President Jacob Zuma: 2015 Africa Peace Award

Madame Graca Machel, chair of the Board of ACCORD,

Madame Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the AU Commission,

Founder and Executive Director of ACCORD, Mr Vasu Gounden,

Ms Baleka Mbete, Speaker of the National Assembly, Mr Senzo Mchunu, Premier of KwaZulu-Natal,

Mr Maged Abdelazz – under United Nations Secretary-General Advisor on Africa

Chief Mangosusthu Buthelezi,

Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala, eThekwini Deputy Mayor

Board of Trustees of ACCORD,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Distinguished invited guests

Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala, eThekwini Deputy Mayor.

It gives me great pleasure to be here with you today at this beautiful city of Ethekwini to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions made by Africans to the achievement of peace and stability on our continent.

The Africa Peace Award has since its inception in 1993 honoured the remarkable work of individuals, communities, nations and institutions that have shown an unwavering commitment to peace in our beloved motherland, Africa.

ACCORD must therefore be once again congratulated in this regard. The 2015 award is further testimony of our resolve to continue taking our destiny in our own hands.

Fellow Africans,

The ACCORD leadership and staff working in South Africa and its various Offices in some parts of our continent is reflective of this dynamic organisation’s pan-African roots. Your work in such areas as conflict resolution, mediation, peace-making, peacekeeping in capacity-building, research, training and advocacy makes ACCORD an important member of Africa’s vibrant civil society.

Furthermore, your partnerships with similar sister organisations on the continent and outside Africa should be commended.

Fellow Africans,

The pursuit of peace is paramount for the realisation of our developmental goals. Without peace, stability and security there will not be development and ultimately prosperity.

This important linkage also puts the interests and wellbeing of our people at the centre of our collective efforts to create a better Africa for all.

In this context, the Africa Peace Award is a significant contribution to our objective of Silencing the Guns by 2020, in alignment with Agenda 2063, our continental blueprint for development.

Today we are here to acknowledge the enormous contribution of an important organ of our Union, the African Union Commission, and we are very pleased that its Chairperson, a Daughter of the South African Soil, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is here to receive the award on behalf of the committed women and men who comprise the machinery of this important body.

The Commission has since the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963, carried out its work during difficult times as Africa was emerging from colonial rule.

The Founders of our Union envisaged a continental organisation that would emancipate the remaining countries still dominated and controlled by bastions of colonialism and Apartheid.

Fellow Africans,

The AU Commission, in its remarkable work in promoting peace and security, has continued to encourage member states to strengthen the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and its various elements.

Although we still have areas of conflict and strife on the continent, such as the challenges we continue to face in Somalia, Central African Republic, Mali and the Sahel, Libya and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, our collective efforts at promoting peace have yielded significant successes as evidenced by the successful recent conclusion of free, fair and credible elections on our continent.

These have ushered in governments that have come into being through the will of the people. However, we remain concerned by situations that threaten to derail our peace gains, such as the developing situation in Burundi.

All of us, led by the East Africa region, should support the peace efforts underway to stabilise the situation in that sisterly country.

Peace in our continent will go a long way towards ensuring that our people continue to contribute to the future of our continent. It means we lessen the chances of our young people perishing in the stormy waters of the Mediterranean Sea as they seek greener pastures elsewhere.

Our external partners must also play a constructive in handling the issue of migration from our shores.

Fellow Africans,

As we strive to Silence the Guns by 2020, we continue to face threats not only brought about by the proliferation of arms and human and drug trafficking but also have to deal with threats posed by radical extremism and terrorism.

With regard to the latter, we can fundamentally only address the matter effectively if we deal with finding the root-causes of these acts rather than focus only on the symptoms.

Finally, allow me, on behalf of the South African Government and her people and indeed on behalf of all African compatriots and those in the Diaspora, to congratulate the African Union on being nominated to receive the 2015 Africa Peace Award.

This is an award for all of us in the continent. We congratulate all one billion of our people, and urge them to unite and work harder to achieve peace, stability, democracy and prosperity.

Africa is on the Rise.

I thank you.

SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS

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