Freedom Day Speech 2017



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Honorable Minister
Members of the Ekhurhuleni Municipality
Members of the South African and Turkish business delegations
Members of the media
Fellow South Africans

Good Evening,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today, on South Africa’s 23rd year of independence from the Apartheid regime. The occasion marks the first democratic elections first held in 1994, heralding in an era of freedom and dignity for all South Africans.

Freedom and dignity is fundamental to all people as human beings. As South Africa has had it struggles in the past, and continues to work towards providing this freedom and dignity for its people, including by addressing the many past injustices and poverty, we have seen Turkey undertaking the same struggle in its fight against terrorism and the attacks on its people and territory. In the same vein, South Africa also marks the centenary of Oliver Reginald Tambo, an icon in South Africa’s fight for freedom.

The failed coup d’etat of July 15 demonstrated very clearly that the Turkish people will defend their right to freedom and dignity. In democratic countries, there are processes in place which are agreed under the Constitutions of those countries, and changes in power should follow those processes to ensure the peaceful transition of power, the freedom of choice and the dignity of all citizens. The same can be said of the recently held Referendum on Turkey’s governance and administration. We are confident that Turkey will continue moving forward in freedom, peace and dignity.

South Africa’s Freedom Month is celebrated world-wide. We planned a number of events, which commenced with the visit of the Mayor of Ekhurhuleni and a business delegation to Bursa from 24-25 April. A Letter of Intent was signed between Ekhuhurleni and Bursa to strengthen relations between the two municipalities and an economic seminar and site visits to the industrial zone in Bursa were also held.

Yesterday the South African Embassy very successfully hosted the first-ever South Africa-Turkey Golf Tournament at the Ankara Golf Club. Players from both South Africa and Turkey participated with prizes which included invitations to participate in the BMW Pro-Am Tournament in South Africa.

A Media Breakfast and an Economic Seminar with B2B meetings took place earlier today and we end our Freedom Month celebration at this event this evening.
We look forward to further strengthening our relations with Turkey, politically, economically and culturally. The long standing history of relations which our countries enjoy can only become stronger in the future.

Thank you.