector-specific agreements, which will provide impetus to our concerted efforts in tackling the challenges that confront us. Poverty alleviation, employment creation, communicable diseases, in particular the HIV and Aids pandemic, as well as natural disasters, remain our major preoccupations. We should redouble our efforts to reign in the scourge of HIV/Aids through, among other things, the mobilisation of the requisite resources to facilitate the implementation of the SADC Strategic Framework on HIV and Aids and the Maseru Declaration. Regarding international relations, we commend, and have done so in international meetings abroad and on various other occasions, this country’s leadership in peace making on the rest of the continent. [Applause.] We are happy that the torch that was once carried by Zambia and Tanzania is being blazoned from the very southern tip of our continent. And we, like the moon, are shining in reflected light. [Applause.]

Let me, therefore, make special and specific mention of South Africa’s role in seeking peaceful solutions to the conflicts in Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, the Sudan, the Comoros and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among many.

I also wish to acknowledge with pride the personal commitment and statesmanship of my brother and colleague, President Thabo Mbeki, in trying to solve these conflicts. [Applause]. I am tempted to mention, irrelevantly, that both the President and I are alumnae of Sussex. Although he is younger than me, he was actually ahead of me. [Laughter.] But that’s not surprising, so was Clinton. [Laughter.] However, Clinton at Oxford University was my junior in both age and class.

While we support the original African position on the reform of the Security Council, it is our considered opinion that the all-or-nothing approach that we have currently taken as Africans is inappropriate in the circumstances. We, as a small country, are perhaps more reconciled, much more accustomed than others, to being satisfied with half a loaf until the next time. [Laughter.] Consequently, we would have liked to see those of our member countries such as South Africa and others with the capacity to do so, become permanent members of the Security Council, even without the veto . . . [Applause.] . . . while not abandoning the demand for parity with the present permanent members. Some may consider our position somewhat capitulationist, but we consider it realistic and pragmatic.

Let me not waste the time of this honourable House. In conclusion, let me reiterate my gratitude for the singular honour you have bestowed on my country and me, and for the opportunity you have afforded me to address you in this majestic House, in this Mother City of your great country. I thank you. [Applause.]

                           VOTE OF THANKS

Rev P MOATSHE: Hon Speaker of the National Assembly; Your Excellency the President of the Republic of South Africa, hon Thabo Mbeki; Your Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, hon Festus Masire . . . [Laughter.] . . . hon Festus Mogae; the Deputy President of the Republic; hon Chairperson of the NCOP, hon M J Mahlangu, the giant has spoken - a political giant on the African continent. What do I have to say? We are deeply moved to have listened to this moving, inspiring talk brought to us from our neighbours.

South Africa and Botswana have many things in common. There are Batswana in both countries, hence the language Setswana is spoken in both countries; they are both members of the Southern African Customs Union and Southern African Development Community.

History has it that the first civilisation occurred in Mapungubje, which straddled the confluence of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The launching of the Mapungubje National Park on 24 September 2004 in Limpopo contributed immensely to the formation of a major transfrontier conservation area, the Kgalagadi Park, which includes Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

Botswana has been traditionally a strong economic partner of South Africa, as already said. The foundation for this relationship dates back to the establishment of the Southern African Customs Union, Sacu, in 1910. Relations have strengthened between the two countries since South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994, and the signing of the agreement on the Joint Permanent Commission for Co-operation in 2003 strengthened relations even further.

The Botswana-South Africa Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security was established in the year 2000, as already mentioned.

We have been told that six further agreements were signed yesterday, 25 October 2005, between our countries here in Cape Town. We hope that there will be many more of this kind.

It is not by mistake that Botswana was “placed over the fence”. The architectural structure that was brought about by the Most High has placed Botswana strategically “over the fence” - strategically in the sense that when we were going through difficult times, Botswana was ready to receive those who were fleeing from the burning fires in South Africa. Therefore, Botswana is strategically placed there for us to know that Botswana has paid allegiance to the Most High, Botswana has paid allegiance to the truth that sets us free, and Botswana has set its own pace in the African challenges. Botswana refused to worship the idols of colonialism; it refused to worship the idols of oppression, and therefore it complied with the struggle for freedom.

Many citizens of Botswana, some very innocent, suffered because of the sons of South Africa who had to stay in Botswana during those times of upheaval. And therefore we thank the President of Botswana for reassuring this House and the South African people that there is still a long way to go and that we need one another more than ever before. To break down is unlike building and therefore the challenges are there for us.

Ka baka leo, Mmusakgotla, tau e senang seboka e siiwa ke none e tlhotsa. [Legofi.] Tshwaragano ke matla. [Eendrag maak mag. For that reason, Speaker, united we stand, divided we fall. Unity is strength.]

Therefore, we echo the sentiments of the unity that our President is echoing for Africa: United we stand, divided we fall.

Matlhaku go ša mabapi. Mabogo dinku a thebana. Tota, sedikwa ke ntša pedi ga se thata. Montsamaisa bosigo ke mo leboga bosele. Re a go leboga. [Legofi.] [No man is an island. Hands wash each other. United we stand, divided we fall. Those who assist during dark days are thanked during happier days. We thank you. [Applause.]]

The SPEAKER: Hon members, for the benefit of our visitors, that was our hon Rev Moatshe. [Applause.]

The Joint Sitting rose at 14:43.